Magic and identity in older Scots romance

by Ruth Helen Caddick

Institution: University of Birmingham
Department: Department of English
Year: 2015
Keywords: D111 Medieval History; DA Great Britain; PR English literature
Record ID: 1393026
Full text PDF: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/5655/


Magic and the supernatural are widely recognised as key motifs of the medieval romance genre, yet thus far almost no scholarly attention has been given to their roles in the Older Scots romances of the fifteenth- and sixteenth-centuries. This thesis seeks to redress this critical neglect, contextualising itself within the emerging field of Older Scots romance studies and building upon previous investigations of the supernatural within medieval romance. I argue throughout this thesis that magic and the supernatural in Older Scots romance are intrinsically linked to the development of identity, and that different aspects of the supernatural, from the prophetic to the faerie to the demonic, affect identity in different ways. Furthermore, this thesis demonstrates that in linking the concept of identity with magical and supernatural events, Older Scots romances engage with the themes of kingship and good governance that are essential to Older Scots literature more widely, marking these romances as a corpus of texts which show a distinctively Scottish response to magic and the supernatural.