Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Thinking Medieval Romance$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

Katherine C. Little and Nicola McDonald

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198795148.001.0001

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 September 2021

Unthinking Thought

Unthinking Thought

Romance’s Wisdom

(p.36) 2 Unthinking Thought
Thinking Medieval Romance

James Simpson

Oxford University Press

Since the scholarly recovery of Middle English romance, one pronounced judgement is that the genre fails to think. This judgement underestimates the peculiar quality of romance ‘thought’. Like the author’s the Marxist account understands romance ‘thought’ to be a refusal of explicit thought. The author differs from the Marxists in not seeking to expose this refusal of thought as an example of mesmerizing ideology. Instead, the chapter presents romance non-thought as an especially subtle form of cybernetic (in the etymological sense of ‘self-governing’) reformism. This kind of thought requires a holiday from explicit, rational thought, and from thinking too explicitly about shame. Such ‘thought’ instead operates by disabling thought; it requires ‘unthinking’. Romance (un)thinking seeks not to deceive or mesmerize, but rather recognizes that some profound issues, and particularly shame, are better not thought about explicitly. The example used is the popular romance Sir Degaré.

Keywords:   romance thought, shame, cybernetic thought, ideology, Sir Degaré

Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs , and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us .