Popular romance was one of the most wide-spread forms of literature in the middle ages, yet despite its cultural centrality, and its fundamental importance for later literary developments, the genre has defied precise definition, its subject matter ranging from tales of chivalric adventure, to saintly women, and monsters who become human. The essays in this collection seek to provide an inclusive and thorough examination of romance. They provide contexts, definitions, and explanations for the genre, particularly in, but not limited to, an English context. Topics covered include genre and literary classification; race and ethnicity; gender; orality and performance; the romance and young readers; metre and form; printing culture; and reception.
Raluca L. Radulescu —
Raluca L. Radulescu is Senior Lecturer in Medieval Literature and Director of the Centre for Medieval Studies at Bangor University, UK. She is the author of The Gentry Context for Malory's Morte Darthur (2003), and co-editor of several collections of essays: (with Alison Truelove) Gentry Culture in Late Medieval England (2005), (with Kevin S. Whetter) Re-viewing Le Morte Darthur (2005), (with William Marx) Readers and Writers of the Brut Chronicles (2006), and (with Edward Donald Kennedy) Broken Lines: Genealogical Literature in Medieval Britain and France (2008). These publications as well as current work on spiritual journeys in medieval English romance reflect her interdisciplinary approach to medieval literature and culture.
Cory James Rushton —
Cory James Rushton is Assistant Professor of English at St Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia, Canada. In addition to numerous articles on the Arthurian legend and medieval romance, particularly Malory, he is co-editor (with Amanda Hopkins) of The Erotic in the Literature of Medieval Britain (2007), and editor of Disability and Medieval Law: History, Literature, Society (Cambridge Scholars Publishing). He co-wrote The Medieval Quest for Arthur with Robert Rouse (2005), and provided historical commentary for the recent DVD re-release of the film First Knight (2008).
A Companion to medieval popular romance, ed. by Raluca L. Radulescu and Cory James Rushton. D.S. Brewer, 2009. 209p bibl index afp; ISBN 9781843841920. Reviewed in 2009nov CHOICE.
Radulescu (Bangor Univ., UK) and Rushton (St. Francis Xavier Univ., Canada) present a valuable collection of essays on the popular romance, a genre traditionally neglected by scholars although recently gaining esteem. Part of the "Studies in Medieval Romance" series, the collection distinguishes itself from other recent works on the subject. Unlike The Spirit of Medieval English Popular Romance, ed. by Ad Putter and Jane Gilbert (2000), the present volume offers a comprehensive study of the genre. And unlike The Cambridge Companion to Medieval Romance, ed. by Roberta Krueger (CH, Feb'01, 38-3157), it focuses solely on popular romance. Radulescu and Rushton introduce the collection with a succinct definition of the genre: "those texts in Middle English, sometimes with origins in Anglo-Norman versions, which show a predominant concern with narrative at the expense of symbolic meaning." The essays expand this definition through discussions of the historical reception of the genre and of its importance in the context of current medieval scholarship. The impressive array of topics includes manuscripts, national identity, young readers, orality, and performance. Ad Putter's essay on meter and stanza form and Radulescu's on genre and classification are excellent.
Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. -- C. P. Jamison, Armstrong Atlantic State University