The Ages of Man in Two Middle English Oedipus Narratives

The Ages of Man in Two Middle English Oedipus Narratives <p>Abstract:</p><p>This essay demonstrates how two middle English Oedipus narratives—the <i>South English Legendary</i>’s “Life of Judas” and the opening section of John Lydgate’s <i>Siege of Thebes</i>—invoke the “ages of man” topos differently in order to dramatize why an individual deviates from normative development. The “Life of Judas” alludes to the topos to speculate about character psychology and pathological development and thus crafts a medieval “popular” psychology. In the <i>Siege of Thebes</i>, the “ages of man” system exemplifies an idealized counterpoint to Edippus’s pathological development and explains why his existence is at odds with the Theban polis. The essay ends by considering evidence that Sigmund Freud may have known these medieval Oedipus narratives and situates these stories as distant preludes to the Freudian Oedipus complex.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Studies in Philology University of North Carolina Press

The Ages of Man in Two Middle English Oedipus Narratives

Studies in Philology, Volume 116 (1) – Jan 11, 2019

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of North Carolina Press.
ISSN
1543-0383

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>This essay demonstrates how two middle English Oedipus narratives—the <i>South English Legendary</i>’s “Life of Judas” and the opening section of John Lydgate’s <i>Siege of Thebes</i>—invoke the “ages of man” topos differently in order to dramatize why an individual deviates from normative development. The “Life of Judas” alludes to the topos to speculate about character psychology and pathological development and thus crafts a medieval “popular” psychology. In the <i>Siege of Thebes</i>, the “ages of man” system exemplifies an idealized counterpoint to Edippus’s pathological development and explains why his existence is at odds with the Theban polis. The essay ends by considering evidence that Sigmund Freud may have known these medieval Oedipus narratives and situates these stories as distant preludes to the Freudian Oedipus complex.</p>

Journal

Studies in PhilologyUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Jan 11, 2019

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