The Spirit of Medieval English Popular Romance: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Spirit of Medieval English Popular Romance

1st Edition

By Ad Putter, Jane Gilbert


310 pages

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The Middle English popular romances enjoyed a wide appeal in later medieval Britain, and even today students of medieval literature will encounter examples of the genre, such as Sir Orfeo, Sir Tristrem, and Sir Launfal. This collection of twelve specially commissioned essays is designed to meet the need for a stimulating guide to the genre. Each essay introduces one popular romance, setting it in its literary and historical contexts, and develops an original interpretation that reveals the possibilities that popular romances offer for modern literary criticism. A substantial introduction by the editors discusses the production and transmission of popular romances in the Middle Ages, and considers the modern reception of popular romance and the interpretative challenges offered by new theoretical approaches.

Accessible to advanced students of English, this book is also of interest to those working in the field of medieval studies, comparative literature, and popular culture.


'…..these new essays offer varied and thoughtful approaches to a group of relatively little known romances, and are successful in demonstrating their interest for the literary critic as well as the historian or linguist.' Corinne Saunders, Notes and Queries. 'The book is worth recommending to students as an accessible starting point…' Christopher Dyer, University of Leicester 'The reading of the articles proves in itself to be an entertaining, aesthetically satisfying and scholarly redeeming act and whets the reader's appetitie for the original texts…' - Dr Thomas Honegger, Chair of Medieval Studies, Friedrich-Schiller-Universitat Jena.

Table of Contents


Notes on references and abbreviations


Chapter 1 Lai le Freine: The Female Foundling and the Prolem of Romance Genre

Chapter 2 Lanval to Sir Laurifal: A Story Becomes Popular

Chapter 3 The Tale ef Gamelyn: Class Warfare and the Embarrassments of Genre

Chhapter 4 The Romance Hypothetical: Lordship and the Saracens in Sir Isumbras

Chapter 5 Violence, Narrative and Proper Name: Sir Degare, 'The Tale of Sir Gareth of Orkney', and the Folie Tristan d'OxfOrd

Chapter 6 Loving Beasts: The Romance of William ef Paleme

Chapter 7: The Narrative Logic of Emare

Chapter 8 Tiie Seege ef Troye: 'ff or wham was wakened al this wo'?

Chapter 9 Romance and Its Discontents in Eger and Grime

Chapter 10 From Beyond the Grave: Darkness at Noon in Tiie Awnfyrs qff Arthure

Chapter 11 Gender, Oaths and Ambiguity in Sir Tristrem and Beroul's Roman de Tristan

Chapter 12 Sir Difeo: Madness and Gender


Notes on contributors


About the Authors

Ad Putter is Lecturer in the English Department of the University of Bristol, and also works for the Centre for Medieval Studies at Bristol. He is author of various books and articles on medieval literature, including An Introduction to the Gawain poet also published by Longman.

Jane Gilbert is Lecturer in French at University College London. She is the author of several articles on medieval French and English romances.

About the Series

Longman Medieval and Renaissance Library

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Ancient & Classical