Time, consciousness and narrative play in late Medieval secular dream poetry and framed narratives

  • Michelle Wright

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    This thesis considers time and narrative play in dream poems and framed narratives. It begins with a chapter on the history of time perceptions and time-telling, and explores how ideas about time influenced medieval writers. It also surveys some modern views on the history of time-measurement a nd its influences on culture and the collective consciousness. Chapter two, after analysing the treatment of time in the Roman de la Rose, surveys some of the ways in which modern criticism has evaluated and conceived the genre of secular dream literature that developed from the Roman de la Rose. Chapter three examines the innovative use of the convention of beginning a poem with a seasonal opening and theorises that this becomes a `language' open to adaptation and variation. Chapter four looks in detail at Froissart's L`Orloge amoureus and discusses the clock as a new object which, contrary to the views of cultural historians, was embraced by medieval writers, religious and secular, to symbolise a range of virtues, qualities and ideas. I argue that the clock inspired creativity rather than heralding a rationalisation of the mind that would stifle imaginative responses to this new technology. Chapter five explores metafictional and self-reflexive devices in Froissart's Joli Buisson de Jonece and Chaucer's House of Fame. I consider how these texts play with narrative time and sequence by writing the genesis of the text into the poem. Finally, chapter six examines ideas of closure in medieval dream poetry and looks specifically at the reciprocity and inconclusiveness of the Judgement poems of Guillaume de Machaut. Because the second poem reverses the decision of the first poem, it brings into question the authority of the text and the unity of the authorial voice
    Date of Award2017
    Original languageEnglish


    • Civilization, Medieval, in literature
    • Dreams in literature
    • English poetry - Middle English, 1100-1500
    • Poetry - Psychological aspects

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