Cultural Difference and Material Culture in Middle English Romance

Normans and Saxons

By Dominique Battles

© 2013 – Routledge

220 pages

Purchasing Options:
Hardback: 9780415877985
pub: 2013-03-12
US Dollars$145.00

About the Book

This book explores how the cultural distinctions and conflicts between Anglo-Saxons and Normans originating with the Norman Conquest of 1066 prevailed well into the fourteenth century and are manifest in a significant number of Middle English romances including King Horn, Havelok the Dane, Sir Orfeo, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and others. Specifically, the study looks at how the material culture of these poems (architecture, battle tactic, landscapes) systematically and persistently distinguishes between Norman and Anglo-Saxon cultural identity. Additionally, it examines the influence of the English Outlaw Tradition, itself grounded in Anglo-Saxon resistance to the Norman Conquest, as expressed in specific recurring scenes (disguise and infiltration, forest exile) found in many Middle English romances. In the broadest sense, a significant number of Middle English romances, including some of the most well-read and often-taught, set up a dichotomy of two ruling houses headed by a powerful lord, who compete for power and influence. This book examines the cultural heritage behind each of these pairings to show how poets repeatedly contrast essentially Norman and Anglo-Saxon values and ruling styles.


'This book is in some ways very ambitious and asks good questions, while providing some intriguing possible answers.' - Cory James Rushton, St. Francis Xavier University, Speculum

Table of Contents

Introduction 1. Plotting Conquest 2. Castle Architecture and English Identity 3. Forest Landscapes and Forest Exile 4. The Greenwood Tradition: English Heroes and English Outlaws Conclusion

About the Author

Dominique Battles is Professor of English at Hanover College, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in Medieval Literature and Culture

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / History / Medieval
HISTORY / Medieval