Event Title

Redcrosse Knight and the Misconception of Medieval Chivalry

Faculty Mentor

Josephine Koster, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

English

Location

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 221

Start Date

24-4-2015 4:20 PM

Description

The idea of medieval chivalry existing in Renaissance literature, such as Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, is widely agreed upon. However, our 20th-century misconceptions about medieval knighthood and medieval life have led us to a mostly modern construction of medieval chivalry as opposed to an authentic analysis of medieval chivalry in The Faerie Queene,. In the first canto of book one, Redcrosse Knight exemplifies and deviates from medieval chivalry in regard to political duties, social conduct, faith, and allegory as described by Ramon Llull's The Book of the Order of Chivalry. By examining Redcrosse Knight using an authentic medieval text that defines chivalry, we closely observe how he fits into and breaks the medieval model of knighthood. Ultimately, Spenser uses the idea of Chivalry as a stock image on which to base his epic character, then adds a Renaissance makeover. Unfortunately, this means that Redcrosse Knight may not have fit into the Order of Chivalry as well as previously thought. By applying Raymond Lull's theories of Chivalry to Redcrosse Knight, I argue that Spenser is in effect rewriting the definition of chivalry to appeal to his Renaissance audience and promote his Protestant agenda.

Comments

Presented at the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium (BigSURS), April 2015

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Apr 24th, 4:20 PM

Redcrosse Knight and the Misconception of Medieval Chivalry

DiGiorgio Campus Center, Room 221

The idea of medieval chivalry existing in Renaissance literature, such as Edmund Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, is widely agreed upon. However, our 20th-century misconceptions about medieval knighthood and medieval life have led us to a mostly modern construction of medieval chivalry as opposed to an authentic analysis of medieval chivalry in The Faerie Queene,. In the first canto of book one, Redcrosse Knight exemplifies and deviates from medieval chivalry in regard to political duties, social conduct, faith, and allegory as described by Ramon Llull's The Book of the Order of Chivalry. By examining Redcrosse Knight using an authentic medieval text that defines chivalry, we closely observe how he fits into and breaks the medieval model of knighthood. Ultimately, Spenser uses the idea of Chivalry as a stock image on which to base his epic character, then adds a Renaissance makeover. Unfortunately, this means that Redcrosse Knight may not have fit into the Order of Chivalry as well as previously thought. By applying Raymond Lull's theories of Chivalry to Redcrosse Knight, I argue that Spenser is in effect rewriting the definition of chivalry to appeal to his Renaissance audience and promote his Protestant agenda.