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Coding same-sex union in Amis and Amiloun
Sheila Delany

3 A, A and B: coding same-sex union in Amis and Amiloun Sheila Delany Form I take my title from the rhyme scheme of a tantalising but little studied Middle English romance, Amis and Amiloun.1 The poem is composed in twelve-line stanzas, rhymed AAB AAB CCB DDB, with a metrical scheme of four, four and three stresses corresponding to the rhyme. This is a variant of the well-known ‘tail-rhyme’ stanza found in some Middle English lyrics and in over twenty Middle English romances. Six of these tail-rhyme romances appear for the first time in the famous Auchinleck

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Open Access (free)
Nicola McDonald

10 A polemical introduction Nicola McDonald The Middle English romances have been called the ‘ugly ducklings of medieval English studies’.1 In a discipline that contests even the most basic definition of the genre, romance’s low prestige is one of the few critical certainties. Despite its status as medieval England’s most popular secular genre (more than one hundred romances are extant), the origin of the modern novel (still the most significant literary form), the ancestor of almost all contemporary popular fiction (in print and on screen) and the most

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
The lump-child and its parents in The King of Tars
Jane Gilbert

5 Putting the pulp into fiction: the lump-child and its parents in The King of Tars Jane Gilbert The central figure of the Middle English popular romance known as The King of Tars (hereafter KT) – a formless lump of flesh born instead of a child – defines a certain view of popular literature. The birth is an outrageously sensationalist event; the ideological message conveyed by its subsequent transformation into a human being through baptism is simplistic, vulgar and racist. By its unfinished aspect, moreover, the formless lump parallels the work’s rudimentary

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Elisa Narin van Court

7 The Siege of Jerusalem and recuperative readings Elisa Narin van Court Dismissed for years from serious critical attention, the fourteenthcentury alliterative narrative The Siege of Jerusalem1 has recently begun to generate the kind of interest associated with more canonical Middle English works. Scholarly studies have emerged to fill the lacunae of response and readings, and a new edition is forthcoming.2 In this essay I will argue that this new attention to Jerusalem is well deserved and long overdue, inhibited more by scholarly distaste for the poem

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Suzanne Conklin Akbari

his community or nation,50 siege poems stress instead the factors that threaten to tear the community apart. Shepherd has pointed out the affinities between the Siege of Melayne and the sixteenth-century Capystranus, both of which depict the pressures brought to bear on the Christian nation by the threat of pagan – in the Capystranus, Turkish – domination.51 In his study of Middle English siege poems, Malcolm Hebron argues that these works ‘illustrate disasters of a magnitude which reveals the shape of history’. The siege is ‘a purging experience, a painful rite of

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Ad Putter

discussion of medieval popular literature, Rosemary Woolf justly described this as ‘a crude piece of work compared with the French and German analogues’.5 Much the same could be (and has been) said for other Middle English romances based on French originals (King Horn, Sir Tristrem, for example), for comparisons tend MUP_McDonald_09_Ch8 172 11/18/03, 17:05 Sir Percyvell of Gales 173 to show that the French romances are subtler and more sophisticated. Fortunately, it is not always conscious artistry that attracts us in literature, and the most obvious way of

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Alcuin Blamires

2 The twin demons of aristocratic society in Sir Gowther Alcuin Blamires Sir Gowther is a 700-line narrative probably originating (in its Middle English form) about 1400 in the North Midlands. It is extant in two mildly divergent manuscript texts, which will here be referred to as the ‘Advocates’ and ‘Royal’ versions.1 Sir Gowther is conspicuous for that surface crankiness and drastic speed which are often found in medieval English verse romances and which readily provoke a modern reader’s suspicion that no very challenging contact with medieval society is being

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Nicola McDonald

’ on hard-won land.9 Structured as opposites, edible and inedible, literal and metaphoric are rather points on a continuum. The Christian fantasy of Muslim genocide – the total decimation of land and people imagined in a Middle English romance as an act of ingestion (‘πou … destroyyst hys [the Sultan’s] countrays, / Slees hys men, and eetes among’)10 – is, if we are being honest, pretty much coincident with the diner’s ingestion of a pie not only imagined as, but made out to look like, a Turk. Both invoke eating people as a trope to make real (imaginatively and

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
Le Bone Florence of Rome and bourgeois self-making
Felicity Riddy

of the three manuscripts in which it survives were copied by English scribes.17 On the face of it, this looks like an example of what I am arguing against: the idea that Middle English romances are for ‘social aspirants who wish to be entertained with what they consider to be the same fare, but in English, as their social betters’. But in fact this is no more true of Le Bone Florence of Rome than it is of Troilus and Criseyde: both poems are transformed by the shift to a new language and a new social milieu. Florence, the heroine of the romance, is, as I have said

in Pulp fictions of medieval England
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Greeks and Saracens inGuy of Warwick
Rebecca Wilcox

England’s historic culpabilities in its interactions with other countries and transforms these culpabilities into redeeming alternative possibilities for remembering the past and for performing the future. The historical events to which Guy of Warwick responds, above all others, took place during the first four – perhaps five – Crusades. Indeed, the earliest Anglo-Norman versions of Guy, which predate the oldest known English translations by more than half a century, followed closely on the Fourth Crusade.2 While the Middle English Guy is clearly based on the Anglo

in Pulp fictions of medieval England