Easter Lectures 2015

How do we define ourselves as human beings? This was the theme underpinning a day of lectures given by our postgraduate researchers to undergraduate students. From the emphasis that medieval romances place on heraldry and group identity, to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ebullient socialite Jay Gatsby, to fictional encounters with the ostracised werewolf, literature often tells a story about people who struggle to define themselves in relation to society around them.

Chivalric Identity in Medieval Romance: Colour and Clothing in Perceval, by Alice Stamataki

Chivalric identity is a recurring theme in the medieval romance. This features prominently in Chretien de Troyes’s Perceval and Marie de France’s Lanval. Alice Stamataki explores issues of medieval identity through the significance of colours, hues, and heraldry in the medieval romance. [MP3 version]

The Werewolf’s Rational Soul in the Medieval Romance, by Curtis Runstedler

When one thinks of the medieval werewolf, an image of a bloodthirsty, savage killer comes to mind. In the medieval romance, however, the werewolf was portrayed as a benign character capable of rational thought. Curtis Runstedler reassesses the role of the werewolf arguing for its use as metaphor for the faults and corruption of society. [MP3 version]

Fellowship from Sir Gawain to Malory and the Rise of ‘Civic’ Culture, by Colin Davey

Colin Davey examines the meaning of medieval fellowship across chivalric poems, such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He charts the evolution of citizenship and identity in both the production and consumption of Arthurian literature. [MP3 version]

And All that Jazz: Popular Music as Narrative in The Great Gatsby and Tender is the Night, by Nicoletta Asciuto

Anyone who has seen the recent film adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby knows the important role of music, which establishes the mood and atmosphere of the story as well as reflecting the novel’s characters and themes. Looking back at the original novel, Nicoletta Asciuto examines the role that jazz and song play and reconsiders the nuances of music for Fitzgerald’s audience and their implications in a wider context. [MP3 version]

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