LU British literature professor discusses medieval romance - My Clarion News: Arts

LU British literature professor discusses medieval romance

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Posted: Tuesday, February 12, 2019 7:21 pm

JEFFERSON CITY – On Tuesday Dr. Matthew McGraw, assistant professor of British Literature at Lincoln University, was the guest speaker for another installment of the Coffee Talk lecture series held monthly at Brew House Coffee on East McCarty Street.

McGraw presented “Knights, Kings & Their Things: Identity & Materiality in Medieval Romance,” a lecture demonstrating the subtext and similarities between knights’ tales and the modern day.

“What I’m really interested in was the way people talked about objects and what they mean,” said McGraw prior to the talk. “I’m going to talk about Sir. Gowen’s armor and what that means to his identity and what these stories really reveal about the ideas of knighthood and how people thought about their lives in relation to these heroic ideals.”

McGraw took the opportunity to speak to the audience about three medieval myths, each emphasizing a different idea relating to the story’s main character and the cultural beliefs of the time. The stories of Sir Gowen and the Green Knight, Sir. Launfal, and Sir Orfero were the tales that McGraw used to demonstrate his point. He noted that while these stories are reflections of the time period, they were also insights into the origins of the beliefs and attitudes of the 21st century.  

“I’m interested in the way that concepts of identity change over time,” McGraw said. “We find a lot of similarities among periods because people’s relationships have changed, their sources of identity have changed, but who we are as people has really remained fairly constant.”

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