As the point of origin, both real and imagined, of English law and group identity, the Anglo-Saxon past was important in the construction of a post-Conquest English society that was both aware of, and placed great stock in, its Anglo-Saxon heritage; yet its depiction in post-Conquest literature has been very little studied. This book examines a wide range of sources (legal and historiographical as well as literary) in order to reveal a "social construction" of Anglo-Saxon England that held a significant place in the literary and cultural imagination of the post-Conquest English. Using a variety of texts, but the Matter of England romances in particular, the author argues that they show a continued interest in the Anglo-Saxon past, from the localised East Sussex legend of King Alfred that underlies the twelfth-century Proverbs of Alfred, to the institutional interest in the Guy of Warwick narrative exhibited by the community of St. Swithun's Priory in Winchester during the fifteenth century; they are part of a continued cultural remembrance that encompasses chronicles, folk memories, and literature. Dr ROBERT ALLLEN ROUSE teaches in the Department of English, University of British Columbia.
About the Author
Associate Professor, Department of English at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada