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The Introduction addresses the strange fact that, in both European and Middle Eastern medieval studies, those texts that we now study and teach as the most canonical representations of their era were in fact not popular or even widely read in their day. On the other hand, those texts that were popular, as evidenced by the extant manuscript record, are taught and studied with far less frequency. The Introduction offers an overview of the situation from the perspectives of both the European and the Middle Eastern literary traditions.

Bestsellers and masterpieces

The changing medieval canon


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