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Gaunt (French, King's Coll., London) and Kay (French, Princeton Univ.) offer students and scholars a new way of examining medieval French literature. Their book is not chronologically organized and not a literary history but rather an agenda for research students and teachers of medieval French. The editors ask four questions, under which they group included essays: What is a medieval text? What is a medieval French author? What is the value of genre for medieval French literature? How can we read medieval French literature historically? Adrian Armstrong (early French culture, Univ. of Manchester) contributes a piece on the Testament of François Villon demonstrating his unstable persona and his use of elements of other poets. Under the section dealing with the importance of genre in a medieval text, Jane H.M. Taylor (French, Durham Univ.) discusses medieval lyrical poetry. Simon P. Simpson (French, Univ. of Glasgow) demonstrates how medieval French literature can be read in the context of historical events. This book offers a new approach for students and scholars studying French literature. Highly recommended for academic libraries.
—Bob T. Ivey