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Genus and Genre: The Old French Verse Roman d'Alexandre, Alexander and Dindimus, and MS Bodl. 264

Gilbert, JL; (2015) Genus and Genre: The Old French Verse Roman d'Alexandre, Alexander and Dindimus, and MS Bodl. 264. Exemplaria: a journal of theory in medieval and Renaissance studies , 47 (1-2) 110 - 128. 10.1179/1041257315Z.00000000067. Green open access

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Abstract

This essay argues that genres as positive entities are fantasies that texts project, and proposes to study how such projection occurs. Drawing on Derrida’s account of genre as law, it explores how Agamben’s work on genus might extend into poetics. Through content, form, and treatment of the philosophical question of the limits of human being, three medieval artefacts, each foregrounding Alexander the Great, position themselves relative to law, and therefore to genre. By invoking two genres (roman antique and chanson de geste) without conforming to either, the Old French Roman d’Alexandre carves out a position at once subject to and exempted from the law. Contrastingly, the Middle English Alexander and Dindimus claims exemplary obedience to the law as the perfect alliterative debate poem. Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Bodl. 264, treats Alexander and Dindimus as an interpolation completing the Roman d’Alexandre, adding a French prose Marco Polo and a program of illustrations. Bodl. 264 presents itself as supplementing the law when it overrides textual, formal, and linguistic boundaries in the name of Christian expansionism. In each artefact, relations to poetic laws interact with political and philosophical stances, inviting different audience responses.

Type: Article
Title: Genus and Genre: The Old French Verse Roman d'Alexandre, Alexander and Dindimus, and MS Bodl. 264
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1179/1041257315Z.00000000067
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1041257315Z.00000000067
Language: English
Additional information: © W. S. Maney & Son Ltd 2015
Keywords: Roman d’Alexandre, Alexander and Dindimus, manuscript context, Derrida, Agamben, law, the open
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > SELCS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1463518
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