Putting the saint in perspective
Ideology and hagiographic narration
in The Scottish Legendary
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In this chapter, the biases and ideologies inherent in saints’ legends are revisited and approached from the angle of their narrative embedding and encoding. After a brief discussion of different approaches to ideology and perspective in narrative texts, propagandistic patterns of narration in the legends are theorised. A comparison of selected scenes with their sources shows the Scottish poet’s attempts at toning down potentially charged content as well as letting the legends speak for themselves. Miracles operate on a strategy of double foregrounding (the earthly world of pain vs. the transcendent world beyond pain), which is different from the strategy adopted in the South English Legendary. The chapter closes with an analysis of how the poet ‘authorises’ his tales by quoting authorities.

The Scottish Legendary

Towards a poetics of hagiographic narration


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