Complex Identities

Kathy Lavezzo

in The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature in English

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199229123
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

 Complex Identities

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This article examines the complexities of medieval identity formation by surveying the depiction of Jews and Saracens in English texts produced throughout the medieval period from the time of Bede to the second half of the fifteenth century. It shows that there are many ways to approach productively the question of identity and medieval literature, and it is futile to posit any claims about a primary other during the period and suggests that the relationships between the selves and others imagined by medieval texts are far too multiple, fraught, and unstable. It explains how indispensable constructions of others are to notions of selfhood in the medieval West.

Keywords: identity formation; medieval period; English texts; Jews; Saracens; Bede; medieval West

Article.  11719 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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