School of Humanities



Deborah Seiler

Phone: (+61 8) 6488 3405


Start date

Jan 2014

Submission date

Deborah Seiler


Medieval Bromance: Friendship Among Upperclass Men in Late Medieval England (c.1300-1400)


This thesis looks at late medieval (c.1300-1400) masculine self-perception within the framework of aristocratic 'friendship' - that is, an affective relationship not solely utilitarian. Current research on friendship broadly falls into two streams: political networks, and literary tropes of brotherhood, artificially dividing the topic. This project will add to current research by approaching ‘friendship’ between men from not only in terms of masculinity, sexuality, public standing and political advantage, but in terms of how affective interpersonal relationships between men in the late medieval period affected their self-perception and their notions of personal identity. The project will consider friendship in several lights: as part of an ongoing classical and medieval philosophical tradition, as a major cultural and ethical preoccupation, and as a feature of everyday life. The research will be based on a variety of primary sources, including chronicles, court documents, didactic literature, letters, satirical and political writings, propaganda, and romance.

Why my research is important

Just as we, as individuals, draw on, recreate, and use our personal histories to create our living identities, so, too, does society draw on its history for a sense of identity. My research adds to our understanding of relationships between upper-class men, who have held power in the West since records began. By better understanding their relationships in light of gender theory, we gain an understanding of how our modern society with its relationships has been shaped by that past. It sheds light on why we are the way we are, as well as allowing us to see both the continuities and differences we may wish to change or celebrate.