Bards and Gleemen: From the mriddle ages to robert Jordan's the wheel of time

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Abstract

In Robert Jordan's work, The Wheel of Time (1990-2013), particularly in the character of Thom Merrilin, we can see a reflection of the paradigm of the itinerant poet from medieval times. From the classical period until the appearance of the printing press, Europe witnessed the existence of multiple types of poet. What this article aims at is to understand how Jordan's Thom Merrilin corresponds to the figure of the gleeman and bard known during the Middle Ages. However, it is essential to determine the different types of poet so we can narrow them to those that best resemble Thom and his condition as a gleeman and former court bard. After identifying the multiple composers and poets, it is important to know how they work; whether they are employed by a patron or wander the lands as storytellers; what materials they use, and what stories they tell. The Wheel of Time also presents some examples of the various types of entertainers, which will be used in this article in order to differentiate the most renowned types, the ones employed by nobles, and the simplest ones, usually employed in inns and taverns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-135
Number of pages19
JournalAnglo Saxonica
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

Keywords

  • Gleemen
  • Itinerant poets
  • Robert Jordan
  • Thom Merrilin
  • Wheel of Time

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