Words and deeds
Character depiction and direct discourse
in The Scottish Legendary
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The third chapter is devoted to the depiction of the saintly characters and the uses and functions of their direct discourse, which is a defining feature of the Scottish Legendary. The chapter consists of four case studies, each of which spotlights another aspect of how the saintly characters are construed in the compilation. In the first part, female and male martyrs’ dialogues with their pagan tormentors are scrutinised, with special emphasis on questions of gender and the violation of gender norms and ‘proper’ speech behaviour. The following three analyses – on Mary of Egypt, Theodora, and Andrew – accentuate the importance of speech in the process of becoming a saint. At the same time, the poet’s strategy of transgressing genre is underscored. Romance and fabliau patterns of narration enrich the hagiographic plots. The case studies are placed within more general discussions of how medieval hagiography conceives of ‘character’ and how one could usefully theorise their indebtedness to types.

The Scottish Legendary

Towards a poetics of hagiographic narration


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