Heroes and Anti-Heroes in Medieval Romance

Heroes and Anti-Heroes in Medieval Romance

Edited by Neil Cartlidge

Investigations into the heroic - or not - behaviour of the protagonists of medieval romance.
Medieval romances so insistently celebrate the triumphs of heroes and the discomfiture of villains that they discourage recognition of just how morally ambiguous, antisocial or even downright sinister their protagonists can be, and, correspondingly, of just how admirable or impressive their defeated opponents often are. This tension between the heroic and the antiheroic makes a major contribution to the dramatic complexity of medieval romance, but it is not an aspect of the genre that has been frequently discussed up until now. Focusing on fourteen distinct characters and character-types in medieval narrative, this book illustrates the range of different ways in which the imaginative power and appeal of romance-texts often depend on contradictions implicit in the very ideal of heroism.

Dr Neil Cartlidge is Lecturer in English at the University of Durham.

Contributors: Neil Cartlidge, Penny Eley, David Ashurst, Meg Lamont, Laura Ashe, Judith Weiss, Gareth Griffith, Kate McClune, Nancy Mason Bradbury, Ad Putter, Robert Rouse, Siobhain Bly Calkin, James Wade, Stephanie Vierick Gibbs Kamath

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Table of Contents

Introduction - Neil Cartlidge
Turnus - Penny Eley
Alexander the Great - David Ashurst
Hengist - Margaret Lamont
Harold Godwineson - Laura Ashe
Mordred - Judith Weiss
Merlin - Gareth Griffith
Gawain - Kate McClune
Gamelyn - Nancy Mason Bradbury
Ralph the Collier - Ad Putter
The Anti-heroic Heart - Stephanie Kamath
Crusaders - Robert Rouse
Saracens - Siobhain Bly Calkin
Ungallant Knights - James Wade
Sons of Devils - Neil Cartlidge


Sheds new light on the romance genre by asking some innovative questions about the nature of the conventional romance protagonist....It should prove a valuable addition to the study of a genre of writing that has still not been fully appreciated. HORTULUS JOURNAL

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