This reference is a comprehensive guide to literature written 500 to 1500 A.D., a period that gave rise to some of the world's most enduring and influential works, such as Dante's Commedia, Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and a large body of Arthurian lore and legend. While its emphasis is upon medieval English texts and society, this reference also covers Islamic, Hispanic, Celtic, Mongolian, Germanic, Italian, and Russian literature and Middle Age culture.
Longer entries provide thorough coverage of major English authors such as Chaucer and Sir Thomas Malory, and of genre entries, such as drama, lyric, ballad, debate, saga, chronicle, and hagiography. Shorter entries examine particular literary works; significant kings, artists, explorers, and religious leaders; important themes, such as courtly love and chivalry; and major historical events, such as the Crusades. Each entry concludes with a brief biography. The volume closes with a list of the most valuable general works for further reading.