Heterotopia and T. H. White’s The Once and Future King
Keywords:Arthurian legends, heterotopia, middle ages, neo-medievalism, representation
Although a lot has been achieved in the history of humanity through discovering new lands and inventing new technologies, there is an undeniable heritage from the Middle Ages that has recently manifested itself through scholars’ “new” interpretations of the old. This is more evident with the neo-medievalist movement that emerged at the turn of the 20th century, especially in prominent literary works. This movement has been, in Umberto Eco’s words, a “quest for our roots” that continuously incites curiosity in our minds. Since it is part of the discussions of political theory and philosophy, neo-medievalism is also present in the postmodern discussions of representations and functionality. Heterotopia is one of those topics of postmodernist discussion that look at certain cultural, institutional and many other places to understand what is within and outside, how they are different in different perspectives and how power or powerlessness resides. As a popular topic for neo-medievalist works, Arthurian legends underline the myth of power and rightful ownership. In these legends and many of its recreations, places such as the Camelot play into this narrative of what it means to be a king. Therefore, it is aimed in this paper to investigate how T. H. White used heterotopic spaces as learning grounds for Arthur to become a king by studying his fantasy novel The Once and Future King (1958). Recreating the Arthurian legends, this work will be examined to understand how the functionality of heterotopic spaces are used within the frame of Michel Foucault’s The Order of Things (1971) and “Of Other Spaces” (1967).
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