AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Kay Okay? A comparative analysis of two key characters in Middle Welsh and Old Norse heroic, chivalric and historiographic literature

by Roderick 1961- McDonald

Institution: University of Iceland
Year: 2016
Keywords: Norræn miðaldafræði; Miðaldabókmenntir; Ensk bókmenntasaga; Samanburðarbókmenntir; Artúrssögur
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2120647
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/24148


This thesis is concerned with characters and episodes in the medieval Arthurian tradition that appear in both Middle Welsh and Old Norse narratives, with a particular focus on the roles and characterisation of Cai and Bedwyr in the Welsh, and Kæi and Boðver/Bedondr in Old Norse. Their divergent characterisations are analysed as indicators of the different cultural, social and political issues influencing their characterisation. Only discrete examples of these characters taken from a small selection of texts are being examined closely. A number of noteworthy consistencies and variations are identified. In particular, the thesis identifies a typology of characterisations: the hero, the administrator and the prankster. By comparing the two figures in their different linguistic and cultural contexts this analysis reveals the extent to which such Arthurian narratives can be considered as malleable and reflecting the social and political circumstances in which they are produced.