Lady Godiva: A Literary History of the Legend

 
9780470776148: Lady Godiva: A Literary History of the Legend

This book investigates who Lady Godiva was, how the story of her naked horseback ride through Coventry arose, and how the whole Godiva legend has evolved from the thirteenth century through to the present day.


  • Traces the erotic myth of Lady Godiva back to its medieval origins.
  • Based on scholarly research but written to be accessible to general readers.
  • Combines history, literature, art and folklore.
  • Focuses on the twin themes of voyeurism and medievalism.
  • Contributes to our understanding of cultural history, medievalism and the history of sexuality.

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From the Back Cover:

Posterity remembers Lady Godiva for her naked horseback ride through the city of Coventry, but that is only part of her story. This book investigates who Lady Godiva really was and traces the evolution of the Godiva legend from its first appearance in the thirteenth century through to the present day.

Two recurring themes to emerge from the many retellings and reinterpretations of the legend are voyeurism and medievalism – the projection of contemporary desires back onto the Middle Ages. These form touchstones for discussion in each chapter. The book proceeds in chronological order, each chapter exploring an aspect of the legend which carried special significance for the period in question.By combining history, literature, art and folklore, this book makes a memorable contribution to our understanding of cultural history, medievalism and the history of sexuality.

About the Author:

Daniel G. Donoghue is Professor of English at Harvard University. He is the author of Style in Old English Poetry (1987) and co-editor, with Seamus Heaney, of Beowulf: A Verse Translation (2002). He is also the author of the chapter on Lady Godiva in Literary Appropriations of the Anglo-Saxons from the Thirteenth to the Twentieth Century (eds Donald Scragg and Carole Weinberg, 2000).

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