Medieval French Romance

Overview

Romance was one of the major genres of the European Middle Ages. Emerging in the twelfth-century from both oral and written traditions, medieval romance evolved in verse and prose until by the sixteenth century the recognizable form of the classic novel was starting to appear. In Medieval French Romance, Douglas Kelly provides a clear and comprehensive survey of the many branches and subgenres of romance. He traces the evolution and adaptation of lays, chronicles, epic, chansons de geste, allegory, and other ...
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Overview

Romance was one of the major genres of the European Middle Ages. Emerging in the twelfth-century from both oral and written traditions, medieval romance evolved in verse and prose until by the sixteenth century the recognizable form of the classic novel was starting to appear. In Medieval French Romance, Douglas Kelly provides a clear and comprehensive survey of the many branches and subgenres of romance. He traces the evolution and adaptation of lays, chronicles, epic, chansons de geste, allegory, and other prose and verse forms, describes the elements that characterized each of these genres, and explains their relationship to and influence on romance. Chretien de Troyes, the most celebrated of the romance writers, asserted in the second half of the twelfth century that a true romance was distinguished from mere storytelling by la molt bele conjointure - the beautiful combination of elements, which made a story meaningful and entertaining for its audience. Certain stories and heroes were favorite themes in medieval romance, such as the Arthurian cycle, including Lancelot, Perceval, and the other knights of the Round Table; the Grail quest; Tristan and Iseult; and tales of courtly love and marvellous adventure. The book traces the development of these legends, many of which are still well known to us today, as they were interwoven through the centuries with lesser-known stories, historical chronicles, moral allegories, and epics. Douglas Kelly also introduces the reader to the literary and cultural context in which romances were commissioned, written, and read. He shows how the writing was influenced by both the intended audience and the patron or patroness - for there were many noble ladies who patronized and commissioned romance writers. He explains why, for serious subjects, prose was considered more "truthful" than verse. In a section that will be particularly useful to serious students of medieval literature yet also fascinating to the general reader, Prof
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
A broad survey of the many branches and subgenres of romance from the 12th to the 16th century, including the evolution and adaptation and characteristics of lays, chronicles, epics, chansons de geste, allegory, and other prose and verse forms. Also explores the cultural contexts and purposes of the works. Excerpts are in French and English. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780805782820
  • Publisher: Cengage Gale
  • Publication date: 8/1/1993
  • Series: World Authors Series
  • Pages: 221

Table of Contents

Abbreviations
Preface
Chronology
Introduction
Ch. 1 Emergence and Evolution 1
Protoromance 2
Ch. 2 Twelfth-Century Verse Romance 14
The Tristan Romances 14
Chretien de Troyes 16
Other Arthurian Romances 19
Grail Romances 20
Non-Arthurian Romances 27
Ch. 3 Thirteenth-Century Prose Romance 34
Arthurian Prose Romance 35
Non-Arthurian Prose Romance 50
Ch. 4 Thirteenth-Century Verse Romance 54
Arthurian Romances 55
Narrative Lays 64
Romancing of Epic 64
Non-Arthurian Romances 65
Allegorical Romance 69
Ch. 5 Romance after 1300 72
Amalgams and Compilations 73
Single Works in Verse and Prose 75
Emergence of the Novel 75
The Sixteenth Century 76
Ch. 6 Sources of Romance 78
Patrons, Patronage, and Audiences 78
Antecedent Sources, Reception, and Transmission 81
The Art of Romance Invention 87
Medieval Historiography 93
Ch. 7 Special Topics 98
Textual Editing and Editions 98
Genre 101
Adaptation 106
Prosody and Prose Style 112
Social and Moral Ideals 121
Traditional Philology and Modern Criticism 130
Notes 139
Glossary 157
Bibliography 162
Index 203
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