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The English Romance in TimeTransforming Motifs from Geoffrey of Monmouth to the Death of Shakespeare$
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Helen Cooper

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780199248865

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199248865.001.0001

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Restoring the rightful heir: ‘If that which is lost be not found’

Restoring the rightful heir: ‘If that which is lost be not found’

(p.324) CHAPTER SEVEN Restoring the rightful heir: ‘If that which is lost be not found’
The English Romance in Time

Helen Cooper (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

The accession or restoration of the rightful heir is often the object of quest romances; babies may be preserved in rudderless boats, prophecy confirm an heir’s right, and the faithful sexuality of the loving wife confirm their claim. Such an heir is often a ‘fair unknown’, not knowing his or her own identity, and the narrative structure closes the gap between that ignorance of their parentage and the inheritance that awaits their discovery. Attempts were made to present the Tudor usurpation as precisely such a restoration of the true line, from romances written or adapted in the aftermath of the battle of Bosworth down to the Faerie Queene, Shakespeare’s treatment of returning or promised heirs, and negotiations of the impending break in the succession after Elizabeth.

Keywords:   inheritance, rightful heir, fair unknown, prophecy, Tudor usurpation, Faerie Queene

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