Originally published in 1990, Memorization in the Transmission of the Middle English Romances tackles the long-standing issue of the role of memorization in the transmission of Middle English romances. The book addresses the lack of consensus on the issue, despite extensive discussion, putting forth the theory that the heterogeneity of the poems of this period, grouped under the general heading of ‘medieval romance’, makes generalizations about the history of transmissions unreliable. The book suggests that oral-formulaic theory has been applied over-literally to oral or oral derived works, through the assumption that all poems answer the same structural criteria. The book also looks at the aspects of orality and performance theory alongside the textuality and intertextuality of these medieval texts.
General Editor’s Foreword
1. The Oral Theory and Textual Variation
2. Identifying Memorized Texts
3. Primary Evidence of Memorization
4. Other Effects of Memorization
Conclusion: The Minstrels and the Romances
Appendix: Manuscripts and Stemmata
The volumes in this set, originally published between 1938 and 1994, draw together research by leading academics in the area of medieval history and medieval literature, and provide a rigorous examination of related key issues. The volume examines medieval history from the early Middle Ages, right up until the Reformation, as well as the effect of the medieval period on later cultures, such as the Victorians. This collection draws together books on the monarchy, medieval philosophy, religion, art, music, psychology and architecture as well as volumes on medieval archeology. The collection also brings together key volumes on medieval literature of the period, with formative works examining medieval religious literature, medieval legends and oral tradition. The collection also includes titles examining specific poems from the period such as Piers Plowman, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and The Pearl, as well as volumes on influential writers of the period such as Jean Froissant, John Lydgate and Margery Kempe. This collection brings back into print a collection of insightful and detailed books on the diverse medieval period and will be a must have resource for academics and students, not only of history and literature, but of anthropology, music, psychology and religion.