Spatial niches of medieval knightsMay 19, 2010
Anatole Fuksas, has been explaining the niche ideas in medieval courtly novels.
I find the following points really interesting because for me they are related with tags as space dimensions and how we may create such spaces in course of action, what such spaces might allow us, and how we perceive and interact with the reduced tag-dimensions of the space.
The medieval courtly novel describes a world of adventures which is built around the knights and their much needed achievements.
Topographic descriptions define the right path to adventure, a narrow scenario which stays the same over time so as to preserve untouched the opportunities for adventure it entails and the challenges it potentially offers to the knight who finds it.
Environmental descriptions in medieval courtly novels feature very consistent «taskscapes» instead of proper landscapes.
The protagonists of medieval courtly novels are mostly knights who belong to the same ‘species’ and the same ‘race’, so that their different reactions to the environmental challenges do not define the borders of different ecological niches.
This is a bit confusing in his explanation, i think that the species as such can define a niche, not one knight as the specimen of the species. Actually… The question is, do knights represent one species-specific niche, or do their different goals will represent different niches. What i believe is that in case of adopting ecology terms (specimen, species, community, niche) to humans we need to consider that the different goals/mindsets one human can take might enable a human to simultaneously be part of and develop different niches. What i say is human defined niches are goal-specific taskspaces, and we can adapt ourselves to many taskspaces
Provided that they share a common idea of society and nature, they perceive the very same affordances. Accordingly, the different way they respond to the environmental challenges does not imply that their conflicting options define the borders of different realities, even when their approaches to adventure radically differ.
Different adaptation of protagonists (knights) to the very same environment define the borders of different niches, to the point that multiple autonomous or overlapping niches may either conflict or merge into the very same novel.
Here i would say that individuals knights take perspectives of the niche space – this will determine their trajectories, or positions in the knightly species niche.
Conflicting niches /or perspectives/ typically emerge from the adoption of different character-specific perspectives for describing the very same events.
Conflictual interaction between different character-specific perspectives, which define the borders of different ecological niches, determines both the extent and the complexity of the ecosystem described in a novel.
It is not clearly described how conflict interaction would define the borders of such niches. I think borders of taskspecific niches will create the potential for conflicts – especially if the same person has to choose in the course of adoption which taskspace (niche) he should adapt himself in the current moment.
Basically, medieval novelists seem to be interested in describing conflictual situations which emerge among conspecific individuals who adopt different positions in the very same ecological niche.
I think knights adopt different positions in the taskspaces (subspaces or niches) that are situated in the bigger knightly species-specific niche.
In novels, time is fragmented in segments so as to subserve the description of various adventures which take place in a deformed space resulting from a subjective emotional play with distance and proximity.
It would be interesting to elaborate the issue of spatial trajectories in the niche and consider what is the role of time and events in this spatial movement in taskspecific niches of the knightly niche.
I believe that the spatial view of courtly novel storytelling, if we take the niche as this tasksspace where people interact, will show few positions in taskspace where certain knight is, and the trajectory of the novel would fluctuate between these spatial attractor points.
The beauty in what Anatole wrote is the idea, that deliberately, to make the novel space perceptible, its dimensions are lessened compared with the reality.
And thus the reader can imagine better the niche as a multidimensional space which has only certain (not too many) dimensions.
So it becomes possible to visualise the adventures as the movement between few spatial areas in this knightly niche.
Anyway, i think this idea is wonderfully well in line and inspiring to my own spatial storytelling experiments in hybrid ecosystem.