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  • 1.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    A Christian Courtier?: Conflicting Ideologies in Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval2004Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The session focuses on conflicts, or tensions, within the Christian tradition between individual consciousness and religious culture. The texts we consider exemplify in various ways the demands, paradoxes, and negotiations incurred by such a confrontation. Hans Popper examines the strife betweeb pacifist piety and forceful action in St Augustine's Confessions and City of God. Margrét Gunnarsdóttir Champuion reads Old English poetry in the light of contradictory conceptions of the soul. Kristina Hildebrand's concern is with the figure of the knight as a site of ideological clash in Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval, ou Le Conte du Graal.

  • 2.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    A dictionary of King Arthur's knights2006In: Arthuriana: The Quarterly for the International Arthurian Society-North American Branch, ISSN 1078-6279, E-ISSN 1934-1539, Vol. 16, no 4, p. 110-111Article, book review (Other academic)
  • 3.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS), Språk, kultur och samhälle.
    "As fayre an handid man": Malory's figurative language2018In: International Journal of Language Studies, ISSN 2157-4898, E-ISSN 2157-4901, Vol. 12, no 4, p. 61-74Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Figurative language in Malory is not very varied, but is strongly connected to chivalry and the community standards that uphold it. This paper deals briefly with set figurative phrases, but focuses on similes and some other figurative phrases, especially ‘out of measure’ and phrases involving hands, as examples of this. The figurative language used has a number of functions: the similes are not original or intended to be so, but instead connect the depiction of chivalry to other chivalric texts; the phrases concerned with measure reminds the reader if the standards of the chivalric community, and the phrases involving hands retain a connection to the literal hands of the knight characters, bringing the violence perpetrated by a knight's hands into focus. The figurative language of Malory, while not as diverse and varied as we might expect were this a modern text, fulfils literary functions that are essential to this chivalric romance. © International Journal of Language Studies 2016

  • 4.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Att bli man och göras till kvinna : kön och kropp i Ridley Scott's Blade Runner2010In: Möjliga världar: Tekniken, vetenskapen och science fiction / [ed] Michael Godhe & Jonas Ramsten, Stockholm: Carlsson Bokförlag, 2010, p. 179-189Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 5.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS), Språk, kultur och samhälle.
    Bertram and Nennius: sources, editions, forgeries2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Charles Bertram is best known for his Britannicarum Gentium Historiæ Antiquæ Scriptores Tres, published in 1757. This contains two genuine chronicles, Gildas' and Nennius,' and Bertram's forgery of a chronicle by Richard of Cirencester, and while not having had an extensive print run, still exists in some libraries, including the Centre for Arthurian Studies at Bangor.

    The few studies that exist of Bertram's text focus on the forgery, but I owuld here like to look at one of the other two texts: that of Nennius. It seems clear that the inclusion of those two texts was intended to add credibility to the forgery, but considering that Bertram choose to publish Nennius's text again in 1758, it would seem to have meant more to him than a useful façade for his forgery. He provides it with a preface discussing its origin and sources, which indicates the extent of his interest.

    From his letters and his forgery, it seems clear that Bertram is always more interested in Roman Britain than in medieval Britain: his main interest in medieval texts is where they transmit knowledge of the Roman era. The Middle Ages are interesting only as a time when the texts of classical authors later lost were still to be found in monastic libraries, and when Roman remains were more visible, and in better repair, than they were in his time. Yet he was invested enough in Nennius to publish the text twice, at some expense to himself.

    His preface discusses the origins of Nennius' text, and its later fates in the hands of editors. It concerns itself specifically with what is Nennius' genuine text and what are later additions - a concern which produces some amusement, considering Bertram's own forgery. In this paper, I investigate Bertram's approach to Nennius, and why this text, so far removed from the Roman sources he primarily focused on, still fascinated him.

  • 6.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Between images: Understanding national identities2011Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Between 1747 and 1763, an Englishman living in Copenhagen, by the name of Charles Bertram, maintained a correspondence with Dr. William Stukeley. This correspondence covered primarily their mutual interest in antiquarianism, especially that of Britain. Throughout this correspondence, Bertram explicitly identifies himself as British, and expresses his great desire for Britain’s glory and success. For various reasons, Dr. Stukeley refuses to think of him as British, stating in 1757 that Bertram’s letter contained material of a type “as usual with foreigners.” In the terminology of an imagologist, Bertram’s auto-image, his idea of what it means to be British, differs from Stukeley’s. When I speak of imagology I am referring not to the study of public images, nor to geological studies, but to the study of national stereotypes and national identity as they appear in written texts. The aim of imagology “is to understand a discourse of representation rather than a society.” For this particular study, I am especially interested in what Leerssen calls “[p]atterns, not only of Othering, but also of the maintenance of selfhood through historical remembrance and cultural memory.” It appear to me that Bertram, in exile, and thus removed from the contemporary development of the auto-image ‘British,’ struggles to maintain his selfhood within an identity constructed as ‘British.’ He does this partly by literally writing himself into British history: he not only constructs a family history connecting him to historical occurrences, but ‘discovers’ – in fact fabricates - a medieval manuscript which depicts Roman Britain as vaster than it was. For me as the biographer, Bertram’s auto-image represents a two-fold problem. Firstly, there is the issue of point of view: whether Bertram should count as British or Danish, I cannot view either as an auto-image; to me, it will unavoidably be a hetero-image, an image of the Other. As Joep Leerssen points out, “[a]ny representation of cultural relations is a representation of a cultural confrontation; and the author's own cultural values and presupposititions are inevitably involved in this confrontation.” When speaking of Bertram’s understanding of himself as British, I end up involved in a similar cultural confrontation. Secondly, the image of ‘Britishness’ has shifted since the 18th century; what did it mean to be British then, to the British and to others, and how can this understanding be recaptured by a writer of the 21st century? In writing Bertram’s biography, I am obliged to confront this double difficulty.

     

     

  • 7.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS).
    Beverly Kennedy2019In: Journal of International Arthurian Society, E-ISSN 2196-9353, Vol. 7, no 1, p. 22-23Article in journal (Other academic)
  • 8.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    'But four lovers': Malory's Narratives of Courtly Love2010Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In Malory's story of Tristram, Isode sends greetings to Guinevere that 'there be within this londe but four lovers, and that is sir Launcelot and dame Gwenyver, and sir Trystrames and queene Isode'. However, despite this explicit comparison between the two great love stories of the Arthurian cycle, the relationships are markedly different. Whereas Lancelot and Guinevere largely remain inside the trope of knightly service to sovereign lady, Tristram's and Isode's interaction is less easily defined, drifting at times into a discourse of marriage rather than courtly love. This paper looks at the relationships from a perspective of power and control in courtly society.

  • 9.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS).
    Characters of Colour in the Whedonverse2019Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Early on, the works produced by Joss Whedon and writers associated with him were recognised as feminist. This pertains not only to the prominence of female characters, but to the emphasis on co-operation and power-sharing that appear in many of the works. However, there were, also early, concerns about the portrayal of people of colour. I will here consider the entirety of Whedon’s oeuvre, whether he has been writer, producer, or director.

    Whedon’s works do not feature many characters of colour; characters played by actors of colour might also be presented as white, thus further limiting the number of openly presented characters of colour. The portrayals of those characters of colour that do appear in his work are also not unproblematic. One particularly problematic instance of this, which I will focus on here, is the depiction of people of colour (especially but not exclusively women) as expected to exhibit strong loyalty to a white person (especially but not exclusively men).

    Characters of colour, regardless of prominence, often appear as subordinate to a white character, whether this is due to a formal chain of command or an informal hierarchy. Examples of this appear in Agents of ShieldFireflyDollhouse, and Angel, to mention a few. Obviously, the hierarchy is more or less formalised in these texts, but it is generally clear to the viewers even when informal. The moral quality of the characters of colour is repeatedly judged by how loyal they remain to the white person above them in the hierarchy; this judgement may be openly referred to in the text or consist of how the audience is expected to perceive them and their fortunes, or lack thereof, in the arc of the plot.

    As viewers, we tend to accept the hierarchies inherent in the plot, whether formal or informal; we are presented with a leader and a group of followers, who might also have an internal hierarchy. We are invited to judge the performance of the leader, including on how well the followers follow them, and to expect, if we approve of the leader, to see loyalty from the followers. Nevertheless, the demands of loyalty from the characters of colour tend to go beyond the normal expectation that they carry out orders and offer input, if necessary, and often includes emotional and psychologial support. This support is generally not extended in the other direction, making it a power imbalance rather than mutual care, with the less privileged characters taking on the labour of making white characters feel better. This paper will discuss some instances of this, and how simply including more characters of colour does not in and of itself solve the long-noted issues of race in Whedon’s work.

  • 10.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    De-anglifying Bertram: from forger to foreigner2010Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Not much is known of Charles Bertram, English teacher and forger. He was born in London in 1723, at some point – possibly as a child – moved to Denmark with his fanily, and became a teacher of English at the Danish Sea Cadet Academy. Much of the information comes from his preserved letters: in 1746, Charles Bertram initiated a correspondence with William Stukeley – one which would eventually lead to the printing of a fake medieval ms and a posthumous reputation for Stukeley as naive and gullible. Bertram’s side of the correspondence is in the Bodleian, Stukeley’s has unfortunately been lost, together with most of Bertram’s papers. It covers contemporary news and politics, cures for various illnesses, and, most of all, their shared interest in British history and antiquarianism.

    From the beginning of this correspondence, Bertram positions himself as explicitly British, referring in his letters to “our Mother Isle of Britaine,” and to “our native Country,” states that he “had no other Profit in View than the serving my Native Country of Britain by my Publication of the Scriptores,” and finishes a discussion of contemporary British politics by stating  that “my love to my Native Country makes me wish it well.” Despite his living in Denmark, Charles Bertram perceives himself as an Englishman, and is anxious to be thus perceived by others.

    However, Stukeley, in 1757, after ten years of correspondence filled with patriotism, refers casually to the first letter as being “polite, full of compliments, as usual with foreigners.” In Stukeley’s eyes, all the protestations of patriotic fervour cannot make Bertram British. Clearly, Stukeley’s and Bertram’s definitions of what it meant to be an Englishman differed. In this paper, I argue that Bertram’s perceived un-Englishness is not primarily a case of his being domiciled abroad, but a matter of linguistics and of the image of Englishness.

    Stukeley’s comment on Bertram’s compliments indicates that the foreignness he perceives is primarily linguistic. Bertram, despite being fluent in English, lacks the sociolinguistic competence which informs the speaker what register to use: instead of elegant he becomes over-polite – as is also clear when his letters are compared to letters by his contemporaries. He is out of the English-speaking sphere, and quite possibly also out of his social class: while the articles claiming that he was the son of a silk dyer do not refer to any actual source for this statement, his attitude towards the prominent people around him indicates a desire to rise in society, and an insecurity of his ability to do so. His lack of sense of the proper register to use places him as not English, as foreign.

    The other source of this understanding of Bertram as foreign is a matter of image. Stukeley is not the only person who perceives Bertram as a foreigner. As it becomes increasingly clear that the ms is a forgery, more and more scholars are eager to point out that Bertram is not an Englishman: he does fit the image of the honest Englishman. In his 1853 Britannic Researches. Or New Facts and Rectifications of Ancient British History, Beale Poste refers to Bertram as “a foreigner born at London”, his primary argument seems to be that no Englishman would be guilty of such a forgery. In The Gentleman’s Magazine of 1853, B. B. Woodward points out that the ms name for a road appears to be an attempt to create an earlier form of Watling Street, but that no sources spell the name so, “nor in any way so much as suggestive of it to an English scholar.” Indeed, Bertram’s very eagerness to be English would appear to be considered suspect; his presentation of himself as English is clearly frowned upon.

    Bertram, then, attempts to present himself as English but does not succeed, due to a lack of sociolinguistic skill but also due to his being a forger. The correspondence and other texts enable us to see both what the expectations of an Englishman were at the times, but also to follow the attempts by an 18th century man to construct an identity of nationality and class.

     

  • 11.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Dining on Crusade: Sire de Joinville's The Life of Saint Louis and Food2011Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    The number of culinary mss preserved indicates an extensive interest in food and cooking in the Middle Ages. Food also appears in other texts, though rarely defined clearly: 'all of the best' is a common expression. However, in Joinville's The Life of Saint Louis, eating is presented as both social interaction and as a deliberate exclusion from a social context. Food and eating also serve as a reminder of time of year in a different climate, and as an example of the exotic and different world of Outremer. This paper looks at the various meanings conveyed in Joinville's text through food and eating.

  • 12.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS), Språk, kultur och samhälle.
    Fragile masculinity and beleaguered womanhood: the construction of white gender in some Swedish asatru groups2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    While most Swedish asatru groups are explicit in their support of diversity, there is a significant fringe movement which embraces at least some white supremacist views. Ethnicity cannot be disconnected from gender, and these groups also promote a quasi-feminism which focuses solely on the protection of white womanhood from men of colour. This paper focuses on the intersection of racism, sexism, and religious faith in this fringe of asatru, and on the construction of white gender identity in opposition to a perceived threat from other ethnic groups.

  • 13.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    'God knows I speak true': narrative, gender, and the truth in William Morris’s The Defense of Guinevere2005Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    William Morris’s The Defense of Guinevere combines two narrators: the implied author and Guinevere. This paper argues that Guinevere, whose voice is explicitly and implicity constructed as female, attempts to appropriate the story of her possible adultery and use it as a vehicle for her own truth, rather than that of her accuser. Guinevere’s appropriation of the narrative to tell her truth is, however, finally depicted as “unspeakable” and as insignificant compared to the combat, the male arena for truth-telling. Guinevere’s voice is the dominant one, but the implied author’s voice is more significant than the scant number of lines indicates: it opens and closes the poem, and emphasises Guinevere’s femininity. It expresses the male gaze, which is also present in the poem as the audience of listening knights. Although the implied author’s voice expresses sympathy for Guinevere it is distant and detached, in its clarity strongly contrasted against Guinevere's immediate, fragmented narrative, and that contrast, again, points to the femininity of Guinevere’s voice. Guinevere’s voice also constructs itself as female by using references to her beauty, to other women, and to her feminine modesty to defend and assert her truthfulness. Her voice is created inside a feminine sphere, never moving, through metaphor or phrase, into the masculine areas of combat, knighthood, and honour. Through her narrative, Guinevere re-appropriates the telling of her story, insisting on her own version of events. Still, in her narrative she emphasises, again and again, her inability to speak and the dangers of speaking. At the end of the poem, Guinevere’s spirited narrative defense is finally undermined by a return to male truth-telling: Lancelot arrives to save her, bringing the masculine assertion of truth by way of combat.

  • 14.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Her Desire and His: Letters between Fifteenth-century lovers2007In: The Erotic in the Literature of Medieval Britain / [ed] Amanda Hopkins, Cory James Rushton, Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2007, p. 132-141Chapter in book (Other academic)
  • 15.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS).
    "I love nat to be constreyned to love" - Launcelot and Sexual Vulnerability2019Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    While we tend to think of rape as something that happens to female characters, Malory's text does, in fact, contain numerous male characters who suffer attempts to coerce them into sex. This happens to Bors de Ganis, and indeed, to Arthur himself. The most regular victim of this is Launcelot, who is repeatedly in danger of being forced to have sex with various women, and is, of course, in fact drugged and raped.

    Launcelot seems to attract these women through his fame and prowess, and his attachment to Guinevere frequently arouses jealousy. However, if we take into consideration rape as a crime of power more than of sexual attraction, another image of Launcelot's situation appears. This reading suggests that the women in question desire power over Launcelot - and the common threat to kill him if he will not acquiesce rather strengthens that suggestion - and this desire puts him in a uniquely vulnerable position. As they are women, they cannot be dealt with through his martial prowess and vanquished in battle; their very defenselessness causes Launcelot's vulnerability. This paper investigates how Launcelot's masculinity, based, as masculinity in Malory generally is, on prowess and the steadfast love for a specific woman, paradoxically places him in what is traditionally a feminine position - that of vulnerability to violence, including sexual violence.

  • 16.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM).
    Knights in Space: the Arthur of Babylon 5 and Dr. Who2002In: King Arthur in Popular Culture / [ed] Elizabeth Sklar, Don Hoffman, McFarland , 2002, p. 101-110Chapter in book (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
  • 17.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Male sexuality and the stain of illegitimacy: Sites of discomfort in Arthurian texts2003Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 18. Hildebrand, Kristina
    Medieval dancing in modern movies2018In: The Middle Ages in the Modern World, 2018, p. 12-12Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    For much medieval dancing, we must rely on images and the occasional, not detailed description. However, starting in the 15th century, we get dance choreographies written down. The dances manifest power, dignity, and courtly behaviour; despite the vigourously athletic steps in many dances, the dancer had to maintain decorum. The dances are largely egalitarian, in that men and women have the same steps and often take turns leading, and low on touch, with generally no more physical contact than hands being held. There are both set choreographies and those that allow for improvisation, but all are intended to showcase the social and cultural capital of the dancers. In modern TV series and movies depicting the Middle Ages and Renaissance, this function of dancing is in most cases entirely abandoned, in favour of some of the social functions of traditional styles of dancing today: physical contact and distinct gender roles. Medieval dance is presented as involving physical contact, with more explicitly sexual connotations, and with a leading male partner and a passively led, but often overtly seductive, female partner. Some of this is undoubtedly due to choreographers with no training in dance history beyond early ballet in the 18th century, but as there are choreographers and dancers specialising in early dance, who are not consulted, there is clearly also a choice involved. In this paper, I would like to trace the effects of that choice, and how it comes to portray medieval cultural acts such as dancing as more gendered and more heavily sexualised than they were.

  • 19.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Morgan's Children: Sex and Power2008Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Many contemporary text reinterpret the ambiguous character of Morgan le Fay. However, whether they cast her as an evil enemy or as misunderstood martyr, a surprising number of contemporary depictions share one element: they change the traditional number and/or the identity of Morgan’s children. Mordred is depicted as her son, rather than Morgawse’s, and there are often other sons and daughters. Morgan’s children may be her allies or adversaries, or symbols of her feminity and sexuality: the texts differ in their approaches. In this paper; I discuss the various uses made of the portrayal of Morgan as mother in texts by Bradley, Sampson, Lawhead, and others.

  • 20.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    'Nemo sine crimine vivit, and mine is to love Antiquities': The Pleasure of Historiography2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    “Nemo sine crimine vivit, and mine is to love Antiquities”: the pleasure of historiography.

    The quotation is from a letter by Charles Bertram, antiquarian, grammarian, and forger. In describing his interest in history, especially the Middle Ages, he repeatedly uses emotional terms, including ‘love’ and ‘pleasure.’ Clearly, to Bertram, the study of history is first and foremost a pleasure, and one which he finds it difficult to do without. This paper investigates the pleasure taken in knowledge of the Middle Ages, as expressed in Bertram’s letters, and argues that it is, in his case, inextricably linked with a desire to belong.

  • 21.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    'Open manslaughter and bold bawdry': Male Sexuality as a Cause of Disruption in Malory's Morte Darthur2014In: Sexual Culture in the Literature of Medieval Britain / [ed] Amanda Hopkins, Robert Allen Rouse & Cory James Rushton, Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2014, 1, p. 13-25Chapter in book (Refereed)
  • 22.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Party Like It's 1469: Dining in Malory's Morte d'Arthur2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Malory's text contains numerous references to eating together: after all, the most central artefact of King Arthur's court is a (round) dining table. In this paper, I will argue that dining functions as a marker for knighthood, community, and refinement: this is particularly clear in the Tale of Sir Gareth, where various aspects eating, cooking, and food marks Gareth's development from kitchen boy to famous knight. This is further supported by other parts of the Morte d’Arthur, especially where the decline from celebratory dining to the dinner where one eater is poisoned at the table signals the break-down of the community of the court.

  • 23.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS), Språk, kultur och samhälle.
    Powerful matriarchs, warrior women, and sexy slaves: views of women in Viking reenactment2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    This paper is based on a specific occurrence at a Viking reenactment market in Sweden in the summer of 2016. The incident in question involved a group which has decided to recreate Viking slave trade. They visit Viking markets where they will capture female visitors and ’sell’ them; in this case, this resulted in a police report for assault and kidnapping. What interests me is the reactions among other reenactors, and what those reactions indicate about ambivalent views of gender among Viking reenactors.

    Many Viking reenactors assert that Viking society was one of gender equality. They are often keen to pick up new research which seems to support this idea, such as the possibility of female warriors among Vikings. Thus, the Viking age is seen as closer to contemporary ideals about equality than, for example, the Middle Ages, and also as a time of strong independent women. Still, there is a certain amount of ambivalence about this equality: Viking society is also seen as heteronormative, and gender roles are often presented as complementary and interdependent rather than affording equal opportunities for both genders. In this paper, I will explore the recreation of Viking gender roles and how this draws on and legitimises heteronormativity and both equal and unequal contemporary gender roles.

  • 24.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Reading desire: men desiring men in Malory2014Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    There is no doubt that, in Malory, the knights’ sexual desire is directed towards women: much of the text covers the stories of the great lovers Launcelot and Tristram. In this paper, I argue that it is possible, especially for today’s readers, to read Malory from a perspective of same-sex desire. There are three main reasons for this: the usage, between knights, of the language of a feudal world, the eroticisation of dominance and submission, and the marginalisation of one of the most explicitly desiring characters. Malory’s knights interact in the language of feudal bonds: they swear to be each other’s knights always, and to be true and loyal – in fact, the language used between knights often differs little from that used between courtly love couples. Courtly love borrowed its discourse from feudal bonds, eroticising it in the process. When feudal discourse is then used for feudal purposes – such as the swearing of one knight to another – the erotic charge of courtly love is retained, colouring the feudal bonds with desire. The interaction of knights with ladies and their interaction with each other are couched in very similar language, thus making it possible to read both as erotic. As I have argued elsewhere, many medieval texts eroticise dominance and submission, with the man as dominant in marriage, but as submissive in courtly love. So do many modern texts: the eroticisation of dominance and violence is of course not an unknown phenomenon in the contemporary world. In the light of this, much knightly interaction, which is aimed at determining a hierarchy of better/lesser knight, can also be read as expressing desire, for the top position but also for the knight currently holding that position: the lesser, defeated knight desires the winner, and shows such desire through the feudal language which – as mentioned above – carries an erotic subtext. In the story of Palomides, a reading of same-sex desire in the text is particularly possible. To readers who themselves occupy a marginalised position in society, for example due to sexual orientation, the marginalised character might offer a natural target for identification. Palomides is already marginalised due to his ethnicity and religion, making him a potential representative of other marginalised groups. Furthermore, Palomides explicitly desires Tristram’s company, and this is referred to in parallel with his desire for Isoud, using similar language. Palomides’s desire for Tristram is also expressed as a desire to defeat him or be defeated by him, thus linking the desire to eroticisation of dominance and submission. As Palomides is characterised by both his marginalisation and his desire, it is easy to read his desire itself as marginalising, deviant in a heteronormative world. For today’s reader, then, it is possible to read Malory’s text as containing desire not only between men and women, but between men, relying on a subtext of same-sex desire and eroticisation of dominance and submission even in overtly heterosexual characters.

  • 25.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Riding off to Adventure and into Court: Perceval as Other (or, Is that Boy Ready to Leave Mother?)2007Conference paper (Other academic)
  • 26.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS), Språk, kultur och samhälle.
    Sitting on the Sidelines: Disability in Malory2017In: Arthuriana: The Quarterly for the International Arthurian Society-North American Branch, ISSN 1078-6279, E-ISSN 1934-1539, Vol. 27, no 3, p. 66-80Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The presence of a small number of disabled characters in Malory’s text points to the normalization of ability: disability is outside the norm. This paper argues that disability is marginalized to the point of invisibility in the text because it is a site of anxiety for the intended audience.

  • 27.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Sitting on the Sidelines: Disability in Malory2013Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Late medieval tournaments were not a safe sport; deaths and injuries are mentioned by contemporary chroniclers, the most famous case being the death of Henry II of France in 1559. Clearly some of these injuries, where the knight escaped death, led to long-lasting or permanent disability. The disability need not hinder an active life: Götz of Berlichingen, having lost his right arm in battle, wore an articulated prosthetic arm. This shows the importance of warlike endeavour to the knightly classes, considering the ingenuity expended on allowing the disabled man to participate in physical activities and, when in armour, present an able-bodied image.

    In Malory’s works, as in all narratives of chivalric deeds, death is an expected and frequent outcome of knightly activities. However, we encounter few disabled characters: knights either die or heal. In Malory’s text, ability is normalised: lasting injury and disability is outside the norm, marginalised to the point of invisibility. This is surprising, considering that the audience must have been familiar with permanent, more or less disabling, effects of knightly life. Oliver Auge has argued that “affected nobles were ... seen as disturbing elements within the society” and may have internalised this perspective;[1] thus, in Malory’s perfect Arthurian world, disability is not admissible. The exceptions to this are Pellam -  the Grail guardian - and Sir Urry. These two characters, while sharing a long-term disability, differ in narrative function. Pellam is the literary descendant of the Fisher King of earlier Arthurian texts,[2] who is always, as Kisha G. Tracy has pointed out, “defined by his disability.”[3] Sir Urry, on the other hand, seems to appear in the narrative only to provide Lancelot with proof of his worthiness.

    Malory introduces Pellam’s disability at the very beginning, making it a significant part of the story of Sir Balin. Here we see Pellam engaging in battle, desiring to avenge his brother, but resulting in Pellam himself being injured: “and kynge Pellam lay so many yerys sore wounded, and myght never be hole tylle that Galaad the Hawte Prynce heled hym in the queste of the Sankgreall”[4] – at which point his name has changed to Pelles and the story of his maiming is different.

    The story of the maimed king and his healing is, even for Malory, inconsistent and confusing. King Pellam/Pelles is wounded – though there are contradictory stories of that wounding - and will be healed by Galahad; however, there is another Fisher King, and once the healing takes place, not Pelles but another unnamed knight is the object of healing. Pellles’s disability is by no means as dominant in Malory’s text as in the various earlier Perceval/Grail texts: it is only referred to in the two stories of his wounding and once mentioned by Galahad. The same silence about disability can be found in the narrative of Sir Urry. Sir Urry’s injury, which occurred in a tournament, has been aggravated by sorcery and caused disability: his healing restores him to full knightly ability. Thus, we see the disabled knight only briefly, and focus is on the attempts at healing.

    Despite disability being the defining characteristic in previous literary incarnations of the Grail king, and despite the experience of Sir Urry – long-term disability after an injury – being a realistic feature of the chivalric world, disability is consistently hidden by the reader’s attention being diverted, the symbolism of the disability, or even the disabled character, shifting throughout the narrative. Disability and the disabled are unstable sites in the text, and seem to be sites of anxiety for the intended audience.

    [1] Oliver Auge, ”Noblemen injured in fights and jousts: in the field of tension between honour and ability” Medizin, Gesellschaft und Geschichte 2009/28 21-46, abstract.

    [2] Although clearly not identical in Malory, as Galahad asks to be remembered “unto my grauntesyre kynge Pelles, and unto my lorde kynge Pecchere, and say hem” Sir Thomas Malory, Works, ed. Eugéne Vinaver, 2nd ed. (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1977) 519 (my emphasis).

    [3] Kisha G. Tracy, “Representations of Disability: the Medieval Literary Tradition of the Fisher King” Ryler, Joshue E., ed., Disability in the Middle Ages: Reconsiderations and Reverberations (Farnham: Ashgate, 2010) 105-118, 105.

    [4] Malory 54.

  • 28.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM).
    The Female Reader at the Round Table: Religion and Women in Three Contemporary Arthurian Texts2001Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Stretching back at least a thousand years, Arthurian literature constitutes a vigorous and varied genre that attracts scholarly attention. In a close reading of three modern Arthurian texts, Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy, The Crystal Cave(1970), The Hollow Hills (1973), The Last Enchantment (1979), Marion Bradley’sThe Mists of Avalon (1982), and Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle, Taliesin(1987), Merlin (1988), Arthur (1989), Pendragon (1994), and Grail (1997), this study focuses on the intersection between two of the genre’s motifs: religion and gender. Inspired by the medieval Arthurian tradition, which is exemplified in my discussion by Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae and Sir Thomas Malory’s Works, these three texts rewrite the medieval stories, not merely by changing the plots, but by expressing new political, social, and cultural views of the gendering of religion.

    Stewart’s, Bradley’s and Lawhead’s novels portray different religious traditions: respectively, an eclectic monotheism, Neo-Pagan Wicca, and Christianity. They also offer different gender perspectives: in Stewart, the ungendering of the narrator and the unobtrusive inclusion of women as independent actors; in Bradley, feminist and female religion; and in Lawhead, the rejection of women as independent actors in religion.

    Modelled on the feminist reader response theory developed by Patrocinio P. Schweickart, my reading centres on the female readers’ identification as moderated by her faith, and aims to demonstrate that the female reader’s response will inevitably be coloured by the objects of identification offered by the text, by their portrayal of women as religious actors, and by the feminisation of evil that is apparent in them.

    Besides privileging the female perspective, my reading also attempts to recognise and critique patriarchal portrayals of women. Ultimately, my study shows that the female reader’s identification or alienation proceed from the interaction of the her own experience with the texts’ portrayal of religion and gender.

  • 29.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: Saracens in Malory's Works2009Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    Sir Thomas Malory's works include several Saracens, most prominent of which is Sir Palomides. They are clearly defined by their religion: they are named as Saracens, which to Malory means Muslims, and identified as unbaptized, thus not belonging to the church. However, the ethical judgements made about them relies entirely on their adherence, or lack thereof, to the chivalric code and courtoisie. The texts portrays them as heretical or pagan, but as capable of morally right behaviour even before conversion to Christianity.

  • 30.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    The Image of Roman Britain: The Middle Ages as a Stepping-Stone2008Conference paper (Other academic)
    Abstract [en]

    In 1757, Charles Bertram published an ms ascribed to Richard of Westminster. He claimed that it was 'a copy of an old Manuscript Fragment,' although it was a forgery made by Bertram himself. However, while this manuscript was presented as medieval, and as providing new knowledge about Britrain, the new knowledge is actually concerned with Roman Britain. In this paper, I argue that Bertram uses the Middle Ages as a stepping stone to Roman Britain, and represents the Middle Ages as a depository of long-forgotten knowledge rather than as era of interest in itself.

  • 31.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS).
    The Matter of Britain: Roman Scotland and the British Empire2019Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In 1757, the Englishman Charles Bertram published, in Copenhagen, a text and map of supposed medieval origins, which showed new information on the extent of Roman Britain, particularly in Scotland. This text, and particularly the map, introduced a previously unknown Roman province which covered large parts of southern Scotland, as well as roads and stations extending into this area. It was, of course, not genuine.

    Nevertheless, this new information was eagerly embraced by many antiquaries and historians. In the aftermath of the Jacobite risings, any evidence that the union of Scotland and England had ancient origins was welcome, as it implied that this union was, in a sense, natural, and had existed in a warmly admired Roman era, on which the emerging British Empire was keen to model itself.

    The text comprises many aspects of international medievalism and intentional misuse of a medieval past. This paper discusses how the forgery engages the relationship between England and Scotland after the Union, but also the position of Bertram as an Englishman in exile and his desire for a nostalgically remembered England.

  • 32.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS), Språk, kultur och samhälle.
    The Other Cornwall Girl2017Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In the medieval texts, Morgawse is generally a less ambiguous character than Morgaine; although the mother of Mordred and a willing adulteress, she is unwaveringly loyal to Arthur. She has no great success with her sons, but is not portrayed as anything worse than possibly foolish. She even appears briefly as the love interest of Sir Lamorak, one of the great knights and lovers of Malory’s Tale of Sir Tristram.

    However, in modern texts, especially those rehabilitating Morgaine (or other female characters) Morgawse emerges as a much more problematic character. This begins in Stewart’s Merlin trilogy, where she is conflated with the woman who seduces and traps Merlin – while that character, still present in the text, is instead rehabilitated as a positive figure. It is also present in the texts by Bradley, Sampson, and Bradshaw, to mention a few.

    Depictions of Morgawse as (semi-)villain, despite their often overt feminist approach to the Arthurian stories, tend to include a strong contempt for female sexuality and for those embracing a traditionally feminine gender role. Morgawse is often presented as seductive, promiscuous, and inclined to work through and for her children, rather than to realise personal ambitions. In this paper, I discuss what happens to this female character when texts rehabilitate other female characters, and how the various portrayals of Morgawse exhibit a number of problematic ideas about women and sexuality.

  • 33.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS), Språk, kultur och samhälle.
    The Other Cornwall Girl: Morgause in Twentieth-Century English Literature2018In: Journal of International Arthurian Society, E-ISSN 2196-9353, Vol. 6, no 1, p. 25-45Article in journal (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Morgause is an understudied character in Arthurian scholarship. In Malory, she is relatively positively presented as a queen, as a mother of knights and as a sexually active woman; she is always seen from these perspectives, which define her as a character. In modern portrayals, there is no novel with Morgause as a main character, but she appears frequently as a secondary one. The focus is on her sexuality, which is sometimes contrasted against Morgaine le Fay’s. Morgause’s sexual independence is frequently condemned and used to depict her as a negative character, or even the villain of the piece

  • 34.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Humanities (HUM), Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    The queen was in her parlour: Guinevere and space2011Conference 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.

  • 35.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    The Rules of the Game: Re-Enactors and Fealty2012Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In re-enactment groups, fealty is often sworn and received, in imitation of a feudal world. The procedure is invested with various meanings, often with a clear desire to mark it both as significant and as different from life-long fealty. In the oaths, these boundaries are often explicitly set. I will investigate, through interviews, a number of issues surrounding the modern re-enactor's fealty, such as how the re-enactor understands medieval fealty; how this understanding colours their own experience of fealty, and how significant fealty is to their understanding of the Middle Ages.

  • 36.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS).
    The trappings and trimmings: clothes, food, and decoration in Herra Ivan2016Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    In translating and adapting Chrétien’s Yvain for the Swedish court and nobility, the author seems to have been aiming at presenting an ideal to be imported. Thomas Småberg has pointed out that the author wanted to introduce models for behaviour by portraying courtly manners, feasts, and battles, including scenes that are not present in the original (Småberg 212, 209). I would here like to look at how the text depicts the outer markings of aristocracy: elegant clothes made from expensive fabrics, fancy dining, and the usage of fabrics in furnishing homes. 

    It is of course dangerous to put too much weight on the minor differences between the texts, even though Sofia Lodén has shown that ”the French romance was the Swedish translator’s main source text and that the saga served as occasional support” (Lodén 283). Nevertheless, the author was not adverse to excluding parts he found uninteresting (like the flirtatious conversation between Laudine and Yvain on their first meeting) so it seems fair to assume that the relevant parts of the text, even if translated directly, contain subjects and depictions the author made a conscious choice to retain.

    The text is strongly concerned with the fabrics used by the characters, for clothing and for decoration. Here the author often expands on the original, and also tends to define the materials used as expensive and rich (kostelik, rik, dyr) – while the terms have the wider meaning of ’valuable, spendid’ they are also closely associated with the amount of money one would have to pay for the item in question. In this paper, I will discuss how the outer markings of aristocracy are presented and used to define the correct and courtly lifestyle for a nobleman in 14th century Sweden.

  • 37.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Centrum för lärande, kultur och samhälle (CLKS), Språk, kultur och samhälle.
    The two Elaines and their fathers: Malory’s (dis)obedient daughters2018Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    Malory’s two Elaines, of Carbonek and of Astolat, are generally noted for their love for Lancelot, in both cases unrequited and in one case fatal. However, I am interested here in their positions as daughters, and how their sexuality is explicitly portrayed as under patriarchal control.

    The sexuality of both Elaines is under the control of their fathers, and, to some extent, other male family members. However, as daughters they are dissimilar: Elaine of Carbonek is obedient to patriarchal control, Elaine of Astolat disobedient.

    In the case of Elaine of Carbonek, she is explicitly told to seduce the drugged Lancelot, in order to conceive Galahad. Having her partner selected by her father, without much consultation of her own desires, is, of course, not an exceptional situation in a text written in 1469, the only exceptional circumstances being the absence of a wedding. While the intercourse is fornication, and in Lancelot’s case, rape, these aspects are ignored in favour of the greater good served by Galahad’s conception.

    Elaine of Astolat, on the other hand, makes the choice to approach Lancelot with a request to be his wife, and, on being refused, wants to be his lover. Lancelot’s responds with horror at the thought of abusing his hosts’ hospitality by having sex with the virgin daughter of the house. Here, too, patriarchal control over the daughter’s (and sister’s) sexuality is obvious: Lancelot, while a faithful lover to Guinevere, to which he can hardly admit, seems not so much to reject Elaine of Astolat for his own reasons, but genuinely distressed at the thought of how he would treat her male family members by acquiescing.

    How, then are the actions of the two daughter – one obedient, one disobedient – portrayed? Elaine of Carbonek appears in the text as a perfect daughter: obedient, faithful to Lancelot, even willing to challenge Guinevere for him. She gives birth to a son who becomes the best knight in the world; while his lineage from Lancelot – and, through him, from Jesus – is clearly part of his natural ability as a knight, Malory’s text largely subscribes to good children coming from morally pure mothers. The lack of a morally pure mother results in a morally corrupt child; Elaine of Carbonek, as the mother of Galahad, must be completely pure. The rape of Lancelot, who never consents to sex with Elaine, is either seen as irrelevant or blamed on Elaine’s father.

    Elaine of Astolat, on the other hand, dies for her unrequited love for Lancelot. It has been argued by Reynolds that her death should not be seen as a good death, as she defends her right to think of Lancelot even on her deathbed. She is the disobedient daughter, willing to offer herself as lover to a man who will not marry her, subverting the whole patriarchal system of women given in exchange between men. Her death implies that her love is excessive, and that independence can be fatal.

  • 38.
    Hildebrand, Kristina
    Halmstad University, School of Education, Humanities and Social Science, Contexts and Cultural Boundaries (KK).
    Tropical Knights: Chivalry and Masculinity in Malory and Hawaii Five-02015Conference paper (Refereed)
    Abstract [en]

    The works of Malory portray a masculinity which is based on prowess in combat and desire for a more or less unattainable woman. Despite this, the masculinity is deeply concerned with homosocial desire verging on the homoerotic, and with discussing emotional experiences. Similarly, the masculinity of Hawaii Five-0 (2010) is based in shared violence, but diverges from the standard type of masculinity portrayed in cop shows by including homoerotic elements as well as the discussion of emotional experiences. Thus, Hawaii Five-0 is not only groundbreaking but in fact reinvents a masculinity which was once unremarkable in a work of chivalry.

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