minimizing the personal element. The center ceases to be an individual to whom loyalty is due and becomes the court of an individual king, such as Arthur or Charlemagne, to which a set of abstract values is attached quite independent of the character of the ruler himself. The relation between the individual hero and the epic center is the common feature of virtually all medieval narrative poetry, whether it be categorized in literary history as popular epic, chanson degeste or romance. Each of these types does indeed develop certain characteristics in its treatment of which the most striking are the strongly feminized court of the Arthurian romances and the development of tension between two epic centers in the Grail romances, but the epic center always remains the structural determinant, and the dialog between it and the hero the most satisfying approach to the study of the works. Just as the form of the classical epic invariably showed a beginning of the narrative in mediis rebus, so the medieval epic shows a form built around an epic center, a form which authors could manipulate as they saw fit and which was sure of recognition by their audience.
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Publication information: Book title: The Challenge of the Medieval Text:Studies in Genre and Interpretation. Contributors: W. T. H. Jackson - Author, Joan M. Ferrante - Editor, Robert W. Hanning - Editor. Publisher: Columbia University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1985. Page number: 124.
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