Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2017

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

English and American Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



“Troubling Truth in the Auchinleck Manuscript” argues that many of the romances contained in this famous volume (c. 1330-40) respond in complex ways to the intensely unstable reign of Edward II (1307-27), and to that reign’s cataclysmic end and aftermath. These romances engage with these crises’ varied and negative impact on the foundational medieval value of “truth”—i.e. loyalty, trustworthiness, honor. Richard Firth Green’s A Crisis of Truth examines many the late fourteenth century results of this destabilization of truth, and my work expands and adjusts his not only by examining the early fourteenth-century roots of such changes, but also by placing contemporary literature at the core of my investigation. I contend that romance provided the ideal ground for exploring the damage done by the recent disruptions of human truth, largely because romance itself freely mixed the untruths of fantasy with the troubling actualities of contemporary medieval life. My historicism is informed by—and looks to contribute to—the manuscript studies work that surrounds Auchinleck itself, the largest early witness to over a dozen new or unique Middle English romances. By blending an interdisciplinary approach with keen attention to the details of the romance texts themselves, my dissertation seeks to expose how this ostensibly “popular” literature creatively engages with its own historical circumstances, giving voice to a variety and depth of distress with those circumstances in a way that reveals otherwise obscure layers of this crisis of truth


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Jessica Rosenfeld

Committee Members

David Lawton, Julie Singer, Tony Hasler, Nancy Pope,


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