The French Tradition and the Literature of Medieval England

Overview

The French presence in English literary history in the centuries following the Conquest has to some extent been glossed over or treated as an interlude. During this period, roughly 1100 - 1420, French, like Latin, was the language of the educated; in the courts of England, and for nobles, clerics, and the rising commercial elements, communication was multilingual.

In his ground-breaking study, William Calin explores indepth this era of medieval English literature and culture in ...

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Overview

The French presence in English literary history in the centuries following the Conquest has to some extent been glossed over or treated as an interlude. During this period, roughly 1100 - 1420, French, like Latin, was the language of the educated; in the courts of England, and for nobles, clerics, and the rising commercial elements, communication was multilingual.

In his ground-breaking study, William Calin explores indepth this era of medieval English literature and culture in relation to its distinctly French influences and contemporaries. He examines the Anglo-Norman contribution to medieval literature, concentrating on romance and hagiography; the great continental French texts, such as Prose Lancelot and the Romance of the Rose, which had a dominant role in shaping literature in English; and the English response to the French cultural world - the two 'modes' in English where the French presence was most significant: court poetry (Chaucer, Gower, Hoccleve) and Middle English romance.

This book is grounded in French sources both well-known and relatively obscure. Translations of the Old French make The French Tradition and the Literature of Medieval England accessible to scholars and students of Medieval English, comparatists, and historians, as well as those proficient in French. Calin develops a synthesis of medieval French and English literature that will be especially useful for classroom study.

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Editorial Reviews

Ruth Morse

'This large book houses a large claim: that the interaction of culture transcends the question-begging limitations of periodization and the nation-state to create a literary unity which is recognizable beyond (but also through) linguistic difference.'

C. David Benson

'In addition to making a case for the value of some often neglected French texts, the greatest contribution of this book is in reminding us again of the thematic and stylistic similarities between the literatures of France and England during the late Middle Ages.'

Duncan Robertson

'From Anglo-Norman to continental French and back into English, Calin's journey follows the development of a linguistic and cultural "continuum," as he rightly insists it is. Along the way he even-handedly disposes of some familiar critical mythologies - those of "Whig literary history," and those created by Old French scholars under the spell of Romantic nationalism - in order to illuminate a body of literature which has only recently entered the medievalist canon.'

R. Barton Palmer

'William Calin has succeeded in this well-written, extensively documented, and amazingly erudite study.'

Mary-Jo Arn

'The French Tradition is a tour de force. Calin ranges over two literatures and two cultures with the ease and sophistication he claims for Chaucer; his own book, itself a collection of stories and an exercise in intertextuality, is a mise en abyme of the body of work he explicates so brilliantly.'

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802072023
  • Publisher: University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
  • Publication date: 10/14/1994
  • Series: University of Toronto Romance Series
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 604
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.70 (d)

Meet the Author

William Calin is a graduate research professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at the University of Florida.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction 3
Pt. 1 Anglo-Norman Narrative 17
I Romance 22
1 Marie de France 22
Lanval 23
Yonec 28
Chevrefoil 32
Laustic 36
2 Le Roman de Tristan 41
Beroul 41
Thomas 49
3 Ipomedon 57
4 Amadas et Ydoine 71
5 Gui de Warewic 80
II Vitae 88
Saint Lawrence 89
Saint Margaret 95
Saint Catherine 101
Saint Giles 106
Saint Mary of Egypt 112
Pt. 2 The Continental French Legacy 121
1 Huon de Bordeaux 126
2 The Prose Lancelot 138
3 Le Roman de la Rose 161
Guillaume de Lorris 162
Jean de Meun 169
4 Guillaume de Digulleville 184
Pelerinage de la Vie humaine 185
Pelerinage de l'Ame 195
5 Machaut 198
Remede de Fortune 198
Le Jugement dou Roy de Navarre 205
La Fonteinne amoureuse 212
Le Voir Dit 219
6 Froissart 229
7 Chartier 250
Pt. 3 English Court Poetry 267
I Chaucer 273
1 The Book of the Duchess 276
2 Prologue to the Legend of Good Women 289
3 The Canterbury Tales 301
The Reeve's Tale 304
The Merchant's Tale 315
The Wife of Bath's Prologue and Tale 326
The Pardoner's Prologue and Tale 337
The Franklin's Tale 347
The Manciple's Tale 356
II Gower 371
1 Mirour de l'Omme 372
2 Cinkante Balades 380
3 Confessio Amantis 385
III Hoccleve 399
1 The Letter of Cupid 401
2 Lyrics 403
3 La Male Regle 405
4 Regement of Princes 407
5 The Remonstrance against Oldcastle 411
6 The Series 412
Pt. 4 Middle English Romance 425
I Verse Romance 427
Theoretical Introduction 427
Ywain and Gawain 457
Sir Degare 464
The Earl of Toulouse 468
Floris and Blauncheflur 473
William of Palerne 478
Amis and Amiloun 483
Athelson 490
II Prose Romance 498
Caxton 499
Malory 502
Conclusion 513
Notes 521
Bibliography 527
Index 571
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