Reading the virtue of soldier-saints in medieval literary genres
In the legends of soldier saints, sanctity becomes renegotiated through the concept of knighthood. In mystery plays, Arthurian romance, and hagiography, knighthood is used as a prism to reflect on potential tensions between secular powers and the powers of the holy. Despite superficial similarities between the different genres, however, the narrative strategies used differ considerably and present their audiences with nuanced versions of sanctity in their respective contexts.
Andrew Lynch recuperates an overlooked aspect of Chaucerian reception in the nineteenth century: Chaucer’s Catholicism. By the nineteenth century, to be Catholic meant to be un-English, even unpatriotic. Lynch reviews the different strategies employed by literary critics to dilute the idea of Chaucer as a Catholic believer. Chaucer’s Catholicism was subjected to processes of infantilisation in order to promote his status as the father of English poetry.