A Companion to Romance: From Classical to Contemporary / Edition 1

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Romance is a varied and fluid literary genre, notoriously difficult to define. This groundbreaking Companion surveys the many permutations of romance throughout the ages.

  • Considers the literary and historical development of the romance genre from its classical origins to the present day
  • Incorporates discussion of the changing readership of romance and of romance’s special relation to women readers
  • Comprises 30 essays written by leading authorities on different periods and sub-genres
  • Challenges the idea that the appeal of romance is exclusively escapist
  • Draws on a wide range of specific and influential literary examples
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Acknowledging the difficulty of defining "romance," Saunders and the contributors collectively produce a volume that offers a more comprehensive survey of the literature—including its historical, national, and generic varieties—than have previous standard works on the subject…Some of the essays—e.g., Helen Cooper's "Malory and the Early Prose Romances" and Richard Cronin's "Victorian Romance: Medievalism"—are exemplary in the quality of their writing, scholarship, and critical perception…Highly recommended.”

"... It would be worth acquiring for an academic humanities collection and, from my own experience, would be particulary useful for English literature students at undergraduate and postgraduate level."
Reference Review

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Corinne Saunders is a Reader in Medieval Literature at the University of Durham. Her previous publications include The Forest of Medieval Romance (1993), Rape and Ravishment in the Literature of Medieval England (2001) and Chaucer (2001) in the Blackwell Guides to Criticism series.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations.


Notes on Contributors.


1. Ancient Romance. (Elizabeth Archibald).

2. Insular Beginnings: Anglo-Norman Romance. (Judith Weiss).

3. The Popular English Metrical Romances. (Derek Brewer).

4. Arthurian Romance. (W. R. J. Barron).

5. Chaucer's Romances. (Corinne Saunders).

6. Malory and the Early Prose Romances. (Helen Cooper).

7. Gendering Prose Romance in Renaissance England. (Lori Humphrey Newcomb).

8. Sidney and Spenser. (Andrew King).

9. Shakespeare's Romances. (David Fuller).

10. Chapbooks and Penny Histories. (John Simons).

11. The Faerie Queene and Eighteenth-Century Spenserianism. (David Fairer).

12. "Gothic" Romance: Its Origins and Cultural Functions. (Jerrold E. Hogle).

13. Women's Gothic Romance: Writers, Readers, and the Pleasures of the Form. (Lisa Vargo).

14. Paradise and Cotton-mill: Re-reading Eighteenth-Century Romance. (Clive Probyn).

15. "Inconsistent Rhapsodies". Samuel Richardson and the Politics of Romance. (Fiona Price).

16. Romance and the Romantic Novel: Sir Walter Scott. (Fiona Robertson).

17. Poetry of the Romantic Period: Coleridge and Keats. (Michael O'Neill).

18. Victorian Romance: Tennyson. (Leonée Ormond).

19. Victorian Romance. (Richard Cronin).

20. Romance and Victorian Autobiography. Magaret Oliphant, Edmund Grosse and John Ruskin's 'needle to the north'. (Francis O'Gorman).

21. Victorian Romance: Romance and Mystery. (Andrew Sanders).

22. Nineteenth-Century Adventure and Fantasy. (James Morier, George Meredith, Lewis Carroll and Robert Louis Stevenson, Robert Fraser).

23. Into the Twentieth-Century: Imperial Romance from Haggard to Buchan. (Susan Jones).

24. America and Romance. (Ulrika Maude).

25. Myth, Legend and Romance in Yeats, Pound and Eliot. (Edward Larrissy).

26. Twentieth-Century Arthurian Romance. (Raymond H. Thompson).

27. Romance in Fantasy Through the Twentieth Century. (Richard Mathews).

28. Quest Romance in Science Fiction. (Kathryn Hume).

29. Between Worlds. Iris Murdoch, A. S. Byatt and Romance. (Clare Morgan).

30. Popular Romance and its Readers. (Lynne Pearce).

Epilogue: Into the Twenty-First Century. (Corinne J. Saunders).


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