Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis project examines the concept of non-recognition or prosopagnosia within the narrative structure of the medieval romance. The first section of the thesis provides a brief background to the birth and existence of courtly love and suggests amor hereos as the base for the practice of courtly love. Between the first and second sections, the project offers an interlude "On Henryson's Factual Tendencies," which focuses on the writing style of Robert Henryson and discusses his inclusion of astronomy and medicine in The Testament.
Subsequent sections offer discussion on: "On Henryson's Testament and Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde," explaining the author’s reasoning for treating Henryson's The Testatament as a continuation of Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde; discussion of lines 498-511 of The Testament and examination of possible explanations for Troilus' mental experiences; a discussion of Aristotle's theories of cognition and association; scholarly suggestions of delusion and hallucination as explanations for Troilus' mental experiences; introduction of prosopagnosia theories, the current term for the neurological disorder in which a subject is unable to recognize familiar faces, as a possible reason for various characters’ inability to recognize others regardless of intimacy; discussion of the symbolism of the ring in The Testament and the brooch in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde; introduction to the "disease of love," amor hereos,”and its association to prosopagnosia. The final discussion section considers a detailed look at how often and in how many ways non-recognition is used. As part of a progressive summary, this section pauses at each instance of non-recognition for discussion and observation. The concluding section reflects on the observations made throughout the thesis and postulates that non-recognition should undeniably be considered a characteristic of courtly love and a possible result of amor hereos.
Bonczek, Michelle Ann, "Whan Love Knowen Nought: Non-Recognition in the Medieval Romance: Amor Hereos and Prosopagnosia in Robert Henryson's The Testament of Cresseid and Chretien De Troyes' "Yvain”" (2000). English Master’s Theses. 48.