"The Magic of Englishness in St. Kenelm and Havelok the Dane"

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The legend of St. Kenelm and the romance Havelok the Dane, Middle English poems found in Bodleian Library, MS Laud Misc. 108, each center around a child protagonist and share strikingly similar plot details. Both Havelok and St. Kenelm situate their respective vulnerable protagonists within a consciously-constructed and foregrounded England. In these parallel tales, a vulnerable child-king figures England as an imperiled spiritual, political, and linguistic entity. In other words, vulnerable childhood and a notion of Englishness become aligned. And, ultimately, in both tales, a vulnerable England, which encompasses a notion of English language, is fantastically vindicated and empowered. The glorified martyr Kenelm and the restored King Havelok sanctify English language and England by making English/ England indispensable—to spiritual welfare in one narrative and to secular welfare in the other. The prominence of England in these poems fantasizes social and spiritual validation for a n
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication"The Magic of Englishness in St. Kenelm and Havelok the Dane"
StatePublished - Jan 2011


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