PREFACE A book on Middle English Romances hardly needs an apology.
1 INTRODUCTION: THE MIDDLE ENGLISH ROMANCES Since English medieval literature was first seriously studied, scholars have been in the habit of separating a certain group of narratives from the vast assortment of Middle English verse, and bracketing them together as romances.
I hope that to treat the romances, as I have tried to do, without constant reference to the works of Chaucer and Gower, which by present-day standards are so much more successful, will contribute to a more just evaluation of these poems; because English literature of the Middle Ages, and even Chaucer's own poetry, would have been so much poorer without them.
First published in English in 1968, this book provides a critical guide to the wide field of the Middle English Romances and gives a helpful survey of the contemporary state of scholarship. Dr Mehl traces the development of Middle English Romances from thee thirteenth to the end of the fourteenth century, and interprets a number of these romances. The emphasis is literary, on their form and dominant themes rather than source-material or language.
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