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p. 695. The mighty and the monstrouslocked

  • Elaine Treharne

Abstract

In medieval societies, religious and secular literature built communities by encouraging and persuading individuals to behave in certain ways, to absorb particular sets of knowledge, and to emulate similar ideals. What lay on the other side of the boundary of these laws resulted in ‘outlaws’, those who lived beyond order, the familiar, and known. In places inhabited by outlaws, or areas that were unmapped and uninhabited, there lay the dangers of the unknown and people, or things, or spaces that were out of control. ‘The mighty and the monstrous’ illustrates this concept with examples from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Apollonius of Tyre, and Beowulf.

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