Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Redefining Abduction: The Case of Octavian (Part 3 of 3)

A white unicorn rears inside a small circular fence surrounded by embroidered flowers
Tapestry detail of a captive unicorn (c.1500)

Following on from Part 1, and Part 2, this final post rounds off my exploration of the Middle English romance Octavian and its representation of abduction. In this post, I connect the reworking of the heroine’s abduction in Octavian with contemporary attitudes towards kidnap and captivity. I want to suggest that reworking abduction as rescue in Octavian is a reflection of medieval ideologies surrounding kidnap, extending the rewriting of abduction already evident in contemporary legal and social discourse. 

‘Voluntary abduction’ is defined as kidnap with the consent of the abductee: in other words, elopement. Dunn contends: ‘medieval authorities considered such departures prosecutable offenses, so such elopements or abandonments appear in judicial records’ (86). For example, in 1355 Maud Lenegor was ‘abducted by her own will’ from her husband by the skinner William Rothewell, and in 1394 Alice Grondon eloped from her husband with one Henry Londlake (Dunn, 102). 

Sue Sheridan Walker claims that ‘women allowed themselves to be abducted in order to affirm their own choice of a husband and force their families to accept the relationship and [that] they allowed themselves to be abducted in order to leave their husbands’ (237-8). There is thus scope for a reading of kidnap which offers agency to the female ‘victim’ and refigures it as rescue, potentially from an unwanted suitor (such as the giant in Octavian), or an abusive or undesired marriage. 

It appears that the recasting of kidnap as rescue or as voluntary was a source of concern in the later Middle Ages. Dunn suggests that ‘lawmakers became more concerned with preventing the voluntary departure of their wives and daughters over the course of the Middle Ages’ (109) and Cannon argues that such cases ‘produced a common anxiety throughout the fourteenth century, judging from the number of cases in both local and royal courts that concern this kind of “ravishment”’ (81). 

This concern seems to have been translated into legal statute: in 1382 a statute decreed that ‘when men ravish women (maids, wives, widows) who later consent to the ravishment […] both the men and the women lose their rights of inheritance’ (Kelly, 380). Furthermore, ‘the husband or closest male relative of the woman can sue the man and seek the death penalty’ (Kelly, 380). Voluntary abduction was thus a source of considerable concern at the time Octavian was translated into Middle English and the romance’s use of the discourse reflects this. 

However, recasting abduction as rescue does not liberate women from their position as a male possession, either in real life or in romance. Just as Florent’s attempted abduction of Marsabelle carried implications of women as prizes, so too were women in real life treated as male possessions, as I noted in Part 1. Goldberg considers that abduction was part of a long tradition of marriage by captivity, allowing a man to achieve marriage or effect control over a marriage and circumvent familial hostility or problems of dowry negotiation. 

What is clear about this tradition is that, as Goldberg argues, the consent of the abducted woman was not the primary issue; because a woman was legally the property of either her husband or her father, it was the lack of consent from the man owning her that was of primary concern. Hence the legal provision for the ‘husband or closest male relative’ to sue (Goldberg, 162). The classifying of abduction as theft from a man reveals the extent to which women were ‘owned’ by their male relatives. Even if consensual abduction offered women the possibility of choosing their own partners, abduction as rescue still carried implications of ownership and possession. 

Octavian deals interestingly with these themes of possession and ownership. Other kidnappings in the romance, themed around the trade and purchase of bodies, provide a context for the romance abduction of Marsabelle. The first of these is that of the two brothers, Florent and Octavian, who are banished from Rome along with their mother. One son, Octavian, is borne away by ‘a lioness’ (338), although he is eventually reunited with his mother.

The other son, Florent, has a more prolonged absence from his mother; abducted by ‘an ape’ (311), then liberated from the ape by ‘a knight’ (533) who himself ‘encountered ten outlaws’ (542) who ‘won the child from him’ (548). The ‘outlaws’ then sell Florent to Clement for ‘twenty pounds’ (587). Clement takes Florent to Paris where he raises him as his son. So from the very beginning of their lives the brothers’ fates are closely tied up with abduction and, Florent’s in particular, with ransom and the economic valuing of bodies.

Themes of captivity return towards the end of Octavian, as Florent and several others who have been involved in combat with the Saracen army, including the king of France and (unbeknownst to him) Florent’s real father, the Roman Emperor, are captured by the Saracen army. The text reveals that ‘the Saracens hastily made their preparations / To ride home in glory’ (1649-50), suggesting a hostage situation. Indeed the prisoners are poorly treated:
            With innumerable terrible wounds
            [They were] led […] in iron chains,
Their feet under the horse’s belly:
            It is a great pity to tell of it (1554, 1558-1560).

The group are prisoners of war, as is made clear in the details of their release.

Octavian the younger, who has been residing with his mother in Jerusalem, travels to free the prisoners.
            The first man whose bonds he loosened
            Was his father, it is true,
            Without any lie;
            And he loosened the bonds of his brother Florent
            Before he loosened those of the King of France
            Yet he did not know who he was (1633-38).

Although he is not aware of Florent’s true identity, Octavian here unwittingly follows the conventions of ransom at the time of the Crusades, freeing family members first (Friedman, 132). 

So the themes associated with abduction in these two examples are economic and combative; people are won either through purchase – Clement buys Florent – or physical prowess – the knight fights the ape, Octavian liberates the prisoners. Moreover, although Florent, a captive son, is eventually rescued, Marsabelle, a captive daughter, is not, which could be read as a comment on the trade in bodies which values, exchanges and owns both men and women as possessions and objects of exchange. 

Framing Marsabelle’s abduction within this context of trade in bodies shows how even as abduction is refigured as protection, Octavian too reveals the implications of possession, ownership and slavery which underlie abduction, even an abduction that is redefined as voluntary rescue.

Works Cited:
Cannon, Christopher. ‘Rapuits in the Chaumpaigne Release.’ Speculum 68.1 (1993): 74-94.
Dunn, Caroline. ‘The Language of Ravishment in Medieval England.’ Speculum 86.1 (2011): 79-116.
Friedman, Yvonne. ‘Captivity and Ransom: The Experience of Women.’ Gendering the Crusades. Ed. Susan B. Edgington and Sarah Lambert. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2001. 121-139.
Goldberg, P. J. P. Communal Discord, Child Abduction and Rape in the Later Middle Ages. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
Kelly, Henry Ansgar. ‘Statutes of Rapes and Alleged Ravishers of Wives: A Context for the Charges against Thomas Malory, Knight.’ Viator 28 (1997): 361-419.
Walker, Sue Sheridan. ‘Punishing Convicted Ravishers: Statutory Strictures and Actual Practice in Thirteenth and Fourteenth-Century England.’ Journal of Medieval History 13 (1987): 237-50.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Redefining Abduction: The Case of Octavian (part 2 of 3)

an armoured knight cutting the bonds of a nude woman tied to a tree
Millais, The Knight Errant (1870)
Continuing the theme of abduction from Part 1, this post looks more closely at the Middle English romance Octavian

This romance was widely disseminated throughout Europe during the Middle Ages and the Middle English text survives in two distinct versions, known as the Northern and Southern Octavians (NO and SO). Both versions are thought to have been composed during the same period, around 1350, although surviving copies of the romance date to almost one hundred years later (McSparran, 41-42). In this post I focus on the version of NO in Cambridge University Library, MS Ff.2.38 (c.1450) as it contains the most interesting details about abduction. 

The romance begins with the longed-for birth of twin sons to Octavian, Emperor of Rome and his wife. The Emperor is overjoyed, but his happiness quickly turns to anger as, through the plotting of his mother, it appears that his wife has been adulterous and she and her sons are exiled. 

Wandering in the forest, the Empress becomes lost and her two children are kidnapped. Wandering in the forest, the Empress becomes lost and her two children are kidnapped. The first, named Octavian after his father, is captured by a griffin, then a lioness, but is rediscovered by the Empress. Mother and son travel to Jerusalem where they are greeted by the Christian ruler and Octavian is baptised. The other child, Florent, is kidnapped by an ape and then found by a knight and outlaws respectively, who eventually sell the child to Clement, a Parisian merchant. Clement and his wife raise Florent as their own child. 

When Florent is grown, France is besieged by Saracens, who camp just outside of Paris. The daughter of the Saracen Sultan, Marsabelle, writes to the King of France for permission to reside at Montmartre. Amongst the Saracen host is a giant, whom Marsabelle agrees to kiss if he can bring her the head of the King of France. The giant attacks Paris, but Florent, dressed in Clement’s rusty armour, kills him. Florent cuts off the giant’s head and rides to Montmartre where he presents it to Marsabelle, claiming the kiss she had earlier promised. 

He then attempts to abduct Marsabelle, lifting her over his saddle, but is forced to release her as an outcry rises in the town. Marsabelle returns to her father’s camp, where the Sultan is incensed by Florent’s actions, assuring his daughter that she will be revenged. Marsabelle, however, confides in her maid, Olive, that she has fallen in love with Florent and wishes that he would come to abduct her. Meanwhile, Florent returns to Paris and is knighted at a feast where his true parentage is revealed. 

Riding near the Saracen camp one day, Florent spies Marsabelle and Olive walking by the riverside and crosses the river on his horse to speak with her. Marsabelle tells him of her plan for how Florent should abduct her and tells him about her father’s best horse, which Clement, in disguise, steals from the Saracens. The next day Florent enacts Marsabelle’s plan, carrying her to Paris, but his absence from the battlefield means that Octavian and the King of France are captured. Florent tries to rescue them but fails, and all the Christians are imprisoned. 

Word of their capture reaches Jerusalem, and the young Octavian, Florent’s brother decides to rescue his father. He and his mother travel to France with an army, ambush the Saracens and defeat them. Octavian rescues the prisoners and reveals his identity, reuniting the joyful family. Marsabelle is christened and marries Florent. They all return to Rome.

Several different abductions occur in Octavian, but it is the abduction of the Sultan’s daughter, Marsabelle, by the romance’s hero, Florent, which pervades the narrative: introduced at line 994, her abduction is not completed until line 1524 (the version of the romance in Cambridge Ff.2.38 is 1731 lines long). Abduction of the heroine by the hero is rare in Middle English romance, Bevis of Hampton is the only other Middle English romance I know of where the hero abducts the heroine (and in Bevis it is with the heroine’s consent).

So how does Octavian make abduction, a potentially traumatic event, into something a hero can successfully enact to secure a love match with his heroine? I want to suggest that by reworking the abduction of the heroine as rescue rather than kidnap, that Octavian transforms kidnap into a legitimate act of courtship. A large part of this transformation, I want to suggest, is the reworking of abduction as rescue or protection.

In Octavian, Marsabelle requires protection. She is aware of the danger of her situation, travelling alone in wartime Europe. After arriving in France, Marsabelle contacts the King of France, requesting ‘to lodge at nearby Montmartre, / Three miles from Paris […] for she wanted to see marvellous things’ (788-9, 792).

The King grants her permission and offers her safe passage, in doing so explicitly laying out the potential dangers involved:

            The King of France greeted the maiden,

            For he was truly a King and knight,

            And swore by his faith,

            That she could confidently travel [to Montmartre];

            For no man would harm her

            Either in daylight or at night (793-8).

The identified threat here is sexual; as I mentioned in Part 1, the danger of rape was a consistent subtext in the abduction of women. The King assures Marsabelle that ‘no man’ will ‘harm her’, the Middle English word ‘mysdo’ here carrying connotations of sexual assault. 

The sexual threat to Marsabelle is made evident when Florent ‘travelled directly / To Montmartre where the maiden was residing’ (994-5) bearing the head of the giant he has just killed. Florent greets the Princess, presenting her with the head, to which the Princess responds: ‘I think he [the giant] has kept his promise; / When he could not obtain the King’s head, / He sent me his own instead’ (1012-14). So far, their conduct seems appropriately demure, yet Florent here retorts:

‘Maiden […] beautiful and fair

Now I will have what you promised to him’:

And over the saddle he leaned.

            Again and again he kissed that maiden,

            And picked her up, and rode away (1015-19).

Marsabelle’s sudden abduction here is startling and is particularly emphasised in the Cambridge Ff 2.38 version of Octavian. In the alternative text of the Northern Octavian in Lincoln, Cathedral Library, MS 91 (Thornton), the line reads ‘and picked her up and intended to ride away’ (931, my emphasis), suggesting that the attempted abduction is more conditional. The abduction is thus more abrupt and definite in Cambridge Ff 2.38; it is clear that Florent does ride away with Marsabelle, although he does not get far, as he is forced to ‘put the maiden down, / And ready himself to fight’ (1025-6). 

The elements of this attempted abduction reveal an interesting blurring between abduction and rescue. Whilst the reaction of others in the romance suggests that this is a straightforward kidnapping – ‘tumult and commotion rose in the town’ (1021) and Marsabelle’s father is so angry ‘that it was dreadful to see’ (1071) – there are aspects of the abduction which are more reminiscent of chivalric behaviour. For example, immediately after he abducts her, Florent cuts off part of Marsabelle’s ‘scarlet sleeve’ (1027) telling her: ‘mistress, by this you will recognise me’ (1028) in battle. This courtly and chivalric convention was regularly deployed in the literature of the period. 

Furthermore, the sudden and intense expression of love between the two protagonists is typical of courtly depictions of love and suggests a relationship akin to that of victim/rescuer, as opposed to victim/abductor: the romance reveals ‘such love grew between the two of them’ (1030). So whilst some aspects of this abduction serve to construct it as straightforward kidnap, others suggest that it is a rescue, partly formed by elaborate chivalric ritual. 

This abduction-cum-rescue is further complicated by the ambiguous position of Florent. If we read his actions as prompted by chivalric convention, Florent is presented as lover and rescuer, courting and liberating Marsabelle. However, if this is simply an abduction, Florent becomes a villain, assuming the place of the predatory giant. There is plenty of evidence to label Florent as lover. Although Florent’s taking away of Marsabelle can be read as abduction – Marsabelle later refers to Florent as the man who ‘abducted [her] from the Borough of the Queen’ (1244) – it is not necessarily non-consensual abduction (In his edition of Octavian Maldwyn Mills considers that ‘Borogh Larayn’ corresponds to ‘modern Bourg-la-reine in the [Parisian] arrondissement of Sceaux’ (Six Middle English Romances [London: Dent, 1973], note to line 787, p. 203). The romance makes it very clear that Marsabelle did not want to kiss the giant; in fact, she ‘would rather be punished / Than see him access her chamber: / So hideous a creature was he’ (808-10). Thus, by killing the giant, Florent has removed the threat of an unwanted relationship and allowed himself to be fixed as Marsabelle’s rescuer. 

The romance also construes Marsabelle as so much in love with Florent that she ‘wept with sorrow, / When he could not win her’ (1031-2) potentially suggesting a desire not just for Florent, but for the abduction itself. Indeed, for the rest of the romance, Marsabelle devotes herself to arranging a more successful second abduction.

Furthermore, the use of the word ‘win’ shifts the tone of events from abduction – ‘picked her up, and rode away’ – to the idea of winning a woman by triumphing at a task: in this case, the killing of the giant. The word ‘win’ is used nine times in the Cambridge Ff 2.38 version of Octavian and refers to Marsabelle on five occasions. The Middle English Dictionary notes various uses of ‘win’ to denote possessive acquisition, including the gaining of a woman in a contest. By using this word to describe abduction, Octavian thus nuances its meaning.

The practice of ‘winning’ a woman was at the heart of the literary romantic and chivalrous ethos and is a regular feature in romance. By representing Marsabelle as a willing participant in this subsequent abduction, and defining the first attempted abduction as the courtly actions of a lover, the romance positions Florent as a rescuer, liberating Marsabelle both from sexual contact with a giant and, as this is a Christian-centric romance, from her Saracen companions and religion.

But the abducting Florent can also be read as villainous. In attempting to abduct Marsabelle, Florent assumes the role of the giant he has defeated. Yet he goes further than simply claiming victory and returning the giant’s head to Marsabelle: he not only claims the ‘one kiss’ (816) that Marsabelle had promised to the giant, but proceeds to claim several more: ‘again and again he kissed that maiden’. Moreover, Florent proceeds to abduct Marsabelle, moving from one kiss to claiming her whole body, fulfilling the abduction from which the king of France promised to protect Marsabelle. Florent’s statement – ‘now I will claim what you promised to him’ – establishes Marsabelle as a spoil of war, or a prize for defeating the giant. Yet, this is not a prize offered to Florent but one he designates for himself. 

Furthermore, although Marsabelle arranges her second abduction by Florent, this first abduction is not constructed as offering her any real agency. The inference is that she will be abducted either way and although it would be preferable to be kidnapped by Florent rather than by the giant, this is not really figured as a choice for Marsabelle. This episode illustrates the contradictory characterisation of Florent as both lover and rescuer, villain and abductor, demonstrating the paradox of the captor-hero, which is common in modern romance but much rarer in medieval romance. It also reveals the undercurrent of violence which pervades chivalrous behaviour and the extent to which conventions of romance can be used to recast violent abduction as romantic rescue. 

In Part 3, I will connect the articulation of abduction in Octavian with contemporary ideologies of abduction and consent. 

Works Cited:

McSparran, Frances, ed. Octovian. Early English Text Society 289. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.
All translations of Octavian into modern English are my own. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Redefining Abduction: The Case of Octavian (part 1 of 3)

Jaroslav Čermák, The Abduction of a Herzegovenian 
Woman (1861). Image from Wikimedia Commons. 
Abduction. A literary motif, long used in fictional works, the abduction or captivity motif plays a significant role in popular medieval romance. Several Middle English romances refer to captivity and ransom, for example Richard Coeur de Lion, and buying and selling people, for example Guy of Warwick, Sir Isumbras and Floris and Blancheflur

This is the first of a three-part post about abduction in Middle English romance, which will look specifically at the late English romance, Octavian. This verse romance poses some interesting questions about the politics of abduction in medieval romance, namely how abduction can be redefined as protection or rescue.

In this first post, I offer some background on the contemporary context of abduction in the later Middle Ages, pointing out some of the differences between what we understand as abduction and rape today, compared with the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. The second post will focus on abduction in Octavian itself and the third will connect abduction in Octavian with contemporary discourses surrounding abduction and captivity.

In late medieval England, the threat of kidnap was, for some, very real. John Bellamy points out that the ‘charge of abduction […] [was] very common in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries’ (33) and that studies of statutes from the later Middle Ages reveal increasing sanctions for kidnap in England throughout the fourteenth century. Sue Sheridan Walker and Christopher Cannon have both noted an increase in the number of cases relating to ravishment of wards and wives in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. 

Henry Ansgar Kelly points out that historians have tended to focus on the kidnap of women, although it has been argued that the capture of male heirs was actually more prevalent. Yet, legal statutes in 1275, 1285 and 1382 specifically addressed the kidnap of women, suggesting that while others may have also been captured in the Middle Ages, kidnap was a significant problem for high status and wealthy women in the later Middle Ages, who may well have been the audience for Octavian; John Simons considers that the audience for Octavian were likely to have been merchants and lower members of the court circle not, as has previously been suggested, a popular low bourgeois audience (106-7). 

Bellamy notes that the ‘abduction of heiresses […] seems to have become commoner towards the end of the Middle Ages’ (32). Indeed, it has been suggested by Goldberg that kidnappings of marriageable women ‘were an established strategy within aristocratic culture’ (23). Caroline Dunn identified 556 cases brought between 1200 and 1500 which relate to the capture of women, 407 of which were considered in the fourteenth century. In fact, Dunn argues that the second half of the fourteenth century, the period in which Octavian was composed, was the period in which the highest number of cases of kidnap were brought in the Middle Ages. Octavian was thus written during a period when the capture of women was a particularly prominent social and legal concern. 

Yet, what exactly constituted kidnap in the Middle Ages? As has been pointed out, ideas of rape, capture, and forced marriage were interlinked in the Middle Ages. James A. Brundage argues that ‘notions of rape [in the Middle Ages] emerged from the raptus – literally carrying off by force – of the Roman law’ (141), of which sexual intercourse was not a necessary element. Brundage says that ‘medieval definitions of rape required abduction of the victim’  (144) and Bellamy posits that charges of rape and kidnap were often brought together. 

While rape and kidnap are discrete crimes today, in the Middle Ages such offences were regularly prosecuted as a single transgression, referred to by the term raptus which could indicate both abduction and rape. Isabelle Mast states: ‘it is often difficult to distinguish between rape as “forced coitus” and rape as “abduction”; the Latin raptus and rapere could mean either’ (104). 

Early medieval law distinguished between rape and abduction, but by the time of the first legal statute against abduction in 1275, the two crimes had become legally blurred. Corinne Saunders has argued persuasively for the close connection between rape and abduction and the frequent blurring of these concepts into the more generalised notion of raptus, which she argues is closest to the modern English term ‘ravishment’ (4). Kathryn Gravdal identifies the slippage in meaning from violent abduction to sexual pleasure of the thirteenth-century French term ravissement which, she argues, conflates ideas about women’s attractiveness and a man’s desire to rape. The distinctions between rape and abduction were, then, ambiguous. 

That the taking away of women in the late Middle Ages was closely linked to rape and that it was a concern for high-status women reveals the most common reasons for the capture of women. Kidnap was not carried out for reasons of political dissent, as it is in today’s Middle East, but was generally motivated by efforts to secure property and wealth. The easiest way to achieve this was through forced marriage. 

Dunn indicates that ‘men who sought economic and social promotion targeted wealthier widows, captured them, took them away from their families, forced them to speak words of matrimony in front of complicit priests, and raped them to consummate the marriage’ (92). It was not just widows who were at risk: the capture of wards (both male and female) was a significant issue with the motivation for kidnap often being to secure the wealth of the ward’s estate. A ward was a young man or woman below marriageable age (in the Middle Ages this was twelve for girls and fourteen for boys) who was placed into the legal care of an adult guardian. Wardship was a lucrative way to turn a profit in the Middle Ages; as Menuge observes, ‘large sums of money could be made from the sale of wards and their marriages’ (154).

This seems to have been the case in the kidnap of Alice de Rouclif, whose marriage had been arranged over a large sum of money which her prospective husband, John Marrays, was undoubtedly aiming to secure when he brought the case (Menuge, 160). Furthermore, laws against kidnap in the Middle Ages often figured the capture of a woman as loss of property for her husband, father or guardian. John Bellamy and Christoper Cannon both note that kidnapping was referred to as trespass, along with such crimes as ‘breaking into houses [and] taking goods’ (Bellamy, 33), which usually sought ‘financial compensation for the monetary loss incurred from the wrong’ (Cannon, 80). Contemporary cases thus reveal how ‘medieval men sought to retain possession of their ravishable women’ (Dunn, 116). This is kidnap for fiscal gain, not for politics.

So how, given the social and cultural anxiety surrounding abduction, can it be integrated successfully into a romance narrative? What changes need to be made to the discourse of abduction in order for abduction to become ‘heroic’? I will consider these questions in my next post, looking more closely at the abduction of the heroine, Marsabelle, by the hero, Florent, in the romance Octavian

Works Cited:
Bellamy, John. Crime and Public Order in England in the Later Middle Ages. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973.
Brundage, James A. ‘Rape and Seduction in the Medieval Canon Law.’ Sexual Practices & the Medieval Church. Ed. Vern L. Bullough and Brundage. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus Books, 1982. 141-148.
Cannon, Christopher. ‘Rapuits in the Chaumpaigne Release.’ Speculum 68.1 (1993): 74-94.
Dunn, Caroline. ‘The Language of Ravishment in Medieval England.’ Speculum 86.1 (2011): 79-116.
Goldberg, P. J. P. Communal Discord, Child Abduction and Rape in the Later Middle Ages. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2008.
Gravdal, Kathryn. Ravishing Maidens: Writing Rape in Medieval French Literature and Law. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991.
Kelly, Henry Ansgar. ‘Statutes of Rapes and Alleged Ravishers of Wives: A Context for the Charges against Thomas Malory, Knight.’ Viator 28 (1997): 361-419.
Mast, Isabelle. ‘Rape in John Gower’s Confessio Amantis and Other Related Works.’ Young Medieval Women. Ed. Katherine J. Lewis, Noël James Menuge and Kim M. Philips. Stroud: Sutton, 1999. 103-32.
Menuge, Noël James. ‘Female Wards and Marriage in Romance and Law: A Question of Consent.’ Young Medieval Women. Ed. Katherine J. Lewis, Menuge and Kim M. Phillips. Stroud: Sutton, 1999. 153-71.
Saunders, Corinne. Rape and Ravishment in the Literature of Medieval England. Cambridge: D.S. Brewer, 2001.
Simons, John. ‘Northern Octavian and the Question of Class.’ Romance in Medieval England. Ed. Maldwyn Mills, Jennifer Fellows and Carol M. Meale. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 1991. 105-11.
Walker, Sue Sheridan. ‘Punishing Convicted Ravishers: Statutory Strictures and Actual Practice in Thirteenth and Fourteenth-Century England.’ Journal of Medieval History 13 (1987): 237-50.