Sexual Violence in History: A Bibliography

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First published: September 1, 2023 - Last updated: September 1, 2023


Author: Angela L. Gibson

Title: Fictions of Abduction in the Auchinleck Manuscript, the Pearl Poet, Chaucer, and Malory

Subtitle: -

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, University of Rochester

Advisor: Thomas Hahn

Year: 2007

Pages: vii + 291pp.

OCLC Number: 180918007 - Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: Medieval History: 14th Century, 15th Century | European History: English History | Representations: Literary Texts / Geoffrey Chaucer, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Thomas Malory


Link: -


Abstract: »This dissertation examines late medieval English representations of raptus-or abduction, elopement, and rape-to explore one way that English national identityis shaped. Whereas preceding work on raptus has grappled mainly with rape, this study emphasizes how writers use the element of transport in the crime, which breaches and marks borders to reveal vexed attitudes toward female mobility and the tentativeness of women's status as family members and citizens. It considers abduction from a transhistorical perspective as a crime with an enduring capacity to make a socially marginal person symbolically central. But this project also focuses on a discrete period of history to show how fictional treatments of raptus enact the same contests for authority, possession, and autonomy as the crime. Chapter 1 looks at raptus in romances from the Auchinleck manuscript to argue that as the Crown's legal power over this crime was emboldened, this vernacular project flaunts its own cultural weight and showcases images of noncentralized authority: autonomous women and protectors who are neither fathers nor kings. Chapter 2 considers the psychological and rhetorical characteristics of raptus produced in the context of such noncentralized authority: captivity is the desire to possess in Pearl, which recommends an ethic of self-possession, and a strategy for asserting and testing loyalty in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Geoffrey Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde is the subject of chapter 3, which examines political disenfranchisement and asserts that the abjection of a citizen in the prisoner-exchange scene reveals that the captor is not a foreign enemy but a domestic legislative process. Chapter 4 pairs Chaucer's Man of Law's Tale and Legend of Good Women, which, by considering the impermanent nature of home for women and questioning if women's domestic and civic affiliations are shifting or fixed, encourage practices of deliberate consent formation. Chapter 5 argues that in the Morte D'Arthur the ardent division between private and public com mitments that Thomas Malory explores through Lancelot's rescue, or counterabduction, of Guinevere evidences an unapologetic take on loyalty and power as situational and demonstrates a comfort not seen in the earlier works with holding conflicting loyalties.« (Source: Thesis)

  Curriculum Vitae (p. ii)
  Acknowlegements (p. iii)
  Abstract (p. v)
  Introduction From Orfeo to 9/11: The Real-World Traumas behind Abduction's Fictions (p. 1)
  Chapter 1 Abduction, Elopement, and Rape 35 in the Auchinleck Romances (p. 35)
  Chapter 2 Pearl, Gawain, and the Willing Captive (p. 80)
  Chapter 3 Prisoner Exchange and National Identity in Troilus and Criseyde (p. 124)
  Chapter 4 Elopement and Exile in the Legend of Good Women and the Man of Law's Tale (p. 162)
  Chapter 5 Abduction and the Paradox of Loyalty in Malory (p. 202)
  Conclusion (p. 244)
  Works Cited (p. 253)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England / England in the Late Middle Ages | Literature: English literature / Geoffrey Chaucer, Thomas Malory | Literature: Rape in fiction / The Legend of Good Women, The Man of Law's Tale, Le Morte d'Arthur, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Troilus and Criseyde | Sex and the law: Rape / History of rape