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Essays in popular romance
Editor: Nicola McDonald

This collection and the romances it investigates are crucial to our understanding of the aesthetics of medieval narrative and to the ideologies of gender and sexuality, race, religion, political formations, social class, ethics, morality and national identity with which those narratives emerge.

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Melodrama and Tory socialism
Deborah Mutch

polarizing worldview, melodramas signify goodness in the suffering of victims, and signify evil in the cruelty of antagonists. … [I]ndividual characters are often the metonymic substitute for economic or social classes. (Anker, 2012: 136) The clash between Diana and Connie as the ‘metonymic substitutes’ for, respectively, the landed aristocracy and the working classes depicts not only the imbalance of power but also the left-wing and melodramatic stereotypes of the aristocracy as ‘bad’ and the working-class as ‘good’. Diana is not simply the villainous aristocrat flexing

in Margaret Harkness
Margery Kempe encounters ‘Margaret Florentyne’
Anthony Bale and Daniela Giosuè

saint of her, but it did of a woman who was in Rome at precisely the same time and would almost certainly have been known to the Alberti family: St Francesca Romana / Francesca of Rome (1384–1440). Francesca was of a similar social class to Kempe, and in the early fifteenth century she dedicated herself to relieving Rome's poor and sick and begging for charity whilst also receiving a number of divine revelations, some of which show a marked influence of the spirituality of Catherine of Siena. She made herself voluntarily poor, rejected fine clothing, refused family

in Encountering The Book of Margery Kempe
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The first wife’s response
Caitlin Flynn

meanings are well suited to the conversation between the women and their individual contributions therein. Ralȝeit alliterates with ryatus , an equally ‘problematic’ adjective (at least in reference to feminine behaviour), which asserts that their speche is both uncontrolled and licentious. The audience is lured into the wife’s impressive display of rhetorical wit and bawdy invective and, in the process, the ‘proper’ behaviour expected of her social class and gender is elided. The narrator’s interjection

in The narrative grotesque in medieval Scottish poetry
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Shadow resurrections and artistic transformations
Naomi Booth

Tory journals successfully denigrated the poet: he tells us that in the ‘Cockney School’ essays published in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine from 1817 onwards, Keats was ridiculed ‘in terms of his youth, his social class, cultural status and gender … his poetry demonstrated that he was “not capable of understanding”, and in this last respect his intellect was shown to be unformed, sickly, and “feminine” in character’. 5 Roe argues that this reviewer discredited Keats by using the terms of the Burkean paradigm of

in Swoon
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Gavin Edwards

Dickens’s increasing preoccupation with kinds and degrees of illiteracy allows him to foreground the relationship between language seen and language heard. His professional Readings, starting in 1858, were taken almost exclusively from his earlier, more readily audible work, while typographic case and other specifically visual aspects of language, are increasingly important in the later novels both as topics and as features of the text which may find the transition from handwriting to print and from print into speech difficult. In Bleak House, Jo the crossing sweeper wants his message to the world written ‘large’ because he deduces from ‘the great letters on the whitewashed wall’ – represented for us as ‘GEORGE’S SHOOTING GALLERY, ETC’ – that the size of letters carries meaning and helps meaning carry Betty Higdon, who says she is ‘not much of a hand at reading writing-hand, though I can read my Bible and most print’ tells the illiterate Mrs Boffin that young Sloppy ‘is a beautiful reader of a newspaper. He do the Police in different voices’. Dickens’s novels increasingly define themselves as designed primarily for readers rather than listeners, while social class is increasingly defined in terms of degrees literacy.

in The Case of the Initial Letter
Deathbed narratives and devotional identities in the early seventeenth century
Charles Green

and didactic texts more recognisably belonging to the ars moriendi tradition. While plays, scaffold speeches, martyrologies and ballads scripted the deaths of historical characters, convicted felons, heretics and saints, deathbed narratives made available to a growing reading public the final moments of a diverse range of ordinary Christian subjects. 11 This essay surveys a cross-section of deathbed narratives printed in English between 1592 and 1646, about individuals from a spectrum of social classes and

in People and piety
Transcending the question of origins
Emna Mrabet

: Krimo occupies a physical place, the theater stage, where young men of Maghrebi origins are traditionally absent, confined as they are to the margins. Thus, like Marivaux who overturns class hierarchies and features the servants, the filmmaker chooses to focalize his narration on an under-represented social class. In L’Esquive as in La Faute à Voltaire, the filmmaker plays off our expectations to better confound them, replacing violence and precariousness with poetry and a taste for the unknown, which can be found at the margins. Kechiche’s first three films are

in Reimagining North African Immigration
Open Access (free)
Nicola McDonald

newly discovered and celebrated forms of classical poetry. As such they are more indicative of post-medieval prejudice, about everything from social class to Catholicism, than anything inherent in the medieval genre. And it is precisely these inherited distinctions that we, informed by the insights of post-structuralist thought, have learned to interrogate. Yet, popular romance has hardly benefited from the collapse of the traditional hierarchies of aesthetic (and with it academic) judgement. There must be many reasons why. The slowness with which medieval English

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
The educational vision of John McGahern
Kevin Williams

the particular can come to serve as the first stage of initiation into the world of learning. There was also a social class dimension to his schooling at second level. This is important because it shows that the regimes in Irish schools in the 1940s and 1950s were not homogeneous. Much depended on the religious order involved, as well as the social class and intellectual ability of the pupils. Arguably, positive memories of school tend to be more prevalent among many people who attended schools run by the religious orders that generally served the middle class, both

in John McGahern