Re-dressing the Boundaries: The Challenge to Gender Identity in Two Fictional Twelfth-century Communities
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In this article I would like to examine the way in which two modern Scottish historical novelists, Margaret Elphinstone in Islanders, and Simon Taylor in Mortimer’s Deep, have examined gender through the recreation of twelfth-century communities. Each author has chosen a peripheralised geographical location which in some way represents an ideological frontier; in Islanders a frontier resistant to the influence of Christianity, and in Mortimer’s Deep, the challenge of homosexual desire to the frontiers of religious doctrine. Although each novel deals with a different aspect of twelfth-century society, this article discusses the fact that in both novels temporal location is significant in terms of relocating gender identities.