AuthorWilliam Shakespeare
TimeBetween 1599 and 1601
LanguageEarly Modern English
Featured In
Death, Mourning and Memory in Medieval Literature (YHU3345)

The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, or quite simply, Hamlet, is William Shakespeare’s longest play and one of his most famous tragedies, written between 1599 and 1601. Set in Denmark just as the medieval world began to transition to the Renaissance period, the play spans five acts, comprising seven soliloquies and 4000 over lines that cleverly place thematic extremes –  for instance, madness and sanity, love and hate, life and death – on both sides of the same coin. Such deliberation over the human condition at once provides insights into the circumstances of its time and imbues the play with a timeless quality, generously allowing for continued retelling and recontextualization. 


Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus and the Ghost (Shakespeare, Hamlet, Act 1, Scene 4), engraved by Robert Thew after Henry Fuseli’s conception, stipple engraving, first published 1796. From The Met Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Hamlet, distilled down to the mere unfolding of its plot, tells of Prince Hamlet’s revenge against King Claudius, Hamlet’s uncle, after learning from the ghost of Old King Hamlet that Claudius had murdered the Old King Hamlet in pursuit of “[his] crown, [his] own ambition, and [his] queen” (Act 3 Scene 3, line 55). Duty bound by the ghost’s demand to be avenged, the shaken Prince seeks to verify the ghost’s words, and thereby the presence of a supernatural being, as part of his plan for revenge by putting on an “antic disposition” (Act 1 Scene 5, line 179). Though Hamlet’s subsequent act of madness and erratic behavior – as observed by Ophelia, Hamlet’s love interest, and later reported to her father, Polonius – is initially thought of as a result of distress and grief over his father’s death, Claudius soon becomes suspicious, and observes as Hamlet wittingly deflects Polonius, Ophelia, and his friends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Upon learning of the acting troupe brought in by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Hamlet stages The Murder of Gonzago, The Mousetrap’ that reveals, to both Hamlet and the audience, Claudius’s guilty conscience. 

Gertrude, the Queen, summons Hamlet to her chambers for an explanation as to Hamlet’s offending of Claudius. On the way to her chambers, Hamlet stumbles upon Claudius and, seeing Claudius praying, chooses to withhold his murderous intent for fear that killing Claudius then would send him to Heaven whilst Old King Hamlet stays in Purgatory. In Gertrude’s chambers, Hamlet confronts his mother with her incestuous deed and the truth of Old King Hamlet’s death. The spying Polonius behind the curtains, thinking Hamlet will kill his mother, calls for help, and is promptly stabbed by Hamlet, who believes Claudius to be in the chambers and who proceeds to audaciously insult Gertrude for her ignorance of Claudius’s depravity. The ghost then appears only to Hamlet to berate him for his inaction and his harsh words while Gertrude, only witnessing Hamlet’s fear, believes her son to be mad. 

The Death of Hamlet, by Eugène Delacroix and Villain, lithograph, 1843. From The Met Collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

The simultaneous occurrence of Polonius’s death and Hamlet’s slipping control over his sanity brings about a series of deaths in the remaining half of the play. Ophelia, upon learning of her father’s death, becomes mad with grief and drowns (accidental, or otherwise), causing Laertes much grief. His thirst for vengeance leads him to go along with Claudius’s suggestion to engage in a fencing match with Hamlet using a poison-tipped foil and, if Hamlet wins, to offer a glass of poisoned wine as congratulations. The plan goes terribly awry – Gertrude drinks the poisoned wine as a toast to Hamlet’s initial wins, and though Laertes manages to injure Hamlet as planned, Hamlet wounds Laertes too with the poisoned foil. As Laertes lies dying, he exposes Claudius’s plan, prompting Hamlet to kill Claudius. The play ends with Hamlet begging Horatio not to commit suicide and to tell his story as Fortinbras marches through, taking the crown for himself and ordering a military funeral in honour of Hamlet.


Reading Hamlet’s whirlwind of a trajectory as the above summary has done so leaves one bewildered by the many inconsistencies and discontinuities that would appear, at times, irrational if not for Hamlet’s soliloquies. Each of the seven soliloquy expresses Hamlet’s inner psyche at various stages of the play’s development, as Hamlet mourns for and struggles to comprehend the loss of his father that has been complicated and made ambiguous by the ghost, whose presence, claim of murder, and dwelling in purgatory entirely destablize Hamlet’s Protestant beliefs and understanding of reality. Finding himself caught in an aporia, he exclaims to Horatio: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,//Than are dreamt of in our philosophy” (Act 1 Scene 5, lines 174 – 75, emphasize mine). While mourning is a transitive process when loss is definitive and comprehensible, Hamlet’s enigmatic loss causes him to remain in an intransitive state of mourning,1 which he describes to be like a “heartache, and the thousand natural shocks//That flesh is heir to”—for, as he confesses to Horatio, “in [his] heart there was a kind of fighting//That would not let [him] sleep” (Act 5 Scene II, line 4). Hamlet’s bodily description of his conscious faculty – the repeated motif of his “heart,” reference to the “flesh” and his insomnia – presents his intransitive state of mourning to be that of a melancholic2 disposition that infects his soliloquies3. In his fourth soliloquy4, he laments: 

To be or not to be, that is the question: 
… To die – to sleep,
No more; and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache, and the thousand natural shocks 
That flesh is heir to: ‘tis a consummation 
Devoutly to be wished: to die, to sleep.
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there’s the rub; 
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come, 
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, 
Must give us pause
(Act 3 Scene I, lines 57-65, emphasis mine)

Hamlet’s repetition of the words “die (death)”, “sleep” and “dream” in a fervent attempt to draw connections between these notions expresses his struggle to comprehend the mortal condition. Upon suggesting that death is a kind of “sleep” that would forebode unknown “dreams,” Hamlet concludes that it is the feared possibility of “dreams,” of the afterlife that causes a “pause,” an inability (or refusal) to make peace with death. The conclusion of this fear, as hinted by his metaphorical reference to the afterlife as an “undiscovered country” later in this soliloquy (Act 3 Scene I, line 80), is very much born out of his attempt at registering the presence of the ghost that reveals the political corruption in Denmark. Hamlet’s lengthy soliloquizing, then, as both a result of and a cause of his melancholia, not only pushes the physical and temporal boundaries of the stage and provides insights into his psychological state, but also shows how Renaissance thought is motivated by the age that precedes it. 

Hamlet’s pause caused by his struggle to comprehend death and the afterlife also effectively prepares the audience for the chain of unnatural deaths that will occur later in Act 5, seemingly perpetuated by an unknown force. As the play develops, Hamlet’s mulling over of divine justice and retribution almost writes itself, with deaths happening spontaneously in a reversal of fortune, as my classmates and I had (mirthfully) concluded below: 

Missing above is Hamlet’s causing of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern’s deaths, as well as the soldiers’ deaths at the battlefield that went unaccounted for.

Most of the characters’ deaths are unwittingly a result of their misdoings, suggesting the capricious Rota Fortunae5, the Fortune’s Wheel which the goddess Fortuna spins at random, changing the position of those on the Wheel. The medieval and Renaissance period saw the use of the wheel in the “Mirrors for Princes,” a popular genre of writing that sets out advice for the ruling classes on the wielding of power, shifting the Wheel from the Goddess to the hands of humans. For Prince Hamlet, figures of philosophy like Fortune are not personified as divine guides, but rather figuratively addressed: 

A man that Fortune’s buffets and rewards 
Hath ta’en with equal thanks; and blest are those 
Whose blood and judgement are so well commingled 
That they are not a pipe for Fortune’s finger 
To sound what she please. (Act 3 Scene II, lines 62 – 66) 

Here, Hamlet likens Fortune’s control over humans’ “buffets and rewards” to that of a musician playing a pipe, and suggests that humans’ ability to reason and judge frees us from becoming Fortune’s fool. As Hamlet later exclaims, “Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me” (Act 3 Scene II, lines 353 – 354), seeing Fortune as the mere making of human manipulation, and perceiving himself to be above that. Yet Hamlet himself is also manipulated, as his effort to serve divine retribution (his revenge that results in Ophelia’s undeserving death) in turn provokes Laertes’ desire for revenge against Hamlet: 

Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well 
When our dear plots do pall; and that should teach us 
There’s a divinity that shapes our ends, 
Rough-hew them how we will – (Act 5 Scene II, lines 8 – 10) 

Print depicting the Wheel of Fortune, engraved by Martin Rota, 1572.

Whether it is the inevitable submission to the whims of Fortune6 (whereby death is the divine retribution for having sinned, prior to repercussions in the afterlife) or undeserving deaths as a result of human folly (Ophelia’s death, as well as that of Rosencrantz, Guildenstern and the soldiers involved in the war between Denmark and Norway), Hamlet addresses the limitations of letting “your own discretion be your tutor,” wherein our moments of irrationality, although beyond our control, are also part of what “shapes our ends”. Through Hamlet’s consciousness, then, Hamlet goes beyond the singular focus of a revenge tragedy plot to consider the vicious cycle of revenge that interweaves the characters’ (including the barely mentioned soldiers) fate, exposing human reasoning as limited by the human condition which, in effect, presents the dichotomies7 of Renaissance thought. 

Indeed, Hamlet’s focus on the individual’s mourning and their positioning in a complex web of human relations allows us to better comprehend the occurrence of mass deaths that often ironically evade our empathy and ability to fully register the gravity of our loss. Hamlet’s continued use of the collective pronoun “we” and “us” in his soliloquies (and his addressing of Horatio) includes the audience, extending the ‘pause’ beyond himself which makes room for “commentary and reflection instead of narration” (Genette Gerard, Narrative Discourse 36). Through the experience of mourning, insights on death very much inform life, for the play, “despite its concerns with death, is bursting with life” (General Introduction 29). With Hamlet’s eventual acceptance – “since no man knows aught of what he leaves, what is’t to leave betimes? Let be.” (Act 5 Scene II, lines 169-170), one is prompted to accept the dramatic portrayal of sentiments – excessive fear, anger, love and hate, mourning and mirth – and failings that are only human, as a form of peace-making with death. 


1 Mourning as a response to loss can be transitive and intransitive (“mourn, v.1”). 

2 According to Robert Burton in The Anatomy of Melancholia (1883), melancholia is a disposition as much as it is a ‘habit’; in other words, melancholia is an affect that is “an act of Mortality” that manifests as a treatable physical “settled humour” of black bile (93). Hamlet is also described as cloaked in black (Act 1 Scene II, line 77) and he confesses to have already “lost all of [his] mirth, forgone all custom of exercise” (Act 2 Scene II, line 294), both of which are also symptoms of melancholia.

3 Here I refer to his soliloquies that come after his meeting with the ghost. 

4 For the purpose of this essay, I focused largely on the fourth soliloquy, for it is in Act 3 where Hamlet is most unsettled, having confirmed the presence of the ghost. 

5 The Rota Rotunae was greatly popularized for the Middle Ages by its extended treatment in Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, and was widely used as an allegory in medieval literature and art to aid religious instruction.

6 Charles M. Radding states in his article ‘Fortune and her Wheel: The Meaning of a Medieval Symbol’:“If the popularity of Fortune in the central Middle Ages does not reflect a new social reality, then it is likely that it was meant to suggest [that] the operation of a force distinct from necessity and also (one might add) from divine justice… the meaning of the Wheel of Fortune is thus quite general: that everyone in human society is subject to the whims of Fortune, that not all of the world’s gifts or the world’s tragedies are deserved” (133). 

7 That is, the extremes of reasoning and faith. The opposing ends of Renaissance thought presents either an entire lack of faith in the divine (as proposed by the philosopher Edward Herbert of Cherbury) or, according to Blaise Pascal, total disbelief in the human ability to understand the world with certainty (Fieser). 


Burton, Robert. The Anatomy of Melancholy. Claxton & Co. 1883. Internet Archive, urn:oclc:record:1039522579

Fieser, James. “Renaissance and Early Modern Philosophy.”  The History of Philosophy: A Short Survey, 2020, https://www.utm.edu/staff/jfieser/class/110/6-renaissance.htm 

Genette, Gerard. Narrative Discourse: An Essay in Method. Translated by Jane E. Lewin, Cornell UP, 1980 

Radding, Charles M. “Fortune and Her Wheel: The Meaning of a Medieval Symbol.” Mediaevistik, vol. 5, Peter Lang AG, 1992, pp. 127–38, http://www.jstor.org/stable/42584434.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Bloomsbury Arden, 2016. 

“mourn, v.1.” OED Online, Oxford UP, March 2021, www.oed.com/viewdictionaryentry/Entry/11125. Accessed 5 March 2022. 


The following creative projects, produced for the course on Death, Mourning and Memory in Medieval Literature, offer further perspectives and insights on Hamlet and its thematic concerns:


[Featured Image & Fig. 1] http://www.strangehistory.net/2014/11/17/daily-history-picture-playing-medieval-chess/

[Fig. 2] https://www.gla.ac.uk/myglasgow/library/files/special/exhibns/chaucer/works.html

[Fig. 3] https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection/object/P_1873-0809-801


A True and Historical Relation of a Man that was Half an Animal, and an Animal that was Half a Man, who was Chased Away by the Holy Men of this City of Manila: As Told by Andrés Gómez


A True and Historical Relation of a Man that was Half an Animal, and an Animal that was Half a Man, who was Chased Away by the Holy Men of this City of Manilai: As Told by Andrés Gómezii
Literary Art
An Interpretation of The Writings of Gerald of Wales
Real and Imagined Animals in Medieval Literature (YHU2330)

In the closing days of the last year, being the year 1623 of our Lord, a truly strange event occurred in this city. Reports of a strange and fearsome creature appearing in the forest began circulating in the markets. It was unlike anything we had ever seen before. Half-man, half-beast, it was a terrifying sight that filled us all with unease. Some described it as having the horns of a goat, with the strength and claws of a lion, but having a face of an Indian and walking upright like a man.iii The creature was, of course, a sign of impending doom and misfortune. That it appeared is no wonder, for we are surrounded by heathens, from the Mohammedans to the Protestant heretics.iv Its presence was surely a test from God, a test of our faith and loyalty to Him.

The creature, not content with putrefying the forests near our city, began to wander closer by. We began to see this creature on the outskirts of town, where the Chinese lived and farmed.v It was then that we began to worry with seriousness. Several people from the town appeared before me, requesting my help and advice. I told them that it was sin that brought this great evil upon our doorstep. It is no wonder that they appeared within the ranks of the Chinese first. After all, it was they who brought their idols onto our shores. Worryingly, several of the townspeople told me it appeared as if the creature began fraternizing with some of the townsfolk. As it became more and more entrenched in our society, I prepared to see for myself this debased creature.

However, the creature would elude me. Time and time again, when I would try to weed out this beast-man, it would go into hiding, no doubt returning to the Chinese who were unfriendly to priests or to the depths of the forest. Yet its influence continued to grow. I feared it was only a matter of time before it struck, having made some of the townspeople warm up to him. Things became unbearable when a young Christian boy lay dead a month after the creature’s arrival, his blood drained in an obvious ritual.vi With this in mind, I wrote to the Inquisition Commissar don Francisco de Estrada y Escovedo. It was my hope that the creature might be brought to trial in Mexico, where the Inquisition’s headquarters in his Majesty’s colonies were.vii By the Grace of God, he agreed with me and promised to lead a city-wide hunt for it the following year.

On one quiet night with no moonlight, forty armed friars and many soldiers accompanied don Francisco and I to find the creature.viii After several hours of ransacking homes and rounding up conspirators, I heard some shouting and a shot of musket from several houses down the street from where I was. Soon, a soldier by the name of Pedro ran to us. His breastplate of steel was scratched deeply by three claws. The creature, said Pedro, was trying to suck the blood out of him. But by God’s grace, he escaped death by firing a shot from his musket. The creature, scared by this foreign noise, ran off into the darkness. Nevertheless, the shot hit one of the creature’s horns. Shards of bone lay in the house in which Pedro had met the creature. Don Francisco and I decided that this was enough proof that it existed and was a clear threat to the sanctity of our city.

We returned to the town square where we had rounded up about thirty who conspired with the creature, helping him to enter our city. The person whose house we found the creature in, one mestizo called de Castro, was promptly taken away to the dungeons, where he remains today, awaiting his transportation to Mexico where he will face trial.ix We threatened the rest with banishment. Most immediately repented when we showed them the shards of horn that we had gathered from Pedro’s shot. They cited the magic that was cast upon them, which made the creature present itself as a normal man. We let those go, with a warning and a probation period in which they were to report to me weekly at the church.x

However, there was a strange man with a wild appearance who stood defiantly in our presence. Hateful words spewed out of his bearded mouth, and he said that we may have destroyed the creature, but not what it stood for, for that can never be replied. Before I could question him, however, don Francisco ordered a soldier to take him away in chains. When I had asked don Francisco the next day his thoughts on the man, he said that the ramblings of a wild man should not be heard by the good population of the city.xi

Thus ends this strange relation of a half-creature, and half-man. But let us not forget the lesson that this creature has taught us. It is a reminder of the dangers of sin and the influence of the heathens among us. May God have mercy on de Castro, who conspired with the beast, and for the wild man who dared to speak against the holy men of the Inquisition. May this city of Manila be spared from further trials and tribulations, and that it continues to thrive under the protection of God.xii

Author’s Remarks

The short story is inspired by several themes: Gerard of Wales’ short tale of the hybrid men, the anxiety faced by early modern Spanish religious authorities in Manila, the evolution of the European relationship with nature, and the writing style of Succeso Raro de Tres Volcanes. The outline of the story is inspired by Gerard of Wales’ short tale of the hybrid men in Book II of The History and Topography of Ireland. I attempt to complicate the murderous paranoia of the Irish towards the ox-man in Gerard of Wales’ story by exploring a similar anxiety demonstrated by the early modern Spanish religious authorities in Manila. This short story also explores the evolution of the European relationship with nature from the medieval to the early modern period. Finally, the story takes on the writing style of Succeso Raro de Tres Volcanes, an early modern relation of a strange event where three volcanoes erupted in one day in the mid-17th century Philippines. Several other inspirations––some minor––are cited in the text, where they are most applicable.

Spanish Manila is a suitable setting for the story due to its history of religious homogeneity, suspicion towards new converts, and encounters with non-Catholic societies. In 1492, Catholic Spain ended Muslim Granada’s rule after centuries of intermittent wars known as the Reconquista, freeing the peninsula of Muslim polities for the first time in over 700 years.xiii When they encountered Islam once more in their colonial ventures in places like Ternate (to the south of Manila), these Muslim societies were considered naturally hostile, despite having evolved independently of any Catholic disputes.xiv This meant that there was an “other” that could be mapped to the first man-animal hybrid­­––who was killed by the Irish––described by Gerard of Wales.

In describing my hybrid, I also adopt the medieval/early modern pattern of painting the other as less than human. Gerard of Wales writes of another ox-man: “It spent nearly a year with the other calves following its mother and feeding on her milk, and then, because it had more of the man than the beast, was transferred to the society of men.”xv Here, Gerald of Wales portrays a hierarchy placing humanity at the top––if one were to be deemed enough of a man, he was to be welcomed into human society. Similarly, the hybrid man in my fictional story only truly faced trouble when he crossed that line into human society. More alarming is the killing of a Christian boy a month after its arrival. This is inspired by a common trope in medieval Christian propaganda against Jewish people living in Christian polities. In medieval Europe, two main anti-Jewish accusations were ritual murder and desecration of the host. These revolved around young boys, which often manifested in the ritual murder libel stating that the Jews of a certain area had killed a young Christian boy in their community.xvi These accusations would persist beyond the medieval era, finding their way into 18th-century European discourse. 

It is for this reason that I deliberately did not ascertain whether the animal hybrid actually existed in my fictional piece, unlike Gerard of Wales in his story. After all, the shards of bone could very well have been from broken leftovers, and Spanish arms were more than potent enough to damage armour. Many of the ‘stories’ involving ritualistic killings mentioned earlier were fabricated, and I wanted to convey the paranoia surrounding a larger-than-life outsider in my story. It is also for this reason that the main ‘conspirator’ was a mestizo––those who were of mixed heritage were seen as suspicious. In fact, de Castro was a real person of mixed descent who was eventually condemned by the Inquisition.xvii I wished to maintain the suspense through having an unreliable narrator in André Gómez (whose name I also borrowed from a Inquisitorial notary who handled de Castro’s trial in 1625).xviii

While the elusive main character of my story has similarities with Gerald of Wales’ ox-man who was killed, the narrator in my story treats the hybrid very differently from Gerald of Wales. When speaking of the ox-man’s death at the hands of the Irish, Gerald writes that “[they] secretly killed him in the end in envy and malice – a fate which he did not deserve.”xix The narrator of my story does not extend such grace and mercy to our hybrid. Instead, it is seen as a corrupting force, brought upon as a plague due to their being surrounded by heretics and idolaters. Apart from serving as an analogy to crypto-Muslims and crypto-Jews, the story also shows an evolving attitude to nature. While Gerald of Wales describes his ox-man using the pronoun ‘him’, the narrator of my story consistently uses ‘it’. The colonial project, amongst many other things, was integral to the beginning of the idea of nature as factories to be exploited.xx Within this colonial psyche, animals were to be exploited and made subservient to humans, whose destiny was to master and tame the natural world. There is less space for grace towards a being that defied that clear distinction between human and animal––the master and the subjugated.

The inclusion of the wild man as a last vestige of a forgone age is inspired by Chrétien de Troyes’ romance Yvain and represents the repression and effacement of popular culture. Yvain learns to respect the wild man, who proclaims he is “nothing but [him]self,” and through his choosing of living in the wild, defies social conventions of the time.xxi However, instead of earning a begrudging respect, the wild man in this tale is taken away when he voices his opinion freely and defiantly. Taken away by the Inquisition, the wild man is a symbol of what historian Carlo Ginzburg calls repression and effacement of popular culture.”xxii

These themes are all brought together in the writings of a holy man. The text that the story borrows from stylistically, Succeso Raro de Tres Volcanes, levels blame upon an insufficiently pious population for the disasters that befell the Philippines in the mid-17th century. Similarly, it is under the guise of religious piety and conformation for salvation that, ironically, meant a lesser tolerance for grace towards the now-subservient subjects of nature.

In conclusion, this story hopes to deepen the treatment of the hybrid character as found in Book II of Gerard of Wales’ The History and Topography of Ireland. The different treatment of the two different hybrids speaks to an evolution in human attitudes towards nature, from one more open to cohabitation to one more exclusive and dominant. Through keeping the identity of the hybrid secret, I aim to represent the confusion and paranoia surrounding outsiders in the early modern Spanish empire. However, this confusion––as the Irish natives in Gerard of Wales’ account––would result in violence. The main difference between mine and Gerard of Wales’ treatment of hybrids, however, is that my hybrid may not have existed in the story at all. That, to my narrator, is not important––what is important is that the sins of the townsfolk are cleansed so the abomination against nature and mankind, which signifies sin, cannot penetrate society again.


i Gerard of Wales, The History and Topography of Ireland. Translated and edited by J. O’Meara (Penguin Publishing Group, 1983), 73.

ii Name taken from an Inquisition trial. See Ryan Dominic Crewe, A Moluccan Crypto-Muslim before the Transpacific Inquisition (1623–1645) in The Spanish Pacific, 1521-1815: A Reader of Primary Sources, ed. Lee Christina Hyo Jung, Ricardo Padrón (Amsterdam University Press, 2020), pp. 171-187.

iii Inspiration drawn from the Chimera description of Thomas de Cantimpré, Liber de natura rerum, Quadrupeds 4.23. Accessed on https://bestiary.ca/beasts/beastsource107209.htm

iv See Joseph Fayol, “Affairs in Filipinas, 1644-1647,” 1647, BR 35: 272.

v Charles J. McCarthy, “Slaughter of Sangleys in 1639,” Philippine Studies 18, no. 3 (1970): 659.

vi E. Carlebach, Divided Souls: Converts from Judaism in Germany, 1500-1750 (Yale University Press, 2008), 141.

vii Charles H. Cunningham, “The Inquisition in the Philippines: The Salcedo Affair,” The Catholic Historical Review 3, no. 4 (1918): 419.

viii Cunningham, 426.

ix Ryan Dominic Crewe, A Moluccan Crypto-Muslim before the Transpacific Inquisition (1623–1645), 185-186.

x Ryan Dominic Crewe, A Moluccan Crypto-Muslim before the Transpacific Inquisition (1623–1645), 180.

xi Sara T Nalle, “Insanity and the Insanity Defense in the Spanish Inquisition,” 1992.

xii Raymundo Magisa, Succeso Raro de Tres Volcanes, Dos de Fuego, y Uno de Agua, Que Rebentaron a 4 de Enero Deste Año de 641 a vn Mismo Tiempo En Diferentes Partes de Estas Islas Filipinas Con Grande Estruendo Por Los Ayres Como de Artillería, y Mosqueteria (Manila: Por Raymundo Magisa, 1641).

xiii Ethan Hawkley, Reviving the Reconquista in Southeast Asia: Moros and the Making of the Philippines, 1565–1662 in Journal of World History 25, no. 2-3 (2014): 286.

xiv Ethan Hawkley, Reviving the Reconquista in Southeast Asia, 287.

xv Gerard of Wales, The History and Topography of Ireland, 74.

xvi Carlebach, Divided Souls: Converts from Judaism in Germany, 1500-1750, 141.

xvii De Castro was not an innocent victim, and he was reported to the inquisition by his wife in part due to sexual transgressions including rape. See Ryan Dominic Crewe, A Moluccan Crypto-Muslim before the Transpacific Inquisition (1623–1645) for a full account.

xviii Ryan Dominic Crewe, A Moluccan Crypto-Muslim before the Transpacific Inquisition (1623–1645), 179.

xix Gerard of Wales, The History and Topography of Ireland, 74.

xx Amitav Ghosh, “The Nutmeg’s Curse,” in The Nutmeg’s Curse (University of Chicago Press, 2021), 73.

xxi Line 331 in Chrétien de Troyes, Burton Raffel, and Joseph J. Duggan, “Yvain: The Knight of the Lion,” in Yvain, The Knight of the Lion (Yale University Press, 1987), 12.

xxii Carlo Ginzburg, The Cheese and the Worms: The Cosmos of a Sixteenth-Century Miller (New York, N.Y: Penguin Books, 1982), 126, https://search.library.wisc.edu/catalog/999673861902121.


[Featured Image] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition#/media/File:An_auto-da-f%C3%A9_of_the_Spanish_Inquisition_and_the_execution_o_Wellcome_V0041892.jpg

Bevis and Ascopard Fight the Dragon of Cologne (Chinese Handscroll Painting Style)


Bevis and Ascopard Fight the Dragon of Cologne (Chinese Handscroll Painting Style)
Visual Art
An Interpretation of Bevis of Hampton
Real and Imagined Animals in Medieval Literature (YHU2330)

Artist’s Remarks

For my final project, I reimagined a scene from Bevis of Hampton — the scene where Bevis and Ascopard fight the dragon of Cologne — in the style of a Chinese handscroll painting. When I was reading Bevis of Hampton for the first time, I was struck by how similar it was to wuxia, a Chinese genre of heroic literature. Yonglin Huang notes that the concept of the hero wuxia is “probably unique to Chinese literature” due to the difficulty in translating 侠 (xia), which he describes as “a person adept in martial arts and given to chivalrous conduct” (141). Intriguingly, however, a close approximation for xia might, Huang notes, be the word “knight” (141). Both wuxia and medieval chivalric romance share similar thematic concerns, including upholding justice and helping the weak and poor (141). Yet, the relationship between these two genres of heroic literature and the political and intellectual elite of their time are very different. Unlike knights, who have intimate connections to political and religious authority, xia have historically been viewed disparagingly by the Chinese elite. Legal scholar Han Fei identified xia as one of the “Five Vermin” of the state that rulers should “wipe out”. Not to say that elite disapproval of the genre and its heroes are unfounded – wuxia heroes are often highly opposed to feudal government and centralized monarchy (Huang), and the genre has had a close relationship with Chinese revolutionary sentiments and politics.

I was inspired by the similarities and differences between these two literary forms – one Chinese, and one English. From there, I wondered how this could then be re-imagined through visual art, and the idea was born.

The Chinese handscroll painting, just like literary form, has a fascinating relationship to temporality and narrativity. Duru Güngör shows how unlike European representational painting, Chinese handscroll painting places value on “deixis” (553) or the time element. An experience of time when studying a Chinese handscroll painting occurs along two lines. The first, of course, is the perception of the subject that is being represented. The second, much more interestingly, is the perception of the traces “of the artist’s hand moving over the painting’s surface at the time of its creation” (554). In some schools of European art, the brushwork is meant to be hidden (and correspondingly, the artist and their artistic process is effaced) in order for the painting to perfectly mimic and represent a “full illusion of three-dimensional reality” (553). In Chinese painting however, the viewer’s awareness of the artist’s subjectivities is emphasised as part of the contemplative experience. I believe in this way, there is great similarity between Chinese handscroll painting and literary narratives with the sort of distinct narrative voice that is present in Bevis of Hampton.

Considering that time is an essential aspect in the perception of Chinese handscroll painting, I was very deliberate in the placement of the figures in my piece. The dragon is placed left, making it the immediate focus of attention. From there, we have (left to right) Bevis, Ascopard, Saber Florentine, and Josian. Yet, I tried to ensure that even as the eye moved from left to right, that the dragon would not be forgotten through the clouds (xiangyun) coming from its mouth, which remind viewers of its overwhelming presence and reach.

The piece ending with Josian on the far right was also a deliberate choice. While her figure was made slightly smaller to focus attention on the central conflict between the dragon and Bevis and Ascopard, I hoped that the eye of the viewer would come back to her upon noticing a small detail: Josian is holding a sword.

The human figures (and Ascopard) come from a series titled One hundred portraits of Peking opera characters, in the possession of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I had a couple choices for who I would cast as Josian (some of my options below). The first image emphasises the figure’s beauty and wealth as seen through her opulent clothes and headdress, but it also (quite charmingly) presents a confident and playful woman as she waves some kind of stick, perhaps a pipe for smoking. The text beside the character reads “王大娘” or literally “Big Woman Wang”. This is a (probably married) woman who holds much authority both within and outside her household. The second image presents another well-dressedwoman, but unlike Wang, whose clothes are striking, and whose body language is open, 张桂兰 “Zhang Guilan” is dressed in pastels and her body language is shy, retreating, and coy. This is probably an unmarried, younger woman. And finally, we have the portrait that I casted as Josian. It is still a well-dressed woman, but she does not appear to be as wealthy as the first two. Her expression is relaxed but she is watching attentively, and she is very casually holding a sword, the way she is hugging it to her body suggesting familiarity and ease. Intriguingly, the text beside her name means 化身 (“Hua Shen”) which means “Incarnation”.

To be very honest, I did not know what to make of this woman, and even more so her name. While all three figures would have added to Josian’s character, I felt that Hua Shen had a special energy – a serenity and intelligence – that could do the most to communicate who Josian was to me. As she looks at Bevis fighting the dragon, this Josian looks almost as if she is ready to step in at any moment. I hoped that through this, I could further highlight Josian’s incredible capacities for action (especially violence), a capacity she unfortunately has to often tone down for the sake of her husband’s pride.

As a side note, I am not at all familiar with Peking opera, its stories, and its characters, and chose these figures based on their appearance. If I were more familiar, I believe this would have been more meaningful.

The dragon is the azure dragon as it is presented on the flag of the Qing dynasty. Thus, this particular dragon has connections with royalty, and (depending on who you ask) despotism. I felt like this fitted nicely with the Cologne dragon in Bevis of Hampton, who used to be a king that brought great destruction and instability to his land (Lines 2610-2625). Considering the cultural significance of heraldry in the English context, I thought it would be quite nice to use a figure from a flag. By a happy coincidence, this Qing dragon also looked quite similar to the lions on the coat of arms of King Edward I, the monarch at the time that Bevis of Hampton was created. Both have elongated bodily figures with outstretched paws and open mouths.

Coat of arms of King Edward I of England
Imperial standards of the Qing Emperors of China

A small note on the figure I chose for Bevis. As mentioned, I began this project inspired by both wuxia and Chinese handscroll painting. If this was a wuxia text, the hero fighting the despotic Qing dragon would be an underdog. Keeping in mind the position of knights in medieval culture, however, the Bevis fighting this dragon is quite clearly an important aristocrat, perhaps even a member of the royal family, considering the yellow attire and the dragon designs embroidered on it. The figure’s name is given as 劉封, Liu Feng. The Liu surname is, of course, the name of the Han dynasty emperors, and Liu Feng existed historically. To not get too deep into historical details – this Bevis is, like the original Bevis, an important person.

劉封/Liu Feng/Bevis

Finally, Chinese handscroll paintings usually have some text to accompany the image. The text at the right side of mine is from Journey to the West, a Chinese epic with the protagonist’s journey being key to the text, just like Bevis of Hampton.


“Eight Views of Xiaoxiang.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 27 Feb. 2023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight_Views_of_Xiaoxiang.

“Flag of the Qing Dynasty.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 13 Apr. 2023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flag_of_the_Qing_dynasty.

Güngör, Duru. “Breath, Motion and Time: Narrative Techniques in Representational Chinese Handscroll Painting.” Folklor/Edebiyat, vol. 25, no. 99, 2019, pp. 553–566.

Han, Fei. “The Five Vermin.” Han Feizi: Basic Writings, translated by Burton Watson, Columbia University Press, New York, 2012, pp. 97–118.

Huang, Yonglin. “Martial Arts Fiction and Chivalric Literature.” Narrative of Chinese and Western Popular Fiction: Comparison and Interpretation, Springer, Wuhan, 2019, pp. 141–161.

“Journey to the West.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Apr. 2023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Journey_to_the_West.

“Liu Feng.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Mar. 2022, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liu_Feng.

“Seal (East Asia).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Apr. 2023, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seal_(East_Asia).

Teo, Stephen. “Wuxia From Literature to Cinema.” Chinese Martial Arts Cinema: The Wuxia Tradition, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh, 2016, pp. 17–37.

The Duality of Man in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight


The Duality of Man in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
An Interpretation of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight
Real and Imagined Animals in Medieval Literature (YHU2330)

Fig. 1: The Full Work
Artist’s Remarks

Themes of honour, chivalry, and knightly integrity take center stage in Sir Gawain and The Green Knight. Yet, the text offers many contrasting instances where the eponymous hero’s knightly valor is first affirmed, and then seemingly undermined by the comments of those around him. Alongside having his chivalric values called into question by others, Gawain struggles with his knightly identity in his own mind, often experiencing the tension between his personal identity and the knightly comportment that is expected of him, and belittling himself for his lack of experience as a knight. In this way, Gawain’s internal struggle with his dual nature serves as a source of anguish and shame for him, as he is constantly troubled by what he perceives are his shortcomings in not being able to act in a manner consistent with that of an upstanding and honest knight.  My project explores how Gawain’s struggle influences his actions in what is arguably the most pivotal point of the romance – when Gawain offers his head to the Green Knight to uphold his end of the contract from the Christmas Game.  

My work portrays the interaction just before Gawain is struck on the head with the Green Knight’s axe. I was inspired to choose the medium of sculpture (through 3D printing), because it allows for a tangible visual depiction of the scene in question. Furthermore, tangible objects allowed me to unlock more layers of complexity and symbolism in the work – for example, I was able to experiment with the positioning and orientation of the figures alongside manipulating their size and colour to serve my narrative better. Specifically, my work displays two contrasting imaginations of the same scene – on the left (Fig 1), Gawain is portrayed as courageously standing up to battle the Green Knight with his sword and shield aloft; on the right, however, Gawain is shown to be submitting in fear to the power and awesomeness of the Green Knight. By juxtaposing two of Gawain’s diametrically opposed behaviours in close proximity to each other, I hope to evoke further investigation into Gawain’s struggle in behaving like a righteous knight.

In constructing the figure of the Green Knight, size, colour, and material were at the forefront of my considerations. In the romance, the Green Knight is described as “a mountain of a man, immeasurably high, a hulk of a human from head to hips…”, (lines 136-138). To replicate this, I had to deliberately scale up the figure of the Green Knight from an initially meagre height of 50mm. Unfortunately, I was limited by the constraints of the 3D printer, and so I could not make the figure “immeasurably high”, although I was satisfied with the resulting height of 200mm (Fig 2), allowing the Green Knight to tower over both iterations of Gawain (Fig 1). It was also prudent for me to emphasize the size of the axe that the Green Knight brandishes, as it serves as a source of amazement for characters in the romance, and more importantly, contributes to Gawain’s fear which precludes him from wholeheartedly acting in accordance with knightly virtues like bravery and courage. The axe is described as “the mother of all axes” (line 208) and “a cruel piece of kit” (line 209) with a “skull-busting blade” (line 212). Towards the end of the poem, Gawain himself judges the axe to be a weapon for “doling out death…with a brute of a blade” (lines 2233-2234). In keeping with the description of the Green Knight’s weapon, I scoured the internet for a figure of an axe-wielding knight until I found the figure seen in Figure 2. In this figure, the length of the axe from tip to handle is more than the height of the knight itself. Such an exaggerated depiction of the axe contributed to the fearsome appearance of the Green Knight, which adds to Gawain’s trepidation in keeping his bargain.

As regards colour, the Green Knight is described “entirely emerald green” (lines 149-150), wearing clothes with a “background of gold” (line 167), and with an axe “forged in green steel” (line 211). Similarly, I painted the figures of the Green Knight in my work such that they would also sport armor and an axe that are almost entirely emerald green, save for certain elements such as the Knight’s belt, pauldrons, and axe-blade handles which are painted gold. In contrast to this, I elected to leave the figures of Gawain white (see Figs 3(a)&(b), to mimic his spotless armor with “hinged and highly polished plates” (line 576) and to symbolically evoke his purity and virtue, which Gawain does try to uphold throughout the poem, despite his internal struggle.

Though not visually apparent, I distinguished between the material of the filaments used to create the respective figures. The figures of the Green Knight were created using a specially sourced polycarbonate filament, which is highly resistant to heat and impact. Contrary to this, I used the standard acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) filament to create the figures of Gawain. In doing so, I hoped to establish a parallel between the stronger material used to create the figure of the Green Knight and his invulnerability in the poem. In the same vein, choosing a weaker material to make Gawain’s figure represents his fallibility and humanness, even in his attempts to be a valorous knight.

Symbolic Interpretations

Much of the inspiration for my work comes from the contradiction between others’ perceptions of Gawain’s fortitude and his own self-conception. Throughout the poem, there are many occasions where Gawain’s reputation precedes him, such as when he enters the Green Knight’s castle as a guest, whose occupants recognize him as a “person famed for prowess and purity, whose noble skills were sung to the skies.” (lines 912-913). Yet, Gawain describes himself to King Arthur as the “weakest of your (the King’s) warriors and feeblest of wit.” (line 354). While this description could be dismissed as excessive humility, readers are afforded more instances where Gawain struggles with the onerousness of upholding a knightly bearing as opposed to giving in to his personal feelings. One of these instances can be seen from lines 1661-1663, where Gawain returns the attention of his host’s wife, although “tongues might wag”, simply because “to snub a noblewoman was not in his nature.” In fact, the dichotomy between being himself and behaving appropriately as a knight has such a grave effect on him that it “muddled his mind and sent him half mad” (line 1660).

As the fateful day approaches, Gawain grows more and more paranoid about his impending doom, losing sleep and becoming restless. Yet, despite partaking in morally questionable acts (like accepting the magic girdle to save his own life), Gawain demonstrates his commitment to chivalric ideals when he refrains from taking the easy way out to “ride another road and be rescued by Christ” (line 2120). His conflicting impulses are most visible when the Green Knight himself berates Gawain by calling him a “namby-pamby knight” (line 2274) when the latter “shrank at the shoulders” (line 2267) out of fear from the impending axe blow. In response to this, Gawain steels himself to receive the blow despite his fear lingering, and “stood stone-still, or as still as a tree stump anchored in the earth by a hundred roots” – demonstrating an ability to act completely opposite from his behaviour just a moment earlier. (lines 2293-2294).

From the above episode, the Pearl Poet demonstrates that even Gawain, despite being a bold knight, is still susceptible to the same fears, temptations, and feelings that all humans are affected by, and at its crux, this is what my work attempts to encapsulate. The scene in question is deliberately laid out lengthwise on a piece of wood with another piece of wood separating the respective figures (Fig 1). This is done so that if anyone were to look at the work while aligning themselves to the breadth of the wood, they would only be able to see one particular scene unfold (either Gawain attempting to bravely fight the Green Knight, or Gawain surrendering to the Green Knight, depending on which side of the wood they are). However, the true meaning of the work only emerges if the viewer looks at both scenes at the same time – just as both identities (knightly and personal) exist in Gawain at the same time, and not in isolation.

On the left side of the work, Gawain is displayed as bravely trying to fend off the Green Knight (see Fig 1). Here, he is a personification of the ideal knight that he always attempts to be – he is endowed with “spotless armour” (line 631), a magnificent sword and his shield which is shaped in a pentangle. Despite the figure of the Green Knight looming over him, Gawain does not shy away from the seemingly insurmountable challenge in front of him. In stark contrast, on the right side of the work, Gawain is shown to be assuming a submissive position by kneeling with his head bowed in front of the Green Knight (Fig 1). Here, he is bereft of his knightly effects, and holds his empty arms outstretched in a gesture of subservience and an appeal for mercy to the Green Knight, who is about to swing his axe down and behead him. In contrast to the scene on the left, Gawain here is imagined to be giving in to his fear and allowing his personal feelings to overtake his knightly sensibilities.

One of the more striking contrasts between the two Gawain figures is that the figure on the left possesses the magic girdle which protects its wearer from harm, while the figure on the right does not (Fig 3a). I made this distinction because it simultaneously creates a sense of irony but also authenticity in the work. It is ironic that Gawain is pleading with the Green Knight for mercy despite being protected by the girdle. At the same time, it is authentic, because Gawain is finally and unabashedly not precluded from showing his true fear, regardless of whether or not he is protected by the girdle. In this reimagination, Gawain preserves his life, but at the cost of his knightly valor and integrity being called into question. Relatedly, a closer look at the Gawain figure on the left (Fig 3b) reveals that Gawain has seemingly already been beheaded by the knight, as his head is absent. I achieved this by deliberately breaking off the head of the figure after it was created. In this reimagination of the poem, I reinforce the narrative that Gawain’s conscious decision to uphold his morality (as indicated by the absence of the girdle around the figure) and prioritize his knightly courageousness has eclipsed his fear of death or harm. In this reimagination, Gawain may not have escaped with his life, but he upheld his knightly valor till the end.

Ultimately, this project aims to explore the duality of humankind using Gawain as an example. By juxtaposing two versions of the same scene and attributing drastically different results to each, I attempt to illustrate how dual natures exist at the same time and within the same place, in our thoughts and actions. This project does not invalidate Gawain’s bravery (or lack of), but rather objectively celebrates his dilemma as being a distinctly human problem, that all of humankind should be able to empathise with.

Real and Imagined Animals in Medieval Literature (YHU2330)



Animals, both real and imaginary, are ubiquitous in the art, literature, and material culture of medieval Europe, where they emerge as frequent objects of reflection on the nature of language, the ethics of violence, the organization of society, and the limits of what constitutes the human. This course will explore the medieval fascination with animals and the philosophical questions they raise. Drawing on the “animal turn” in contemporary cultural studies, we will investigate the complex and often ambiguous ways in which animals are represented in a range of genres, including bestiaries, fables, romance, and lyric.

In this course, we will engage in a close reading of several significant works of medieval literature, gaining insight into elements of the intellectual, philosophical, and visual culture of the European Middle Ages that have remained widely influential in Western thought. These works will enable us to explore complex questions about the nature of the human, about the way humanity manipulates the animal world in accordance with its own social imaginings, and about human responsibilities toward the non-human world. We will recognize the historical specificity of these literary encounters with animality, while at the same time considering how they speak to contemporary questions about environmental injustice and moral obligations toward non-human animals.



The first class of this course took place in the Spring Semester of the Academic Year 2022 / 2023 and saw some returning medievalists and many new ones as well, with a sizeable number of sophomores and a small handful of seniors and juniors. Many in the class came from very different backgrounds – history, environmental studies, social sciences, even life sciences. 

Susan Crane’s Animal Encounters set the theoretical grounding for the course right from the start and foregrounded crucial questions that would be explored later – how did people in the Middle Ages draw the line between human and animal? Where does that line end and in what circumstances does it blur? How has that distinction changed over time, and what do these distinctions say, if anything, about the human and how we understand the world around us and ourselves in turn? The class’s encounter with these questions opened with an old Irish poem, “Pangur Bán”, read in two translations by Whitley Stokes & John Strachan and Seamus Heaney. In discussing which interpretation they preferred, the class was guided to appreciate how translations do not necessarily always prioritise preserving grammatical syntax, and while there may be meanings lost through such cases, fidelity to the original language could often also hinder their comprehension of the text. This was further complicated with a brief visual analysis of a manuscript illustration featuring cats (and mice) (Bodleian Library Bodley 764 folio 51r). The line between human and animal can be considered from a visual representational perspective and from a medium perspective as well – for many such poems and illustrations about animals are penned on manuscripts made of animal skins.

The course next took the class through the beautiful pages of medieval bestiaries and the  prominent theological influences on medieval knowledge and perception of animals, most notably Adam’s naming of the animals and Noah’s Ark animal sanctuary from the Book of Genesis. Ideas of taxonomy and moral symbolism were noted to be particularly pronounced in these texts, and the class had a good time being both enthralled and amused by many of the bestiary entries about various animals, as well as their lack of distinction between real and imagined animals – they were often included side-by-side. Sometimes, accounts and illustrations of the real animals could seem even more absurd than the fantastical ones, especially for non-native creatures such as elephants, and it is likely that the scribes and artists would have never encountered these animals at all. Much of the bestiaries’ descriptions can thus seem like chimeras –  products of both imagination and an accretion of what was known (or little known) about the animals in question. 

A number of students in the class went on to produce their own bestiary entries to engage with and reflect on the features and concerns they understood as characteristic of the bestiary form. Below are some highlights:

The Medieval Kingfisher Bestiary

“Whether Man encounters deer in a backyard, or within the peripheries of the Buddhist temples in Nara where they follow humans around, their silent gaze will reinforce Man’s awareness of being watched by the Heavens and of the consequences of his attempt to get away with whatever scheme he plans to do.”


“The panda gives birth to twin pure black cubs and must paint them white. When the mother panda runs out of paint, she leaves them black and white. She is impatient and has no foresight. She disgracefully tries to become what she is not. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10).”

~ JODY LIM (’25)

We, the Pigeons of Singapore, pledge to be fully-fledged, unabashed citizens of this country. We are rightful occupants of all spaces under the sun, and there is no corner of this land that any pitiful human can crawl into to avoid us or seek refuge. We move in masses–a marvellous and colourful flurry of vibrant feathers–and by the hundreds, we gradually flock to, and overtake the very spaces people seek to exclude us from.


“The Sea Amphisbaena represents the anxious layman. He knows nothing but to ease his pain with drink, self-pity, and masturbation. Who can blame him?”

~ SUN WOO YOON (’23)

Moving into murkier zones of the human-animal boundary, the class began to focus on specific animals/creatures of particular interest in the medieval imagination. This included wolves (and werewolves) as well as birds and their song. Texts such as Marie de France’s “Bisclavret” examined how the idea of “humanness” seemed defined largely by external (courtly and chivalric) behaviour and name, and her Fables blur this boundary further with the use of anthropomorphised animals for moral instruction and social critique. The class also delved into Troubadour poetry and Chaucer’s many bird-inspired texts like Parliament of Fowls and “The Nun’s Priest’s Tale” (also known as “Chanticleer and the Fox”), where even the human language – which has been considered as a prime demonstration of the possession of reason that distinguishes human from animal – seems to mimic avian song, especially in poetry. The class reached an understanding that even without knowing the literal meaning of what is said or sung, whether by man or animal, there appears to still be some kind of meaning that transcends this barrier and is communicated on a purely sonic level. 

It was on this note that the class began engaging with longer literary texts and Middle English translation exercises, ranging from Chaucer to Chrétien de Troyes’ Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, to Bevis of Hampton. Bevis of Hampton was regarded to be especially difficult by the class.

The turn to these chivalric tales invited discussion about the knights’ animal companions, who seem spiritually bonded with their masters with whom they move together as one. The prominent image of the knight as a figure of man and horse combined not only evokes interesting parallels with the mythical centaur, but also further unsettles that already fragile boundary between human and animal. The class noted how this understanding of the knight both contrasted with and echoed with the common trope of the Wild Man (in Yvain) or the titular Green Knight in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. During a creative activity, the class took to the whiteboards and visualised the Herdsman from Yvain, yielding many rather grotesque and amusing drawings that reflected perhaps some of the absurdity behind these descriptions in the text:

“I saw sitting upon a stump, with a great club in his hand, a rustic lout, as black as a mulberry, indescribably big and hideous; indeed, so passing ugly was the creature that no word of mouth could do him justice. On drawing near to this fellow, I saw that his head was bigger than that of a horse or of any other beast; that his hair was in tufts, leaving his forehead bare for a width of more than two spans; that his ears were big and mossy, just like those of an elephant; his eyebrows were heavy and his face was flat; his eyes were those of an owl, and his nose was like a cat’s; his jowls were split like a wolf, and his teeth were sharp and yellow like a wild boar’s; his beard was black and his whiskers twisted; his chin merged into his chest and his backbone was long, but twisted and hunched. There he stood, leaning upon his club and accoutred in a strange garb, consisting not of cotton or wool, but rather of the hides recently flayed from two bulls or two beeves: these he wore hanging from his neck.”

Chrétien De Troyes, Yvain, 288–2931

There was certainly no shortage of such opportunities to visualise these texts over the course, and Sir Gawain remains – for both new and returning medievalists here in the college alike – one of the most intriguing and vivid poems that lends itself to discussions and reimagination across many different themes and concerns. To visualise the sense of place and the rich world portrayed in this text, as well as its attempts to mark out human and non-human temporalities, the course expanded beyond the classroom one afternoon late in the semester. Photographs were taken of spaces or occurrences that the class felt resonated with certain lines which they had read:

“Then the world’s weather wages war on winter:
cold shrinks earthwards and the clouds climb;
sun-warmed, shimmering rain comes showering
onto meadows and fields where flowers unfurl;”

“And yesterday on yesterday the year dies away,
and winter returns, as is the way of the world
through time.”

“The most commanding castle a knight ever kept,
positioned in a site of sweeping parkland
with a palisade of pikes pitched in the earth
in the midst of tall trees for two miles or more.
He stopped and stared at one side of that stronghold
as it sparkled and shone within shimmering oaks,”

The class observed how the medieval perception of animals and humans had gradually shifted across centuries of unrest and death – especially with the Crusades, which underpinned some of the aforementioned texts – from one leaning towards clear separation and hierarchy to one more inclined towards co-existence, co-habitation, and kinship. In particular, Gerald of Wales’ writings on Wales and Ireland, as well as Thomas of Celano’s writings on St. Francis were discussed. A keen curiosity and love for the natural world, the extension of grace to non-human life, and a seemingly intuitive, affective means of communicating with animals both in the real world and in texts, such that they are no mere metaphors but beings with their own subjectivity… the class closed with ruminations about how it is together with animals that humans may better know themselves and the world they live in, and these animals deserve as much kindness as we would show other fellow human beings.


Aside from the aforementioned bestiary entries, the class also produced many other creative projects over the semester in response to one or more texts that they had encountered, as well as the broader theoretical and thematic concerns discussed during the course:


1 https://www.gutenberg.org/files/831/831-h/831-h.htm#link2H_4_0005


[Featured Image] https://www.bl.uk/catalogues/illuminatedmanuscripts/ILLUMIN.ASP?Size=mid&IllID=56969



CategoryTextual Form
Featured In
Real and Imagined Animals in Medieval Literature (YHU2330)

The bestiary was a type of book popular during the Middle Ages that featured descriptions of beasts alongside illuminations of their appearances. These included real and imagined animals, and their descriptions often came with anecdotes and religious symbolisms to provide moral instruction to the reader.

Production of a bestiary was an arduous and costly process because its texts and illuminations were typically done entirely by hand with intricate details and vivid colouring (involving gold and silver decorations), and was not the work of a single person. 

The Aberdeen Bestiary (c. 1200) is considered one of the finest and most beautiful examples due to its particularly lavish, gilded illuminations. 


During the course on Real and Imagined Animals in Medieval Literature (YHU2330), a number in the class produced their own creative bestiary entries to better engage with and understand the characteristics of this textual form. Their works are compiled here in alphabetical order, with links to their full reflections on their projects and the bestiary in general:



The Capricornus-Xuanwu is a hybrid celestial beast of the northern summer skies and southern winter skies. Beheld in the west, it takes the shape of a goat with fish tail, coiling as a serpent round the form of a black monstrous turtle beheld in the east. The Xuanwu turtle is half-lion, half-dragon, half-snake, a fierce and mysterious guardian of the north with the power of water. The sea-goat shares this affinity, but it is also endowed with the abundance of earth, of which the infant Zeus once suckled upon through the horns. It is a confused creature at war with itself always, but alas, such is also the nature of the world.

~ TOH HONG JIN (’23)

Mal Mariée: Dance as a Medium for Resistance


Mal Mariée: Dance as a Medium for Resistance
Performing Art (Dance)
An Interpretation of “Laüstic
Medieval Romance: Magic and the Supernatural (YHU2309)


Unfortunately, the quality of this video has been reduced due to site limitations on file size. To watch this video at a higher resolution, please click on the following link:

Mal Mariée: Dance as a Medium for Resistance – CLAIRE ZHAI HUAN TING (’24)

Artist’s Remarks

“Laüstic” is a poem that retells the experience of entrapment, encapsulated by the term Mal Mariéea literary trope that appeared commonly in Medieval Romance. It refers to an unhappily married woman, under the constant surveillance and control of her husband. This piece of work seeks to pay tribute to the experiences of struggle of the female protagonist, and to explore dance as a medium for resistance, transposed to a modern setting. The definition of the body as a “complex, contradictory, and ever changing cultural site of ‘discursive intercourse’ which is constructed dialogically by the dancer and her audiences” (Reed, 519) equips movement with the tools to not only replicate experiences from the past, but also to inject new meaning into the endeavors and actions of characters. In this project, dance is examined as a channel for non-verbal communication, a physically situated activity that yields implicit meaning, and finally as a means for agency in the form of embodiment, therefore reflecting its capacity for resistance.

In a setting where communication between the lovers was restricted, and eventually denied, dance as a form of non-verbal communication evades surveillance, and subverts the mal-mariée trope. In the poem, the lovers’ opportunity for communication is constrained to talking at the lady’s bedroom window (“Laüstic”40). The fact that it is the only time where “she speaks to him and he to her”, shows the fleeting nature of their mutual companionship, heightened by the reciprocal phrasing of the line (“Laüstic“, 42). Despite the short physical distance between the lovers given that “he lived close by” (“Laüstic“, 28), the absoluteness of the obstacle they faced in communication became a defining feature of the relationship. This barrier in communication is evoked through movements that explore the idea of distance – tracing the length from one shoulder to the end of the arm, measuring distance within the space of two palms, gauging height from body to ground, closing the space between two elbows etc. As love relationships are characterized by “loving speech” and proclamations of love, the lack of freedom to interact intimately with each other as lovers takes on symbolic significance (“Laüstic”56). Furthermore, the “great care and secrecy” with which the lovers had to approach their relationship is represented by the cautious steps and instability of movement (“Laüstic”30), connoting the precarious quality of their communication, almost like trying to navigate around the “nets”, “snares” and “traps” meant to capture the nightingale (“Laüstic”96). The moment that the dancer loses balance and falls to the ground mimics the moment that the nightingale gets caught in the trap (“Laüstic”96), the suddenness of the movement mirroring the rupture in the secrecy of communication between the lovers. Yet, at the same time, the dance conveys the agony of the lovers in trying to establish a private space to connect with each other, baring open the challenges of distance and surveillance faced. In doing so, it serves as a “system of signs that expresses ideas”, where the “evolutionary value of dance lies in its effectiveness as a mode of nonverbal communication” (Blacking, 89-91). By perceiving dance as “dynamically embodied action” and a form of “talk from the body” (Warburton, 68), it can be argued that the denial of communication between the lovers is restored by movement that seeks to remember and communicate their suffering, thereby doing their torment justice. 

In accompaniment to the dance, it is also important to recognize the space in which the movement is presented, where in this poem, it calls attention to the tension between containment and release. Dance does not occur in a vacuum, but is a “situated activity” that “takes place in the context of a real-world environment” (Warburton, 67). Such an understanding is particularly key to this interpretation of “Laüstic”In one scene, the background of concrete and stone represents the “great high wall of dark-hued stone” (“Laüstic”38), where the harshness of the material, the angular lines that it creates, and the small space that it delineates visualizes the insurmountable confines that the lady is subject to. The unforgiving material leaves the dancers’ revolt in vain, where merely fists and mental will prove insufficient to overcome physical imprisonment. Yet, the dancer’s movements of pushing against stone with the weight of her body, falling and catching herself, attempts to draw her own space with her limbs, and at times sharp movements, reflects the desire of the lady to assert her command and independence against the control of her husband. As the dancer emerges from the shadows and progresses towards the brightness, we see the motion of reaching towards the light source and the yearning to escape the feeling of being stranded and rooted to continued misery. Here, the fluidity of the movements is contrasted to the roughness and disrepair of the peeling wall, showing a silent resistance in the face of rugged and unrelenting forces. 

The tension between containment and release is further expressed through the contrast between the idyllic setting of summer, and the inability of the lovers to consummate their love. Despite the merriment and carefree nature of the surroundings, where weather had made the “fields and forests green”,  and “gardens, orchards, bloom again”, the lovers remained subject to the control and fury of the husband (“Laüstic”58-62 & 92). This is represented by the shifting locations from within walls to nature without artificial confines, reflecting the transient quality of freedom as each state is impermanent. In one particular scene, the melding of concrete and brick flooring with the greenery and open skies encapsulates the lady’s predicament – the sustained narrative of entrapment as opposed to the brief moments of respite at nighttime where she is able to reunite with her lover (“Laüstic”68). It depicts the experience of being tempted with freedom while never really having that option and perpetually being circumscribed within the unyielding confines of the Mal Mariée trope. These instances reflect that “space is not an inert backdrop for movement, but is integral to it, often providing fundamental orientation and meaning” (Reed, 523). In line with the intentions of this work, space informs movement by making the subject conscious of the implications of her movement quality, not in isolation, but in tandem and association with the surroundings that it inhabits. 

Finally, this work examines the embodiment of resistance in dance, a way of remembering the weight that the story of “Laüstic” holds. By perceiving dance as “an expression and practice of relations of power and protest, resistance and complicity” (Reed, 505), we may recognize how movement is not one-dimensional and simply replicative in nature, but complex and “simultaneously productive and reproductive” (Reed, 521). Such a view is outlined by John Blacking, who argued that although “ritual may be enacted in the service of conservative and even oppressive institutions”, “the experience of performing the nonberbal movements and sounds may ultimately liberate the actors” (Reed, 521). This agency is already evident in the verbs connoting the lady’s intentions to “act now” and “make known to him this vicious tale”, rather than simply submitting to her fate (“Laüstic”132-134). The legacy of her message is ultimately symbolized by the reliquary, where it takes on not only figurative significance, but also physical embodiment of the seizure of freedom, carried by the weight of the nightingale’s body and the stones within the reliquary (“Laüstic”149-152). Here, the “reflection and resistance of cultural values” is situated in the nightingale and reliquary as an embodiment of both the acquiescence of the eventual failure to secure the liberty to love (Reed, 521), and the resilience of the protagonist in demanding that her story be told and remembered for its tragedy. The dancer’s leveled lifting of the reliquary (represented by the glass jar) carries a sense of reverence for a story that has survived time and space (“Laüstic”156-160), where the trail of falling sand and the tracks left on the ground mirror the memory and imprint left behind by “Laüstic”. At the very end of the film, the movement of the clasped hands, and the final release is reminiscent of the message of resistance exemplified by the nightingale being set free, despite its corporeal death. Hence, we may see dance “not as a retreat but rather as a means of remembering” (Reed, 526), explored through its channels for embodiment and thus resistance.


Blacking, John. 1982. “Movement and Meaning: Dance in Social Anthropological Perspective.” Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research 1, no. 1 (April): 89-99. https://www.jstor.org/stable/1290805

Reed, Susan A. 1998. “The Politics and Poetics of Dance.” Annual Review of Anthropology 27:503-532. https://www.jstor.org/stable/223381

Warburton, Edward C. 2011. “Of Meanings and Movements: Re-Languaging Embodiment in Dance Phenomenology and Cognition.” Dance Research Journal 43, no. 2 (Winter): 65-83. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23266966

Hamlet in Bukit Brown: A Creative Exploration


Hamlet in Bukit Brown: A Creative Exploration
Performing Art (Proposed Directorial Vision)
An Interpretation of Hamlet
Death, Mourning and Memory in Medieval Literature (YHU3345)


The oft quoted “To be, or not to be – that is the question”1 in Shakespeare’s canonical text, Hamlet, is a solemn meditation on existence. It is a reflective grappling with states of life and death, a vacillation between doubt and certainty, and a question that is suspended within the intermedial throes of madness and sanity. Such a general utterance invites three potential interpretations on what “the question” in this context could be, moving from macro to micro spheres of agentic discourse: (a) whether life is worth living, (b) whether he should take his own life, and (c) whether he should act against the King.

These three possible interpretations suggest that while the play seems to centre around avenging his father’s death, Hamlet is essentially about identity and existence, as explored through the different proxies of politics, family, and romance/friendship – with the formation (and/or fragmentation) of the self taking on expressions of loyalty, duty, and love. This idea of identity and existence is not only embodied in the titular character, Hamlet, and in the relationships that he has, but also in the Ghost that appears and adds supernatural spice to what would be, otherwise, a plot without precedent.

In this way, Hamlet is a story that seems to be about a man’s search for “heimlich” (homecoming; belonging), wherein the themes of death, mourning, and memory are relevant to that struggle. The sense of “heimlich” is motivated by the presence of the Ghost, which is the interpretive crux to Hamlet’s character and the device that moves the plot of the play. The Ghost’s roaming and existence is also possibly a lack of eschatological “heimlich”, which surfaces an interesting cultural debate about the existence of Purgatory and theologically sanctioned practices of remembrance.

This creative exploration thus aims to reimagine how Hamlet participates in the debate about Purgatory and memorialising the dead through a proposed directorial vision of the play – an exploration of site-specific theatre, set in Bukit Brown Cemetery. This vision is inspired by itinerant cinema practices that have screened films in cemeteries for the dead (a cinema night for spirits), and commedia dell’arte as one of the first recognised theatre practices to perform in non-conventional production spaces.

In Memoriam


In Memoriam
Performing Art (Instrumental Piece)
An Interpretation of “Laüstic
Medieval Romance: Magic and the Supernatural (YHU2309)

Artist’s Remarks

Music, to me, is a universal storyteller that evokes powerful emotions which words cannot describe. Similarly, love is a nebulous and subjective concept, often also indescribable. The Lais by Marie de France is a collection of poems that explore different forms and boundaries of love and suffering. “Laüstic”, in particular, connects love and music in the form of birdsong; the song of a nightingale represents the connection between two distant lovers. I thus decided to reimagine “Laüstic” from The Lais as a 3-minute orchestral piece. I chose to write it as an orchestral piece to allow for more fluidity, conventional flexibility and elaborate nuances which enhance the emotion and imagery exhibited by the music. This piece is titled In Memoriam as it is written in memory of the life and death of the nightingale in the poem, and concomitantly, the love it represents. Initially, the nightingale flies freely albeit in the distance, then it gets trapped and murdered, yet is remembered forever after. The stages of the nightingale’s life in the music parallel stages of the relationships between characters in the poem. The structure of the piece also mimics the poem’s, as it moves from describing love in the private sphere to the invasion of the public sphere into the private to quash that love. The emotion of the piece hence intensifies suddenly after a calmer beginning to reflect the tragic narrative of the poem. The piece is written in the key of A minor to communicate tragedy, predominantly using the harmonic minor scale, where the seventh scale degree is raised to create a stronger pull towards the tonic or root note. This strong pull is intended to evoke the emotion of unfulfilled desire and longing exhibited throughout the poem.

In Memoriam begins with a light flute melody accompanied by subtle undertones of strings to introduce the nightingale. The high tones of the flute are intended to form an image of a bird flying high in the distance. This section has a three-beat rhythm (3/4) indicating movement and wavering stability. It also establishes the distant yet dynamic relationship between the married woman and her neighbour, the knight. From 00:00 to 00:07 of the piece, I played an ascending, then descending flute melody, reminiscent of a bridge going over an obstacle. This was to reflect how the lovers manage to somewhat overcome the “great high wall of dark-hued stone” (38) between them. The increased ambience and reverberation effects imitate the sound of a large hall, thus exacerbating the feeling of distance. These first few seconds establish the secret and distant connection between the lovers that the free-flying nightingale represents. The overall sombre melody also foreshadows the tragic turn of future events.

The next section is introduced by bar chimes that create a transition into an enchanted, magical and dream-like space, mirroring the poem’s description of summer. This section exhibits the lovers’ time together with a syncopated and playful rhythm played by the harp to evoke the joyful emotion of their love. The soft and peaceful tones of the harp are also evocative of a lullaby, as the lovers saw each other at night as they listened to the nightingale’s song. The undertones from the synth are intended to create an ethereal and dream-like soundscape to reflect the magical and otherworldly quality when the “moon shone” as the lovers met (69). The effect of the background synth strings is a feeling of simultaneous distance and immersion, similar to how their love is physically distant, yet intimate and secret from the public. This is coupled with nature sounds I recorded from a forest to reflect the natural descriptions of summer and birdsong in the poem, and the association of nature with love and desire. The chord progression of this section is Am, G, F, G. This simple palindromic progression is intended to reflect the reciprocative relationship of the lovers as they “could toss tokens to each other, throw little gifts, lover to lover” (43-44). This section also has a 4-beat rhythm (4/4) unlike the first section. I wanted to create a sense of irony that their fleeting time together has the most stable time signature of the song. This is to parallel how Marie criticises the constructs of courtly love and the jealous husband trope in the poem. The tone of the poem seems to support the secret and unlawful relationship between the wedded woman and her bachelor neighbour, while painting her husband as the villain despite being legally in the right. The husband is referred to as a “spiteful boor” (116) while the neighbour is directly contrasted as “not a boor” (148). Hence, the sweet and short interactions between the lovers imply that their relationship is more stable and healthy than that of the woman and her husband, as he controls and guards her. Yet, this idyllic and enchanting relationship is only a transient fantasy. The changing time signature shows that events are ever-changing, and warns against getting comfortable with a false sense of secret stability. True enough, the end of this private fantasy is signified by the sound of descending bar chimes.

The middle section leading up to the climax of the piece encapsulates entrapment. The combination of percussion and random, spasmodic and dissonant strings is intended to portray the nightingale flapping its wings desperately trying to escape being trapped. I used tritones, also known as the devil’s interval, to create the dissonant and unsettling atmosphere. This feeling of entrapment and being stuck reflects how the lovers are also trapped – they never meet physically and will never do so. The jealousy and selfishness of the husband has also trapped the wife. The sudden, loud cracking  sound created by several drums played consecutively imitates the violent and sickening snapping of the bird’s neck by the husband. The former bass drum beats resemble a heartbeat, which stops suddenly at the snap to symbolise the death of the nightingale and coinciding heartbreak of the wife. This heartbreak is a reimagination of the visual image of literal heartbreak in the poem when the dead nightingale “bloodied her breast” (119).

The death of the nightingale and the lovers’ relationship invite mourning. The high E note sustained by the strings creates a ringing effect to hold the tension and prolong the discomfort. The multi-layered amplification of the dead nightingale, created by the elaborate wrapping in lines 135-137, is represented by the several layers of strings that follow. The use of a “reliquary” (149) to carry the nightingale’s corpse suggests a religious significance much more precious than before. The added volume from all the strings being played simultaneously and the descending bassline create a dramatic, yet grand and reverent sound that intensifies. The dissonant E7/#9 chord, played at 2:07, also includes a tritone and reminds listeners of the previous horrific violence that the wife still has to live on with despite the grand new significance of the bird’s memorial.

The last part of the song is a repeat of the melody of the flying nightingale played at the beginning. However, it is played an octave lower using a flute organ to mimic the mourning at a funeral or memorial. The muted tone of the flute organ emphasises concealment, as the nightingale is now inaccessible, like their private love. At the end, the flute organ fades out and slows down to create the sense of eternal continuity, as the knight “carried it with him everywhere” (156). Although “the vessel [was] sealed” (155), symbolising a closed chapter of unattainable love, this love remains a literal and emotional burden he will always bear. The nightingale will be remembered forever, and with it, the love that never took flight.

Poetry and song in “Laüstic” glorify relationships in an unrealistic way, as the nightingale’s song romanticises the lovers’ unconsummated love. The Nightingale represents an idyllic fantasy that gets destroyed by reality and the public sphere. In Memoriam encapsulates the message that secret relationships in the private sphere do not last, and that idyllic fantasies are unsustainable. Yet, because this love ended so tragically, memories of it transformed to take on a newly elevated, greater significance. The memory of a relationship with a loved one, alongside the heavy burden of its loss, is carried forever.


[FeaturedImage] https://64.media.tumblr.com/4580bbe96ee78d2eee347e382dda43fb/tumblr_ol0lp6SH1a1u7lrveo1_1280.pnj

Translatio Studii et Imperii

CategoryKey Term
Featured In

Medieval Romance: Magic and the Supernatural (YHU2309);
Real and Imagined Animals in Medieval Literature (YHU2330)

Translatio studii et imperii is a Latin term that emerges frequently in the analysis of medieval literary works, where translatio is defined as translation or transferal, studii as knowledge and culture, and imperii as political power and legitimacy. Hence, translatio studii et imperii traces the spatial and chronological movement of knowledge and culture, as well as political power and legitimacy from one civilization to another. In the Medieval ages, politics and transmission were intimately connected as it was perceived that political and cultural legitimacy were inherited from classical antiquity and bequeathed to modern-day medieval Europe (Schwartz), thus revealing the significance of translatio studii et imperii in claiming literary authority.

The Bayeux Tapestry, depicting events leading up to the Norman Conquest of England in the 11th century.

The classical parallelism between translatio studii and translatio imperii is exemplified by the thematic coupling of artes ac arma (arms and arts) and chevalerie et clergie (chivalry and scholarship) in medieval texts (Knauth). The prologue of Chrétien’s Cligès is one of the most cited examples that pays tribute to historical and spatial succession, where the prominence of power and knowledge is reflected in the lines “In Greece/ Knighthood and learning ranked/ Above all other things” (Cligès, 2). The reference to the particular geographical region indicates the esteem conferred upon cultural heritage hailing from Greece. Weight is placed upon succession, whether it is “Arthur’s lineage”, or the lineage of knighthood and learning having been “passed from Greece to Rome,/ And has reappeared, now,/ In France” (Cligès, 2). The mapping of space across Greece, Rome and France displays a historical continuity and legitimacy that lends itself to evolving literary traditions passed down over time from one civilization to another.

Chrétien’s Cligès, among a repertoire of other texts, also reflect political continuity by incorporating the unifying feature of the Arthurian court. In Cligès, Arthur serves not as a protagonist, but as the figurehead of the Arthurian Court, where the romance narrates the quests undertaken by Arthur’s knights. The Arthurian legend, weaved into stories from Celtic folklore, to Breton literature, Chrétien’s works and eventually across the greater Europe, underlies the geographical and geopolitical movement of literary material that is rooted in certain linguistic, cultural and literary codes, and concepts related to knighthood, chivalry and courtly love (Rikhardsdottir, 141). At the same time, each new work that draws upon the tradition simultaneously adds to it, and reconfigures the landscape of Arthurian literature. Given the shift from one form of writing to another, Translatio as a concept also moves beyond geographical and cultural transferal to encompass a linguistic movement from the classical languages of Greek and Latin to vernacular (Rikhardsdottir, 141).

The idea of literary evolution is reflected in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, where the poet draws upon French romance tradition by using rhyming couplets, but also deviates by incorporating the old English verse form of alliteration (Schwartz). Thematically, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight subverts the trope of courtly love through the rejection of earthly pleasures represented by the temptress, for spiritual love devoted to Virgin Mary. Similar to Cligès, translatio studii et imperii is also echoed in the references to historical and cultural heritage in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight’s prologue and ending – while the past is remembered through the founding of Britain, and the legacy of Brutus and Troy, the future is reshaped as the very chronicle of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is memorialized in the symbol of the green sash.


Rikhardsdottir, S. (2017). Chronology, Anachronism and Translatio imperii. Handbook of Arthurian Romance, 135–150. https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110432466-009

Knauth, K. Translatio Studii and Cross-cultural Movements or Weltverkehr. Comparative Literature: Sharing Knowledges for Preserving Cultural Diversity, vol 2.

Schwartz, D. (2002). Translatio Studii Et Imperii. California Polytechnic State University. http://cola.calpoly.edu/~dschwart/engl513/courtly/translat.htm

Raffel, Burton, trans. (1997) Chrétien de Troyes: Cligès. Yale University Press. ISBN: 978-0300070217.

Armitage, Simon, trans. (2009) Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. W. W. Norton & Company. ISBN: 978-0393334159.


[Featured Image & Fig. 1] https://www.britannica.com/topic/Bayeux-Tapestry