English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-13-2020


This project examines authorial representations of the morality of three functions of love magic: to induce, to disrupt, and to facilitate love in twelfth- through fifteenth-century Middle High German, Old French, and Middle English romances. Using a cultural studies approach with close textual analysis and informed by gender studies, it investigates medieval romance authors’ discomfort with love inducing magic and asserts that this discomfort is a response to the magic’s violation of free will, a central tenet of medieval theology. I find that authors condemn love inducing magic but mark specific instances acceptable through explicit clarification of divine approval. Love disrupting and facilitating magic do not inherently violate free will, and so the morality of the magical practitioner’s motivations is extended onto the love magic. This project provides an understanding of how medieval authors grappled with the morality attached to love magic and how they communicated this morality to audiences.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Anita Obermeier

Second Committee Member

Dr. Jonathan Davis-Secord

Third Committee Member

Dr. Michael Ryan

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Michelle Sweeney




medieval, magic, love, Tristan and Isolde, Vulgate Cycle, Le Morte Darthur

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