Chapter 5 Problematic Pasts and New Beginnings

  • Jan Shaw
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


“Problematic Pasts and New Beginnings” considers the problematics of patrimony in The Marriage Tales in Melusine, in conversation with two other English prose romances from the fifteenth century, Siege of Thebes and Life of Alexander. Using the English fifteenth-century context of internal political instability and the threat of the Ottoman advance as a starting point, Shaw examines the inter generational familial strife that occurs in all three tales, and finds that they signal a movement away from patrilineal legacies; all three gesture toward the need to cut with the patrilineal past in order to negotiate a different path to the future. Moreover, in Melusine the hybridity of the sons realigns ideas about alterity, highlighting the process of “othering” as a political act rather than an inherent state.


Fifteenth Century Narrative Identity Legal Contract French Text Bodily Difference 
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© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Shaw
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SydneyDepartment of EnglishSydneyAustralia

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