Disability and Knighthood in Malory’s Morte Darthur

1st Edition

Tory Pearman

Published July 26, 2018
Reference - 214 Pages
ISBN 9781138334274 - CAT# K393322
Series: Routledge Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture

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This book considers the representation of disability and knighthood in Malory’s Morte Darthur. The study asserts that Malory’s unique definition of knighthood, which emphasizes the unstable nature of the knight’s physical body and the body of chivalry to which he belongs, depends upon disability. As a result, a knight must perpetually oscillate between disability and ability in order to maintain his status. The knights’ movement between disability and ability is also essential to the project of Malory’s book, as well as its narrative structure, as it reflects the text’s fixation on and alternation between the wholeness and fragmentation of physical and social bodies. Disability in its many forms undergirds the book, helping to cohere the text’s multiple and sometimes disparate chapters into the "hoole book" that Malory envisions. The Morte, thus, construes disability as an as an ambiguous, even liminal state that threatens even as it shores up the cohesive notion of knighthood the text endorses.

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