Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences

School of English Research Seminar

Ken Rooney (UCC) Narrative and (de-) composition in John Audelay’s De Tribus Regibus Mortuis.

This paper discusses an early fourteenth-century English poem, De Tribus Regibus mortuis, which recounts a popular medieval exemplum on transience - the Legend of the Three Living and Three Dead - in which three youths encounter three decayed corpses, who, speaking, reveal themselves to be their fathers. Art portraying the theme was widespread in medieval England and throughout Western Europe. The English poem in the manuscript of the scribe John Audelay is the only full vernacular poetic witness of the theme in England. This paper reads this difficult but fascinating poem on death and examines the ways in which a theme associated with visual reception is re- shaped as a text in an anthology. By reading close analogues the paper will measure the poem’s poetic achievement in its paraphrase of a commonplace theme, and describe how it invigorates familiar complaints in a form typical of a body of English medieval poems which deplore the fragility of human life and fulfilment. Dr Ken Rooney is lecturer in Medieval and Renaissance Literature in the School of English, UCC. His publications include Mortality and Imagination: The Life of the Dead in Medieval English Literature (Brepols, 2011)

Category: Public Lectures and Seminars: Arts Celtic Studies and Social Sciences
Time: 3-4 pm
Location: Room 2.12 O'Rahilly Building UCC
Target Audience: All welcome
Admission Price: € Free
Contact: Clíona Ó Gallchoir
021 4903288

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