Retraction and the making of arthurian texts
© 2019 Scriptorium Press. All rights reserved. Retraction is an essential part of the creative process for Arthurian writers. From the beginning of Arthurian narrative, innovation has led to retraction, then to further innovation, then again to retraction, and so on into the present. Medieval Arthurian writers practiced four forms of retraction and innovation: palinode, re-creation, adaptation, and supplementation. A palinode recants an earlier work, a re-creation presents a new narrative about existing characters, an adaptation alters an existing narrative or one or more of its components, and supplementation adds to an existing narrative or to one or more of its components. These processes function not only across texts by different authors but within texts by a single author. Whereas Augustine and Chaucer offered explanations of their retractions, Arthurian authors offer no explanation for their retractions, requiring readers to supply one for themselves. But like Augustine and Chaucer, Arthurian writers left the existing canon of texts intact with every new retraction and innovation. The 'both/and' view of literary composition taken by Arthurian writers has allowed retraction continually to renew and complicate Arthurian story, thereby reminding us of its narratological sophistication even as the legend of Arthur continues to be discovered by new generations of audiences. (MWT).
Twomey, Michael W., "Retraction and the making of arthurian texts" (2019). Faculty Articles Indexed in Scopus. 202.