By F. Tolhurst
Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Feminist Origins of the Arthurian Legend presents the 1st feminist research of either the Arthurian component of The background of the Kings of england and The lifetime of Merlin .
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Additional info for Geoffrey of Monmouth and the Feminist Origins of the Arthurian Legend
58). He does not, however, label Ganhumara in a similar manner. 9–19). Furthermore, the fact that the king’s nephew gathers a large army from among Arturus’s enemies—without any apparent opposition from fellow noblemen—suggests that Modredus, not the queen, controls the military. When Ganhumara retreats to a convent, the wording of the passage makes her as likely to be Modredus’s victim as his lover: “Periurus ergo ille, reuocatis undique suis, in sequenti nocte Guintoniam ingressus est. Quod ut Ganhumarae reginae nunciatum est, confestim sibi desperans ab Eboraco ad Vrbem Legionum diffugit atque in templo Iulii martiris inter monachas eiusdem uittam suscepit et caste uiuere proposuit [Therefore, the perjurer (Modredus), having recalled men from everywhere, entered Winchester on the following night.
Although the poets’ reworkings of the details of Ganhumara’s story will receive analysis in chapters 2 and 3, it is essential to note here that the Galfridian version of events does not villainize Arturus’s queen for failing to produce offspring. Given that modern retellings of the Arthurian legend either highlight Arthur’s lack of heir or supply him with one, Geoffrey’s silence regarding Ganhumara’s barrenness merits scrutiny. 81–84). Nevertheless, nowhere in his lengthy account of Arturus’s reign does Geoffrey either state explicitly that the royal couple remains childless or blame the queen for failing to produce an heir.
511–12). 32 There were also legal reasons to set these circumstances aside. 34 Even if some of his Norman readers were to feel uncomfortable with the manner in which Uther and Igerna consummate their relationship, Geoffrey’s very positive presentation of this marriage would give them confidence that it is more than acceptable: it is, in fact, a model of royal marriage. The king and queen are partners in love and power rather than spouses out of political necessity. Uther and Igerna live together “pariter [as equals]” and, as if in celebration of their equality, produce both a son and a daughter through their love: “Commanserunt deinde pariter non minimo amore ligati progenueruntque filium et filiam.