Catherine Batt


Amitav Ghosh, medievalist and post-colonial novelist, in his Arthur Ravenscroft Memorial Lecture (Leeds, 1997), recounts his experience as a writer in autobiographical and literary terms. Beginning with the memory of his grandfather's bookcase and its contents, Ghosh considers the nature of the space the novel-writer occupies with respect to a form at once 'vigorously international' and locally specific (7), and concludes that a process of alienation must take place if one is to write about one's own experience: 'to locate oneself (through prose) one must begin with an act of dislocation' (13). Ghosh's reflection on 'dislocation' offers a point of contact and continuity between the postcolonial and the medieval, as literatures and as critical disciplines, for, as this paper aims to demonstrate, the author of the early fourteenth-century romance, Sir Orfeo,^ also engages in disjunction, dislocating the forms of romance in order to refamiliarise the reader with the genre as literary experience, and to valorise its own poetry.



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