How white was the valley?

A reference of course to the origins of Arundel as a place, and it looms in my thoughts as massively as the chunk of rock on which the castle stands. Research led me in the direction of the romance Of Arthour and Of Merlin, which, taken with Tristran/Tristan and some reading of the VCH: Sussex entry really got me thinking along the lines of ‘cultural geography’. I now think this is too much of an umbrella term. Having come to the point of (almost) accepting Judith Weiss’s conclusions regarding Boeve and the d’Albini family, I still find the cluster of names in Boeve to be in need of more detailed work. There is certainly more historicising to do before we understand why the names, and the allusions they evoke, appear in this poem. The more I read the more I find unanswered questions, such as whether the ‘manĀ  tried by fate’ motif evokes St Eustace only to position this evocation against the biography of Eustace son of King Stephen? He seems to have been a ‘bad thing’ even if he was never a king.

In view of the fact that I am really intent on working out the restructuring Bevis now this often seems like a digression, but I remind myself that it will eventually contribute to the section/chapter on Genre, even if it is only a few sentences.

And this is something else that keeps rattling in my head – there is so little contextualising of Bevis in relation to Boeve, as well as so little historical contextualising of the A/N poem. Hunting for articles is an ongoing task, but at present the most exciting reading is D.H. Green’s book on The Beginnings of Romance.

I’m also considering posting here some of the work I did last year on the naming of Boeve and echoes of his name in Southampton’s records, and elsewhere. There is definitely a connection, but it is more complex that I originally thought and although I didn’t persuade the experts, it may interest other researchers. It’s a task for another day, though.

It was also good to discover recently a new thesis in preparation on Motherhood in Romance.


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