Cultural Encounters in the Romance of Medieval Englandby Corinne Saunders (Editor)
Cultural encounter necessarily defines and shapes the romances of medieval England: the fluidity and openness that characterise the romance genre allow it to flourish with particular strength in a world distinguished by its different cultural layers. The essays in this collection consider both the early insular tradition and later Middle English traditions - classical, Anglo-Saxon and Continental, and the intersection of lay and clerical, as well as the meeting of genres themselves, in particular romance and chronicle. Romance, history and politics are shown to intersect within individual works, while romances also oppose the past and present, savage and civilised, real and ideal, and reflect on the particular cultural dynamics of gender and politics; equally, different cultures meet in the rewriting of material from French to English, from clerical to secular, from medieval to Renaissance. Romance is shown to be a highly self-conscious mode, as English romanciers play with and reshape its conventions and expectations, and its intersection with reality, in a variety of ways.
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