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Beatrice Mameli Wild Men and Wild Knights Hans Burgkmair, The Fight in the Forest, 15 th century.

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Presentation on theme: "Beatrice Mameli Wild Men and Wild Knights Hans Burgkmair, The Fight in the Forest, 15 th century."— Presentation transcript:

1 Beatrice Mameli Wild Men and Wild Knights Hans Burgkmair, The Fight in the Forest, 15 th century

2 The Myth of the Wild Man: Main Characteristics Homo selvaticus/ (M.E.) woodwose/wodewose The wild man is an outsider He does not know/accept the rules and conventions of civilised society He (sometimes) has magic powers. Albrecht Dürer, Coat of Arms, 1499

3 The Myth of the Wild Man: Some Examples Enkidu (Gilgamesh Saga) Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:22) Silvanus John the Baptist

4 Different Types of Wild Man Penelope B. Doob, Nebuchadnezzar's Children: Conventions of Madness in Middle English Literature Holy wild man: positive figure, voluntary retirement from the temptations of the world (=hermit) Unholy wild man: negative figure, exclusion from civilised society

5 The Wild Man in the Middle Ages literature/art/folklore/heraldry generally ugly, hairy, aggressive and not capable of controlling his instincts He generally fights with a club Merlin And [Merlin] was blakke and rough forrympled, and longe berde, and barfoote, and clothed in a rough pilche. And so he com to the fier theras the flesshe was rosted. And whan the boy saugh hym come, he was so aferde that he fledde nygh out of his witte. And he thus com to the fier and began to chacce and frote aboute the fier, and saugh the mete, and than loked all aboute hym, and began to rore lowed as a man wood oute of mynde, and than behilde and saugh the cloth spredde and soche mete theron as ye have herde. And after he behielde towarde the fier and saugh the flesshe that the knave hadde rosted that was tho inough, and raced it of with his hondes madly, and rente it asonder in peces, and wette it in mylke and after in the hony, and ete as a wood man that nought ther lefte of the flesh. (Prose Merlin, The Tale of Grisandole) []

6 The Wild Man in Medieval Romance I saw sone whare a man sat/On a lawnd, the fowlest wight/That ever yit man saw in syght./He was a lathly creature,/For fowl he was out of mesure;/A wonder mace in hand he hade,/And sone mi way to him I made./His hevyd, me thoght, was als grete/Als of a rowncy or a nete;/Unto his belt hang his hare,/And efter that byheld I mare./To his forhede byheld I than,/Was bradder than twa large span;/He had eres als ane olyfant/And was wele more than geant./His face was ful brade and flat;/His nese was cutted als a cat;/His browes war like litel buskes;/And his tethe like bare tuskes./A ful grete bulge opon his bak -/Thare was noght made withowten lac./His chin was fast until his brest;/On his mace he gan him rest./Also it was a wonder wede,/That the cherle yn gede;/Nowther of wol ne of line/Was the wede that he went yn./[…] 'What ertow, belamy?'/He said ogain, 'I am a man.'/I said, 'Swilk saw I never nane. (Ywain and Gawain, lines 244-270; 278- 280) []

7 The Wild Man in Medieval Romance Roman d'Alexandre Giant Herdsman (Le Chevalier au Lion Ywain and Gawain/ Owain or the Lady of the Fountain) Sir Orfeo (holy wild man) Smithfield Decretals, Sir Enyas and the ungrateful lady The Green Knight + woodwose (Sir Gawain and the Green Knight) rapist woodwose (Sir Enyas; only illuminations survive) Mad knights

8 The Wild Madness of the Knight: Characteristics Wild environment Different diet Improper clothing Aggressiveness Rothschild Canticles, 14 th century

9 Some Wild Madmen Merlin (Geoffrey of Monmouth, Vita Merlini, ab. 1150) [Cù Chulainn (Serglige Con Culainn in Lebor na hUidre; (12 th century)] Ywain (Yvain ou le Chevalier au Lion, ab. 1176; Ywain and Gawain; early 14 th century) Tristan (Prose Tristan, 1230-1235); Le Morte d'Arthur; before 1485) Lancelot ( Vulgate- Cycle, 13 th century; Post-Vulgate, 1230 – 1240; Prose Tristan, 1230-1235; Le Morte d'Arthur, before 1485) Partonope ( Partonopeus de Blois,13 th century; Partonope of Blois, before 1450)

10 Matto le Breune (Prose Tristan, 1230-1235; Le Morte d'Arthur; before 1485) [Beritola (Decameron, 1349 – 1351)] Ysaÿe (Ysaÿe le Triste, 15 th century) French Casket (British Museum), 14 th century,

11 The Wild Environment Characterisation of the madness Forest vs court (=civilisation) Freedom from rules of society Setting for a quest (but only for the other knights)

12 Food Roots and berries and (only in some cases) raw meat Wild food vs civilisation Not religious fasting Unusual detail Possible meanings: Loss of social status (association with the fool) Appetite/nutrition/ madness strictly related

13 Clothing The knight is generally naked or dressed only in 'shurte and breke' Renunciation to civilisation Renunciation to status (no armour) Incognito Nakedness associated with madness Association with the fool

14 The wild man and the wild knight One does not necessarily derive from another (wild knight human; wild man not always certain) Common characteristics Both quite popular wode wood/mad Explicit influence: Owein hairy body Partonope of Blois Partanope hath now forsake The wod wons/wodwose lyfe (Partonope of Blois, lines 4736-37)

15 Bibliography Benson, Larry D., Art and Tradition in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, New Brunswick: Rutgers Univ. Press, 1965. Bernheimer, Wild men in the middle ages, New York: Octagon Books, 1979. Chakravarti, Paromita, Natural fools and the historiography of Renaissance folly, Renaissance Studies, 25, April 2011, pp. 208-227. Doob, Penelope B. R., Nebuchadnezzars Children: Conventions of Madness in Middle English Literature, New Heaven: Yale University Press, 1974. Dooley, Carol Elaine. Artegall as salvage knight: use of the medieval wild man tradition in Books III and IV of 'The Faerie Queene' in Richardson, David A. (ed.), Spenser and the Middle Ages: proceedings from a special session at the eleventh Conference on Medieval Studies, Cleveland: Kalamazoo, 1976. pp. 121-34. Eisenbichler, Konrad, H ȕ sken, Wim(eds.), Carnival and the Carnivalesque: the Fool, the Reformer, the Wildman, and Others in Early Modern Theatre, Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999. Husband, Timothy, The wild man: Medieval Myth and Symbolism, Catalogue of an exhibition held at the Cloisters, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1980. Lea, Anne E., "Lleu Wyllt: An Early British Prototype of the Legend of the Wild Man?" in Journal of Indo-European Studies, (25), Spring-Summer 1997, pp. 35-47.

16 Pounds, N. J. G., A History of the English Parish, The Culture of Religion from Augustine to Victoria, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. Saunders, Corinne J., The Forest of Medieval Romance, Cambridge: D.S. Brewer 1993. Sprunger, David A., "Wild Folk and Lunatics in Medieval Romance," in Salisbury, Joyce E., The Medieval World of Nature: A Book of Essays, New York: Garland, 1993. Yamamoto, Dorothy, The boundaries of the human in medieval literature, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000. Wolfthal, Diane, A Hue and a Cry: Medieval Rape Imagery and Its Transformation in Art Bulletin (75), 1993, pp. 39-64.

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