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Original scientific paper

Evaluating knighthood through the discourse functions of negation in Le Morte DArthur by Malory

Tatiana Komova ; Lomonosov Moscow State University
Anastasia Sharapkova orcid id ; Lomonosov Moscow State University

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The paper explores medieval knighthood as a complicated matrix of various cultural, historical, and ethical concepts. We hypothesize that we can access the way people conceptualized the chivalric ideal through analyzing the romances by means of linguistic and conceptual analysis. The justly prominent place among numerous romances is taken by Malory’s Le Morte DArthur (1485), for it provided solid ground for a detailed classification of knightly virtues and vices in later decades. The present paper displays the role of negation in portraying the opposition of a good and a bad knight. We take into account that this category is realized linguistically on various levels: lexical, morphological, and syntactical. Contrary to the preliminary hypothesis on negation featuring the bad, it allowed the author not only to explicate the bad qualities of a knight, but also to stress the language means evaluating the positive ones. As the linguistic analysis unfolds, negation turns out to be not a logical counterpart of positive utterances, but a powerful tool for featuring knighthood as a socially and ethically important endeavour. Pragmatics of negation in the romance, as well as its role in direct speech of various characters, including women, are also considered.


category of negation; Arthuriana; chivalric discourse; Malory; Le Morte DArthur

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Article data in other languages: croatian

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