Reading Romance: Literacy, Psychology, and Malory's le Morte D'Arthur

By Margaret Dumais Svogun | Go to book overview

Chapter 3

Creating Meaning

The knights of medieval romance often set out on a quest for an object they do not really expect to find, and this may sometimes be acknowledged openly in the texts themselves, as is the case in Malory's version of the Grail Quest: “Ye two knights ... go to seek that ye shall never find”. 1 Some critics, such as Charles Moorman and John Steevens, go so far as to suggest that a knight may not even know what his object is; Moorman asserts that “the romantic knight is mostly unguided and roams an apparently purposeless universe in search of an object which seems increasingly vague, even to him” 2, while Steevens says of a knight that he is drawn on his adventure by his “inward being”, but “on to what? He does not know.” 3

Why, in the face of such circumstances, would a knight set forth, and why would he persevere?

A knight's apparent inability to find either true purpose or realistic hope in the putative object of his quest (assuming he knows even that much) is a malaise with which most people could—and still can—identify. The hunger for meaningfulness, accompanied by the temptation to despair of it is scarcely limited to men of any one particular era; Bruno Bettelheim observes that

if we hope to live, not just from moment to moment, but in true consciousness of our existence, then our greatest need and most difficult achievement is to find meaning in our lives. 4

Daunting though the prospect is, and difficult (or pointless) as the task may sometimes seem, then, the knight sets out because, ultimately, he must; he has no other truly viable alternative. (Bettelheim also points out that those who are “too timorous and narrow-minded to risk themselves in finding themselves must settle down to a humdrum existence—if an

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Reading Romance: Literacy, Psychology, and Malory's le Morte D'Arthur
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 135

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.