Submitted today, for Masters in English Literature with a specialisation in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at the University of Ottawa - my thesis. With an unfortunately double-double-barrelled title, for the confusion of anyone who has to enter it into the system.
"The Untouchable Past and the Incomprehensible Present: Temporal Detachment and the Shaping of History in the Fineshade Manuscript."
This thesis undertakes a close study of a single manuscript of the early 1320s from the priory of Fineshade, Northamptonshire. The manuscript contains a short chronicle and several documents related to the failed baronial rebellion of 1321-22. I argue that the chronicler responds to the current situation in collaboration with the priory’s patrons, the Engayne family, with an attempt to create meaning from a time of crisis. In the process, he attempts to shape his material through patterns of style and thought inherited from both chronicle and hagiographical traditions, to make the present conform to the known and understood shape of the past. His success is limited by his inability to establish sufficient distance from traumatic events, a difficulty that many chroniclers seemed to encounter when they attempted to turn current events into meaningful historical narrative.