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Writing Regional Identities in Medieval England

From the Gesta Herwardi to Richard Coer de Lyon

Emily Dolmans

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Belletristik / Essays, Feuilleton, Literaturkritik, Interviews


The period after the Norman Conquest saw a dramatic reassessment of what it meant to be English, owing to both the advent of Anglo-Norman rule and increased interaction with other cultures through trade, travel, migration, and war. While cultural contact is often thought to consolidate national identity, this book proposes that these encounters prompted the formation of intercultural regional identities. Because of these different cultural influences, the meaning of English identity varied from region to region, and became rooted in the land, its history, and its stories. Using romances and histories from England's multilingual literary milieu, including the Gesta Herewardi, Fouke le Fitz Waryn, and Richard Coer de Lyon, this study examines some of England's contact zones and how they influence understandings of English identities during the twelfth to fourteenth centuries. Moving from local identity in Ely, to the transcultural regions of Lincolnshire and the Welsh Marches, and finally investigating England as a border region from a global perspective, this book examines the diversity of Englishness, the effects of cultural contact on identity, and how English writers imagined their place in the world. EMILY DOLMANS is a lecturer in Medieval Literature at the University of East Anglia

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