Distorted Boundaries: The Marginal Spaces of the Preternatural in King Horn and Sir Orfeo

  • Author / Creator
    Dow, Anna E.
  • The preternatural, meaning that which is beyond the natural, is an essential component of medieval romance, but has seldom been discussed in spatial terms. European maps and manuscript marginalia from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries place the preternatural on the margins of the late medieval imagination, where its role is often determined by subhuman or superhuman attributes, and the literary romances King Horn and Sir Orfeo outline similar categorizations of the preternatural in the form of the monstrous Saracens and the faerie other. The tales also draw the protagonist into the marginal spaces of his world, so that the natural relationship between centre and periphery becomes distorted. An examination of the spatial designations of the preternatural within these texts thus contributes towards a further understanding of the marginalized status of this category within late medieval romance, and reflects the historical trends of the era in which these boundaries were constructed.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2012
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.