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Brothers and Sisters in Medieval European Literature
Title Details

285 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

Imprint: York Medieval Press

Brothers and Sisters in Medieval European Literature

by Carolyne Larrington

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
A wideranging and groundbreaking investigation of the sibling relationship as shown in European literature, from 500 to 1500.
The literature of the European Middle Ages attends closely to the relationship of brother and sister, laying bare sibling behaviours in their most dramatic forms as models to emulate, to marvel at or to avoid. The literary treatment of siblings opens up multiple perspectives on brothers' and sisters' emotions: love, hate, rivalry, desire, nurturing and ambivalence underlie sibling stories. These narratives are in turn inflected by rank, social context andmost crucially, gender.
This book examines these sibling relationships, focusing on the important vernacular literatures of Iceland, France, England and Germany, and building on recent research on siblings in psychology, history and social science. Multiple and subtle patterns in sibling interaction are teased out, such as the essential sibling task of "borderwork" (the establishment of individuality despite genetic resemblance), and the tensions caused by the easy substitutability of one sibling for another in certain social situations. When the sibling bond is extended to the in-law relation, complex emotional, strategic and political forces and powerful ambivalences nuancethe relationship still further. Quasi-siblings: foster- or sworn-brothers complete the sibling picture in ways which reflect and contrast with the sibling blood-tie.

Carolyne Larrington is a Fellow and Tutor in medieval English literature at St John's College, University of Oxford.
Introduction
The Medieval Sibling in History
'Berr er hverr á bakinu nema sér bróður eigi': Fraternal Love and Loyalty
'Io v'ho cara quanto sorella si dee avere': Sisters, and their Brothers
'Næs þæt andæges nið': Fraternal Hatreds
'Te souviegne de ce que je suis ta seur': Sisters and Hostility
'The king's dochter gaes wi child to her brither': Sibling Incest
'So wil ich dir ce wibe mine swester gebn': When Siblings Marry
'Trewethes togider that gun plight': Fictive Siblings
Conclusion
Bibliography
"Fascinating and wide-ranging.... An enjoyable and thought-provoking read." TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT
"The universal nature and complex dynamics of sibling relationships make this an interesting addition to York Medieval Press's project and a necessary resource for any scholar interested in familial relationships in the Middle Ages. Recommended." CHOICE
"Carolyne Larrington's new study is a useful addition to the small but growing field of medieval sibling studies." THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

Hardcover

9781903153628

May 2015

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$99.00 / £60.00

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Paperback

9781903153857

January 2019

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£19.99 / $25.95

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781782045113

May 2015

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Title Details

285 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

Imprint: York Medieval Press