Epic and Romance: Essays on Medieval Literature

Epic and Romance: Essays on Medieval Literature

Epic and Romance: Essays on Medieval Literature

Epic and Romance: Essays on Medieval Literature

Excerpt

These essays are intended as a general description of some of the principal forms of narrative literature in the Middle Ages, and as a review of some of the more interesting works in each period. It is hardly necessary to say that the conclusion is one "in which nothing is concluded," and that whole tracts of literature have been barely touched on -- the English metrical romances, the Middle High German poems, the ballads, Northern and Southern -- which would require to be considered in any systematic treatment of this part of history.

Many serious difficulties have been evaded (in Finnesburh, more particularly), and many things have been taken for granted, too easily. My apology must be that there seemed to be certain results available for criticism, apart from the more strict and scientific procedure which is required to solve the more difficult problems of Beowulf or of the old Northern or the old French poetry. It is hoped that something may be gained by a less minute and exacting consideration of the whole field, and by an attempt to bring the more distant and dissociated . . .

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