Fairies in Medieval Romance

Overview

This study offers new approaches for considering the unique narrative possibilities of fairies in medieval romance, from Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britannie to Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur. James Wade provides a counter-reading to theories of the Celtic origins of medieval fairies and suggests ways in which these unusual figures can help us think about the internal logics of medieval romance.

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Fairies in Medieval Romance

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Overview

This study offers new approaches for considering the unique narrative possibilities of fairies in medieval romance, from Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britannie to Thomas Malory's Morte d'Arthur. James Wade provides a counter-reading to theories of the Celtic origins of medieval fairies and suggests ways in which these unusual figures can help us think about the internal logics of medieval romance.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A timely and important contribution both to the study of medieval romance, and to medieval cultural studies, breaking new methodological ground to exciting effect.”—Carolyne Larrington, Supernumerary Fellow in English, St John's College, Oxford University

“This stimulating, innovative, and notably well-written book should be required reading for all interested in medieval romance and folklore. Wade covers a wide range of medieval literature, both fiction and ‘history,’ and makes deft use of recent theoretical and philosophical work to explore the narratological uses of fairies and other ‘possible worlds.’”—Elizabeth Archibald, Professor of Medieval Literature, University of Bristol

“Unlike folklorists and historians, literary scholars have been strangely reluctant to tackle the omnipresent fairies of medieval narratives, and Wade's fascinating Fairies in Medieval Romance is the first book-length study in English to take the subject seriously since the days of C.S. Lewis. Drawing on possible-worlds theorists, Wade offers us a revitalized and nuanced discussion of the world-constructing powers of medieval authors that will be of great interest to narratologists and readers of fantasy fiction as well as mainstream medievalists. Rejecting the stereotype of the uninspired romance writer mechanically rehashing the half-forgotten superstitions of an earlier age, Wade presents us with a parade of active and inventive authors who employ the construction of fairyland to explore some of the most vital ideological concerns of the Middle Ages. An important book that should change the way we think about medieval popular romance.”—Richard Firth Green, Director of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, The Ohio State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780230110205
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
  • Publication date: 5/24/2011
  • Series: New Middle Ages Series
  • Pages: 226
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

James Wade is a Research Fellow at Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

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Table of Contents

Fairies and Humans Between Possible Worlds
• Avalon: Simulacra and Fictional Facts
• Beyond Orthodoxy: Tests and Quests
• Fairy Mistresses: Gifts and Taboos

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