First Crusade Fictions

Kolovou, Ioulia (2018) First Crusade Fictions. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Printed Thesis Information:


The world of Byzantium is under-represented in historical fiction written in English, a fact that reflects a general negativity or even absence of Byzantium in the non-academic, cultural traditions of the Anglophone world. Sir Walter Scott’s penultimate novel <i>Count Robert of Paris </i> (1832), set in Constantinople at the time of the First Crusade (1096), is an interesting late work of Scott’s whose ambivalent stance towards Byzantium both asserts and refutes this fact and hints at its possible causes, at the same time offering interesting insights on how to read historical fiction meaningfully. This thesis, comprising a critical essay and a novel, explores ways of reading and writing Byzantium in historical fiction. The critical essay titled ‘Reading and writing Byzantium and the First Crusade in historical fiction: a reading of Sir Walter Scott’s <i>Count Robert of Paris</i> (1832)’ uses Marxist, gender, reader-response, and postcolonial theory as tools to decode Scott’s artistic strategies in the representation of Byzantium and at the same time to propose a theoretical approach to reading historical fiction. The novel titled <i>A Secret Fire</i>, inspired by and conversing with Scott’s <i>Count Robert</i>, employs the characters of a cross-dressing female crusader and a Byzantine eunuch in order to signpost the ambivalent position of Byzantium in regards with the European west at the time of the First Crusade and to subvert stereotypes of power and domination. Written in the current context of the Greek financial crisis and subsequent discussion on the position in Greece within the European Union (and the questioning of the EU in general), the thesis aims to contribute to the historical imaginary and to open up a discursive space for engaging with Byzantium and Greece beyond received ideas and negative representations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Additional Information: Fully funded by a College of Arts Scholarship 2013-16.
Keywords: Historical fiction, Byzantium, First Crusade, Sir Walter Scott, Count Robert of Paris, gender theory, postcolonial theory, non-binary gender, Hellenism, novel, medieval romance.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies
Supervisor's Name: Reeder, Dr. Elizabeth and Kolocotroni, Dr. Vassiliki
Date of Award: 2018
Embargo Date: 12 February 2025
Depositing User: Ioulia Kolovou
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-8752
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2018 12:03
Last Modified: 21 Feb 2023 10:12

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