Volume 11 (Special Issue)

Fight or Flyte: Pride and Masculinity in Medieval England

Sometimes described as a medieval English rap battle or as “throwing shade,” flyting was an important part of early English culture. The practice could strengthen bonds, establish hierarchy within a comitatus, or convince a lord of one’s worth. It was a key component of medieval social norms, offering a fascinating window into those who practiced (and observed) the eternally-appreciable art of quality banter. Where did fighting with words stop and fighting with swords begin? Starting with flying as a springboard for exploring broader social realities interconnecting gender identity with Christian virtues, papers engaged a range of related topics including but not limited to toxic masculinity—its manifestations and its reinforcements; the social functions of value, pride, weakness, and humility; the range of intimacies—from kinships to friendships and other homosocial ties—available to medieval peoples; banter’s role in politics and governance’ subjects the instigated flyting; representations of rhetorical competition in contemporary films and popular culture; and distinctions between flyting and dueling, namely figurative versus literal foils. This issue features work responding to a student-conceived and -designed call-for-papers on this topic, some of which were presented at the 2019 Northwest Undergraduate Conference on Literature in Seattle, WA.
Image from The Gorleston Psalter, digitized by the British Library.

Research Articles

Knight battles snail, marganalia

Guest Editors

Ann Marie Hubert, PhD
Department of English
St. Lawrence University

Kate Norcross, PhD
Department of English
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Elizabeth E. Tavares, PhD
Department of English
Pacific University Oregon