By Elizabeth Fay
The Romantic interval used to be characterised through a brand new historic self-consciousness within which background, and specifically the medieval, turned a big display for comprehending the current. fresh Scholarship has proposed contending theories for knowing how the ancient is used to represent the political within the interval. Romantic Medievalism takes an unique place in offering a serious distinction in how the medieval was once used to interpret the current, arguing that, the place because the conservative writers pointed out with the knight of romance, radical writers pointed out with the troubadour of the courtly love lyric.
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Extra resources for Romantic Medievalism: History and the Romantic Literary Ideal
18 Geraldine that Christabel discovers in the wood. The problem with Geraldine's whiteness, the sign of her status as damsel in distress, is enough to make the speaker interrupt, and in such a way as to raise questions about Geraldine's ontological status: `I guess, 'twas frightful there to see/A lady so richly clad as she' (66±7). 19 All representatives of medieval power are displaced: the knight-lover or poet-lover of the troubadour scenario is signally missing; the poet, Bard Bracy, is ineffectual; and the only knight present, Sir Leoline, protects neither the lady in his charge nor his daughter, and does not distinguish between apparent and real virtue.
Conder's elucidation of part 2 of the poem is also helpful. Unlike the Critical Review, which described both Christabel and Geraldine as `exquisite', the revelation of Geraldine's real nature as `gradual and beautiful', and Christabel's sight of Geraldine's body as hidden `by a poetical and most judicious abruption' (Hayden, Romantic Bards 140), Conder's description of Geraldine is confined to her magical powers which are `hideous' and `false'. Moreover, her `hideous spell' is implicitly compared to Coleridge's own act of imagination in the poem: It appears to consist in the strange and terrible power of so working on the sympathy, as to make its victim passively conform itself to the impression made on the external senses, and by this means the framer of the spell is represented as exchanging both feeling and expression with the unhappy subject of her perfidious and refined sorcery .
23 These liminal sites displace the bower in this poem, shifting the troubadourian tensions delicately played in the two prior bower poems so that here they destabilize both space and time. The effect is to open up the potential of a medievalized imaginary, to taste the power of a female poetry even while it is corrupted by the male poetry of Bracy's negating `strange' vision. com - licensed to Universitetsbiblioteket i Tromsoe - PalgraveConnect - 2011-03-08 44 Romantic Medievalism 45 ence: it is unclear whether Christabel will suffer or benefit from knowing Geraldine intimately, or whether the speaker (unlike the courtly poet Bracy) will find this intimacy imaginatively productive.
Romantic Medievalism: History and the Romantic Literary Ideal by Elizabeth Fay