Expectations of Romance
Title Details

274 Pages

23.4 x 15.6 cm

2 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Studies in Medieval Romance

Imprint: D.S.Brewer

Expectations of Romance

The Reception of a Genre in Medieval England

by Melissa Furrow

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Reviews
What did medieval readers think of romance? Their attitudes to it, and the implications for the genre, are explored in this provocative study.
An important and powerful meditation on romance genre, reception and ethical/moral purpose -- amongst many other aspects of romance. Professor ROBERT ROUSE, University of British Columbia.

Medieval readers, like modern ones, differed in whether they saw "noble storie, and worthie for to drawen to memorie" in romance, or "drasty rymyng, nat worth a toord". This book tackles the task of discerning what were the medieval expectations of the genrein England: the evidence, and the implications. Safe for monastic, trained readers, romances provided moral examples. But not all readers saw that role as valid, desirable, or to the point, and not all readers were monks.
Working from what was central to medieval readers' concept of the genre from the twelfth century onward, the book sees the changing linguistic, literary, religious and political contexts through such heterogeneous lenses as Denis Piramus, Robert Manning, and Walter Map; Guy of Warwick and Guenevere; chansons de geste and fabliaux; Tristram and Isolde and John Gower's uses of the pair as exemplary; Geoffrey Chaucer as reader and writer ofromance; and the Lollards, clergy, and didacts of the fifteenth century.

MELISSA FURROW is Professor of English at Dalhousie University.
The Problem with Romance
The Name and the Genre
Genres, Language, and Literary History
The Example of Tristram and Isolde
Making Free with the Truth
Coda: The Reception of a Genre
Appendix: Romances and the Male Regular Clergy by Order
Bibliography
"A well-structured, in-depth study of how the first readers of medieval romances responded to these texts." ANGLIA
"Will surely be welcomed by many scholars of Middle English romance both for contributing a number of new insights and for affirming a number of currently popular theories." ARTHURIANA
"Furrow marshals her material well, interspersing her critical arguments with textual exemplars that allow the discussion to move forward as well as providing her reader with a functional model through which to think about this problematic genre and its reception." ENGLISH
"Offers extensive and fascinating evidence of the lives romance lived throughout medieval England. [...] It offers a significant redirection of our reception of English romance." SPECULUM
"A rich and suggestive book, it gives us a new model for considering not only how romances were read in different contexts, but also, perhaps more acutely, how they were written to be read." MEDIUM AEVUM
"A detailed and intriguing study of the ways in which medieval readers may have approached and understood these texts. [...] In its sophisticated consideration of genre in social, political and even material, as well as literary, contexts, Expectations of Romance makes a significant contribution to the study of genre theory as it applies to insular medieval writing." REVIEW OF ENGLISH STUDIES
"This a scholarly work, drawing on a wide range of data. It contains excellent readings." MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

Hardcover

9781843842071

November 2009

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Ebook (EPDF)

9781846157240

November 2009

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Title Details

274 Pages

2.34 x 1.56 cm

2 b/w. Illustrations

Series: Studies in Medieval Romance

Imprint: D.S.Brewer