Consequences of bad weather in medieval literature. From Apollonius of Tyre to Marguerite de Navarre's Heptaméron

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Contrary to common assumptions, medieval poets did not shy away from discussing the various consequences of bad weather on the lives of their protagonists. In fact, a careful examination of a wide range of romances, verse narratives, goliardic epics, and prose tales, among other genres, reveals the true extent to which both Fall and Winter weather, but then also sudden tempests, surprising snow fall, flooding, scorching heat, the unexpected drop of temperature, mighty storms etc. could play a significant role in literary texts and often serve important functions as narrative catalysts both in the Middle Ages and in the early modern age. As this paper illustrates, bad weather, and hence the suffering of the protagonists, often proves to be instrumental in changing the course of events, in disrupting a hero's ordinary life, and in challenging an individual in his/her very existence. In particular love affairs could be severely impacted by bad weather, as some authors specifically explored in their texts that do not necessarily fall within the category of traditional courtly literature. Significantly, bad weather also served exceedingly well as the backdrop for the initiation of storytelling and so enjoyed a considerable metaphorical function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberARCA.45.1.3
Pages (from-to)3-20
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Literature and Literary Theory


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