The Idea of Anglo-Saxon England in Middle English Romance

The Idea of Anglo-Saxon England in Middle English Romance

Robert Allen Rouse





Investigation into the importance of the Anglo-Saxon past in medieval literature.
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.


May 2005
188 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Medieval Romance
ISBN: 9781843840411
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
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A valuable contribution to the recently established field of Anglo-Saxonism and will no doubt inspire further work in this area. ANGLIA
Should be required reading for those studying Masters degrees on the literatures of this era and for anybody interested in the relationship between pre- and post-Conquest writing in the vernacular. ENGLISH
This detailed and well-argued study is a timely contribution to the debate on pre-modern Englishness, both literary and historic, which enlarges our understanding of late medieval literary culture and the effectiveness of romance in moulding perceptions of the past. MEDIUM AEVUM
The result of creative thinking and excellent writing. It is a rewarding read and a fine contribution to a scholarly discourse that aims to bridge the arbitrary divide of the Norman Conquest. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW
A welcome and thoroughly worthwhile study that repays careful reading. TOEBI NEWSLETTER
(A) nimbly written and solidly researched work on an absorbing topic, a neat and useful volume of the kind that D S Brewer is increasingly and commendably one of the few British publishers willing to produce. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT

Author Bio

Associate Professor, Department of English at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada

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