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The queen was in her parlour: Guinevere and space
Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
2011 (English)Conference paper, Published paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Guinevere’s identity as queen in Malory’s works is closely associated with  place: in the royal castles, under the protection of the king, she exerts queenly power. Unlike Isode, who is rather a movable queen, Guinevere remains in the royal castles, tied to the safe space they constitute. The threat to the queen outside the castle is explicitly sexual: in the castle, her position as a chaste wife is protected, outside it she is constantly under the threat of rape.The close association of the queen and the space of the castle can be seen in that threats to the queen’s person are often conveyed in siege images; either directly, as in the siege of the Tower, or indirectly, as in Meleagant’s castle, with the wounded knights between her and her would-be ravisher – and the more successful siege laid by Lancelot.However, even in the space of her own castle, her position is never guaranteed, but always precarious; only through vigilance and good relationships with knights of prowess who are willing to fight for her in trials by combat can the queen retain her safe space. It is a sign of the degeneration of the round table that Guinevere is accused of poisoning a knight in the castle, and later attacked in her own chamber. Significantly, the argument between Arthur and Gawain centres on the queen’s chamber, and what Lancelot was doing there, an argument which also seems to convey different views of the function of the queen’s chamber: to Arthur, it is a private space that has been invaded by another man than himself; to Gawain, it seems to be the centre of the queen’s power to honour and reward knights. The relationship of Guinevere and the castle is a complex and variable one: the castle would normally constitute a safe space, where she is honoured as queen of the land. However, she is attacked both outside the castle, and eventually also inside it. Outside the convent, there is no safe space for Malory’s queen.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011.
Keyword [en]
Arthuriana
National Category
Humanities
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:hh:diva-16067OAI: oai:DiVA.org:hh-16067DiVA: diva2:438043
Conference
XXIII Triennial Congress of the International Arthurian Society, Bristol, July 25-30
Available from: 2011-08-31 Created: 2011-08-31 Last updated: 2013-03-14Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
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  • asciidoc
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