Helen Fulton

Troy on the Margins

The Welsh Troy Story and the Middle English Seege or Batayle of Troye

Wednesday 6 April 2016 kl. 16.30
Oddi 101

Helen Fulton

The Trojan legend as it was recounted by Dares Phrygius was translated from Latin into Welsh on the border of Wales and England in the early fourteenth century. The Welsh prose version, Ystorya Dared, turns the Latin text into the discourse of medieval Welsh storytelling, domesticating the late-antique history into a naturalistic story of territorial warfare and the loss of sovereignty. At about the same time that Ystorya Dared was being written down, and in much the same area of the March of Wales, a medieval English poet was adapting the legend into a lively narrative of competition between feudal lords and urban gentry. In comparing the two versions of the legend as products of a border culture, this paper argues that the Welsh and English authors looked across the border from opposite sides, one from the viewpoint of a nation and the other from the viewpoint of a frontier city.

Helen Fulton is Professor of Medieval Literature at the University of Bristol, UK. Her research focuses on medieval English and Welsh literatures and how they can be read as expressions of political dynamics in and between the two countries. She has published on topics including Welsh court poetry, Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, the Trojan legend, political prophecy, and Arthurian literature. Her most recent edited collections are the Companion to Arthurian Literature, published by Blackwell in 2009, and Urban Culture in Medieval Wales, published by the University of Wales Press in 2012. She leads a research cluster at the University of Bristol on Borders and Borderlands and she is currently working on a collaborative project to study literary production and the transmission of books and manuscripts on the medieval March of Wales.