Remapping Insularity: Geographic Imagination in Medieval English Romance


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation argues that medieval English romances are a vital field for imagining the world, offering unique models for understanding places and the peoples who inhabit them. Focusing on formal elements like the naming of places, narrative perspective, and structural division, this project demonstrates that the geographies of romances, which can seem simplistic or merely fantastical, are, in fact, engines for spatial production, configuring the world to which they refer in readers’ minds. Through careful analysis of the virtual spaces generated by romances about the insular past, the project argues that medieval romances possess a special freedom to subdivide and array narrative spaces, enabling them to invent geographies and communities quite different from the seemingly stable categories of Britain or England.