Abstract

Currently, hyphens are commonly used to define ethnic identities of multiple origins. In the Middle Ages, multilingual etymologies served a similar function by narrating linguistic histories derived from more than one cultural tradition. Analyzing the Hebrew-French etymologies presented in Wace's Roman de Brut (c. 1155, Cernel) and the Merlin (c. 1230, Escalibor), this essay places French-language narratives of British history in dialogue with the gradual re-interpretation of the roles of Jews in Christian culture that developed in this period. Whereas Wace portrays the possibility of cultural accommodation, the Merlin witnesses new forms of ambivalence.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6598
Print ISSN
0026-7910
Pages
pp. 989-1014
Launched on MUSE
2003-09-24
Open Access
No
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