Year of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Department or School/College
Department of English
John Hunt , Paul Dietrich
Grief, mourning, ethics, medieval, material culture, immaterial culture
University of Montana
Cultural History | Literature in English, British Isles | Medieval History | Medieval Studies | Other English Language and Literature
This project is a socio-historic analysis of two late 14th century dream visions: Chaucer’s Book of the Duchess and the Pearl poem. Utilizing Robert Pogue Harrison’s concept of objectifying grief through ritualized communal mourning, this thesis examines the ways in which mourning literature functioned as consolatory device, and a form of public performance for the powerful patrons who commissioned the pieces. By engaging with pre-existing communities of grief, material culture, and courtly discourse these poems perform the work of mourning while simultaneously enacting modes of public performativity that stress the ethics of grieving, and suggest that, for royal patrons, it is imperative for the stability of the commonwealth that they respond appropriately to loss. In performing the work of mourning the texts advocate for a unity between public and private selves, enacting the principle that for a great leader the private is always public.
Andrews, Tarren, "THE ETHICS OF MOURNING: THE ROLE OF MATERIAL CULTURE AND PUBLIC POLITICS IN THE 'BOOK OF THE DUCHESS' AND THE 'PEARL' POEM" (2015). Graduate Student Theses, Dissertations, & Professional Papers. 4487.
© Copyright 2015 Tarren Andrews