Catalogue


The custom of the castle : from Malory to Macbeth /
Charles Ross.
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1997.
description
xvii, 205 p. : ill. ; 24 cm.
ISBN
0520204301 (alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Berkeley : University of California Press, c1997.
isbn
0520204301 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
952396
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. 145-193) and index.
A Look Inside
Excerpts
Flap Copy
"Custom, according to Ross, may be examined as the reflection of knotty moral situations and problems and contradictions . . . the occasion for pondering the ways in which arbitrary rules and virtuous behavior collide and interfere with each other. The thesis is a new one, and Ross's readings are fresh and provocative."--Robert L. Montgomery, University of California, Irvine
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 1997-06:
In this intriguing book, Ross (Purdue Univ.) examines the mostly "foul customs" of the castle from Chretien de Troyes, who, in the author's opinion, first conceived the idea of the foul custom, through Shakespeare. The epilogue discusses the "disappearing" castle. In Ross's view, the castle idea did not really disappear but was actually transferred into the country houses found in Gothic novels, for example. Despite the main topic of "strange ordeals on knights and ladies seeking hospitality," the book is remarkably accessible. Ross approaches Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, and Othello from a perspective different from that of most Shakespearean critics. The social customs delineated in the works of Malory, Boiardo, Aristo, and Spenser's Faerie Queene receive considerable attention. A welcome addition to collections of literary and social history. Unpedantic endnotes and comprehensive index. Upper-division undergraduates and up. L. L. Bronson; Central Michigan University
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, June 1997
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Summaries
Long Description
The "custom of the castle" imposes strange ordeals on knights and ladies seeking hospitality--daunting, mostly evil challenges that travelers must obey or even defend. This seemingly fantastic motif, first conceived by Chregrave;tien de Troyes in the twelfth century and widely imitated in medieval French romance, flowered again when Italian and English authors adopted it during the century before Shakespeare's plays and the rise of the novel. Unlike other scholars who have dismissed it as pure literary convention, Charles Ross finds serious social purpose behind the custom of the castle. Ross explores the changing legal and cultural conceptions of custom in France, Italy, and England to uncover a broad array of moral issues in the many castle stories. He concentrates on single scenes that are common to a series of epics, showing how their nuanced narratives reflect real social limits of order, violence, justice, civility, and political conformity. His investigation of masterpieces from the thirteenth-centuryLancelottoThe Faerie Queene--by way of Malory, Boiardo, and Ariosto--demonstrates for the first time the impact on Shakespeare's plays, particularlyMacbeth, of an earlier way of thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of social customs.
Main Description
The "custom of the castle" imposes strange ordeals on knights and ladies seeking hospitality--daunting, mostly evil challenges that travelers must obey or even defend. This seemingly fantastic motif, first conceived by Chr├Ętien de Troyes in the twelfth century and widely imitated in medieval French romance, flowered again when Italian and English authors adopted it during the century before Shakespeare's plays and the rise of the novel. Unlike other scholars who have dismissed it as pure literary convention, Charles Ross finds serious social purpose behind the custom of the castle. Ross explores the changing legal and cultural conceptions of custom in France, Italy, and England to uncover a broad array of moral issues in the many castle stories. He concentrates on single scenes that are common to a series of epics, showing how their nuanced narratives reflect real social limits of order, violence, justice, civility, and political conformity. His investigation of masterpieces from the thirteenth-century Lancelotto The Faerie Queene--by way of Malory, Boiardo, and Ariosto--demonstrates for the first time the impact on Shakespeare's plays, particularly Macbeth, of an earlier way of thinking about the strengths and weaknesses of social customs.
Table of Contents
Abbreviations
Preface
The French Model
Introductionp. 3
Malory's Weeping Castlep. 18
The Italian Transition
Boiardo's Castle Cruelp. 39
Ariosto's Fable of Powerp. 58
The English Conclusion
Spenser's Customs of Courtesyp. 83
Hamlet's Ghost Fearp. 104
Macbeth's Future: "A Thing of Custom"p. 117
Epilogue: The Disappearing Castlep. 130
Appendix 1p. 141
Appendix 2p. 143
Notesp. 145
Indexp. 195
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

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