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Posthumous Messages: Memory, Romance, And The Morte Darthur

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Chapter Summary

There are some retrospective movements that pass beyond any particular act of recollection. A narrative genre that has often been regarded as broadly retrospective in orientation is medieval romance. In medieval English literature the conventional paradigm of such a retrospective turn is the work of Thomas Malory, a panoramic prose account of the Arthurian world often called the Morte Darthur and apparently composed at least in part while the knight Malory himself was in prison. In a sense, Malory's extended work is his own prolonged protest against that destiny and against his own fate as an imprisoned knight. The Morte provides more than the memory of a vanished past. It shows how even an evanescent world can continue to speak from the dead.

Keywords: medieval romance; memory; Morte Darthur; Thomas Malory



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