Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Medieval Romance, Medieval Contexts

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Medieval Romance, Medieval Contexts

Article excerpt

Medieval Romance, Medieval Contexts, ed. Rhiannon Purdie and Michael Cichon, Studies in Medieval Romance 14 (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2011). 195 pp. ISBN 978-1-84384260-6. £50.00. The papers assembled in this volume are a selection of those given at the biennial 'Romance in Medieval Britain' conference held at St Andrew's in 2008, and are a reminder of how influential those conferences have been in promoting the study of the less well-known romances. The first paper, Derek Pearsall's 'The pleasure of popular romance: a prefatory essa/, sets out to show how far we have come in the last few decades: in this new conspectus, designed in part as a retraction of his own muchcited article of 1965, he emphasizes how the sheer enjoyment given by the romances overrides the dismissive tone of earlier critics, himself included. The final essay, Rosalind Field's '"Pur les francs homes amender": clerical authors and the thirteenth-century context of historical romance', offers another revisionary broad conspectus, to argue that the Anglo-Norman writers of romance set out to give 'a lesson not so much in courtoisie as in civics', persuading their audiences to accept 'their wider responsibility to a concept of the realm which is in some ill-defined way larger than the possession of the monarch'. …

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