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Essays in popular romance

This collection and the romances it investigates are crucial to our understanding of the aesthetics of medieval narrative and to the ideologies of gender and sexuality, race, religion, political formations, social class, ethics, morality and national identity with which those narratives emerge.

Eva von Contzen

particular (the novel) from the eighteenth century to contemporary examples.3 This has led to the formation of an implicit ‘canon’ of texts and genres privileged for narratological analysis. Contrary to its claims of near-universality and flexibility, classical narratology has mainly concentrated on the novel and privileged this one genre as the paradigm for its theoretical overlay. To apply theories of classical narratology to medieval narrative consequently means to read these texts from the perspective of modern literature. The parameters offered by a classical

in The Scottish Legendary
Angela Carter’s werewolves in historical perspective
Willem de Blécourt

: werewolves were ‘hairy on the inside’. 46 The maiden without hands Father-daughter incest was a theme in a number of medieval narratives and its history reaches back into the thirteenth century, to the French poem La Manekine , itself based on even earlier texts. 47 The poem tells of the king of Hungary’s daughter, who is desired by her father. She cuts off her left hand

in She-wolf

The gift of narrative in medieval England places medieval narratives – especially romances – in dialogue with theories and practices of gift and exchange. It argues that the dynamics of the gift are powerfully at work in these texts: through exchanges of objects and people; repeated patterns of love, loyalty and revenge; promises made or broken; and the complex effects that time works on such objects, exchanges and promises. The book ranges widely, from the twelfth-century Romance of Horn and English versions of the Horn story to the romances of the Auchinleck Manuscript, and from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to Geoffrey Chaucer and John Lydgate. In reading these texts alongside some of the debates about giving and receiving that radiate from Anthropology and critical theory, Nicholas Perkins asks a number of questions: What role does the circulation of things play in creating narratives? Do romance protagonists themselves act as exchanged objects, and what difference does gender make to how they navigate networks of obligation and agency? Is storytelling a form of gift-giving? Do linguistic exchanges such as promises operate like gifts? How do medieval stories place obligations on the audiences who listen to them or, perhaps, receive a manuscript copy as a precious gift?

Bringing together literary studies, Anthropology and material practice in an invigorating way, this book encourages close attention to the dynamics and pleasures of the gift in narrative.

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A poetics of hagiographic narration
Eva von Contzen

comparative studies. In the conclusion to her 1989 book Medieval Narrative and Modern Narratology, Evelyn Birge Vitz states that she was struck by the profound Christianity and the didacticism of the texts she scrutinised. She struggles to come to terms with the alterity of medieval narrative structures that so often defy modern categories and expectations because ‘most of these plots are not, strictly speaking  – narratologically speaking  – “intelligible” ’.13 I  hope that the approach to the Scottish Legendary as a narrative text has demonstrated that intelligibility is

in The Scottish Legendary
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The narrator in the Scottish Legendary
Eva von Contzen

2 Teacher and poet: the narrator in the Scottish Legendary The saints are without doubt at the centre of the narratives in the Scottish Legendary. But all narration requires someone who narrates, and as is typical of medieval narratives, the voice of the narrating ‘I’ plays an important part in the mediation and hence in the reception of the saints and their legends. In the absence of any extra-textual information about the author of the compilation, the first-person reference is inevitably perceived as the poet himself: after all, the first-person voice is the

in The Scottish Legendary
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Narrating conscience and consciousness
Eva von Contzen

subjectivity. This subjectivity is not necessarily restricted to either a narrator figure or a character. As A. C. Spearing notes with respect to Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde, ‘there are many words and phrases in the tale about which it is hard to be sure whether they emerge from the consciousness of characters in the story or are encoded in the narrative text’.1 Spearing has drawn our attention to the disadvantages of a narrator-based approach to medieval narrative (see Chapter 1), which does not encompass passages in which a character’s thoughts are verbalised. In

in The Scottish Legendary
Kate Greenspan

(ed.), Nature, Court and Culture. New Essays on FifteenthCentury Poetry (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2001), pp. 15–27, at p. 15. 11 Tony Davenport, Medieval Narrative. An Introduction (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004), p. 58. See also Siegfried Wenzel, Latin Sermon Collections from Later Medieval England (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), p. 249, where he distinguishes between sermons ad status, directed in their totality to one specific group whose duties of estate they outline, and more general sermons that contain only brief remarks about one or

in Sanctity as literature in late medieval Britain
The expressive face of Criseyde/ Cressida
Stephanie Trigg

’s story, very suggestively, as examples of ‘arranged behaviour’. 6 As John Burrow says, they are rare in medieval narrative: he describes Chaucer’s characterization of Criseyde’s face in Book I as ‘quite exceptional’. 7 When we start to look at medieval faces, we must also engage with difficult words like ‘lokyng’, ‘chere’ and ‘countenance’, words which even a scholar

in Love, history and emotion in Chaucer and Shakespeare
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Medieval voice – a tribute to David Lawton
John M. Ganim

as well as a scholarly conference, and, not unimportantly, a signal event for the general public and poetry lovers. David has mastered and pioneered forms of scholarship in his career that are usually thought of as distinct and incompatible. The understanding of medieval narrative from a largely semiotic point of view, now part of the fabric of the field, was pioneered in his book

in Medieval literary voices