The essays here reconsider the protean nature of Middle English romance. The contributors examine both the cultural unity of romance and its many variations, reiterations and reimaginings, including its contexts and engagements with other discourses and forms, as they were "rewritten" during the Middle Ages and beyond. Ranging across popular, anonymous English and courtly romances, and taking in the works of Chaucer and Arthurian romance (rarely treated together), in connection with continental sources and analogues, the chapters probe this fluid and creative genre to ask just how comfortable, and how flexible, are its nature and aims? How were Middle English romances rewritten to accommodate contemporary concerns and generic expectations? What can attention to narrative techniques and conventional gestures reveal about the reassurances romances offer, or the questions they ask? How do romances' central concerns with secular ideals and conduct intersect with spiritual priorities? And how are romances transformed or received in later periods? The volume is also a tribute to the significance and influence of the work of Professor Helen Cooper on romance.
Elizabeth Archibald is Professor of English Studies at Durham University; Megan G. Leitch is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at Cardiff University; Corinne Saunders is Professor of English and Co-Director of the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University.
Contributors: Elizabeth Archibald, Julia Boffey, Christopher Cannon, Neil Cartlidge, Miriam Edlich-Muth, A.S.G. Edwards, Marcel Elias, Megan Leitch, Andrew Lynch, Jill Mann, Marco Nievergelt, Ad Putter, Corinne Saunders, Barry Windeatt, R.F. Yeager