Putting the pulp into fiction: the lump-child and its parents in <i>The King of Tars</i>

Jane Gilbert

in Pulp Fictions of Medieval England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780719063183
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700563 | DOI:
Putting the pulp into fiction: the lump-child and its parents in The King of Tars

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The central figure of the Middle English popular romance known as The King of Tars (hereafter KT) — a formless lump of flesh born instead of a child — defines a certain view of popular literature. The birth is an outrageously sensationalist event; the ideological message conveyed by its subsequent transformation into a human being through baptism is simplistic, vulgar and racist. This chapter concentrates on the treatment of the lump in order to show how its treatment throws into relief the different configurations of paternity and maternity, of gender roles and of religious politics put forward in a range of re-tellings.

Keywords: Middle English romance; popular literature; flesh lump; religious politics; gender roles

Chapter.  9158 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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