Wardship literature in romance used to illuminate the reality of wardship, and to further an understanding of legal history.
Studies of wardship in medieval England have so far only seriously concentrated on legal concerns, thus overlooking the intricacies and subtleties of wardship discourse as they are revealed in romance literature. Menuge explores how wardship literature in romance may be used in studies of wardship, and how it may complement an understanding of legal history. Wardship discourse is examined in a variety of sources - legal treatises, cases, and romance - andis discussed in the light of medieval and current perceptions of wardship. Questions are raised as to why and how wards, guardians, lords and families are constructed in the sources, and how these may be read as "narrative fictions" to tell us more about wardship construction and perception in author and audience alike. The issues addressed are those to do with inheritance, waste, legal age, marriage and guardianship care, while the dominant theme is the importance of the father and his legacy to the ward within this discourse.
NOEL JAMES MENUGE gained her D. Phil from the University of York.