Nora Martin Peterson
Date of this Version
Moulton, Devin L. "Untitled: Deconstruction and Reconstruction of Identity in Le Chevalier de la Charrette and the Romance of Tristran". M.A. thesis, Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 2019.
Questions of identity are a central source of tension within the genre of the chivalric romances. Even among the large collective that is King Arthur’s court, innumerable romances recount the tales of individual knights in search of individual glory and of some way to distinguish their names among the masses of the court and the group of knights across chivalric traditions while simultaneously bound by the confines of that same group and its structures. For most, such a feat is impossible and many knights, though they may earn a name in the course of a single romance, never truly break through the identity of the group enough to merit their individual space within the narrative and the memories of the readers. Yet, for a select few, their names live on past the end of the written word, as new authors pick up their stories, new readers recognize their names, and their deeds are known and remembered by their individual names among the Knights of the Round Table. For Lancelot and Tristan, such a creation of identity is possible through their interactions with an object-moment, which allows them to enter an alternate space where the paradox of chivalric identity is suspended, allowing the knights to pursue individual subversion while simultaneously upholding the group standard. In doing so, they create a name, a role, and a title for themselves that ensures that they will be remembered beyond the limits of written romances.
Advisor: Nora Martin Peterson