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7 - The Crusading Romance in Britain

Religious Violence and the Transformation of Popular Chivalric Narratives

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  11 May 2023

Roberta L. Krueger
Affiliation:
Hamilton College, New York
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Summary

Romances’ formal innovations and authorial self-consciousness are studied from another angle by Sylvie Lefèvre, who examines the variety of authorial framing techniques and narratorial interventions in French romance. Although we possess little information about historical authors before the late fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, many stories call attention to their creators, sometimes billed as an “acteur,” who can assert himself (or, more rarely, herself) in numerous guises: as an omniscient narrator who animates the dialogue of characters; as a parallel persona who compares his amorous affair to that of his characters; as an intradiegetic narrator who plays a role inside the story beside the characters; as a full-blown amorous persona himself, who describes the progress of his affair; or as a pseudohistorical agent based on a historical author from the previous century. Whether in verse or prose, in intradiegetic or extradiegetic narration, romances proved fertile ground for artistry, experimentation, and innovation, first in French and later in other European traditions. While some authors remain firmly entrenched inside the fiction of their creations, others created bridges to “real” incidents beyond the tale, blurring the distinction between fiction and history in ways that anticipate the modern novel.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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References

Suggestions for Further Reading

Bale, Anthony (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to the Literature of the Crusades. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2019.Google Scholar
Manion, Lee. Narrating the Crusades: Loss and Recovery in Medieval and Early Modern English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014.Google Scholar
Riley-Smith, Jonathan. The Crusades: A History, 3rd ed. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014.Google Scholar
Robinson, Benedict S. Islam and Early Modern English Literature: The Politics of Romance from Spenser to Milton. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.Google Scholar
Wiggins, Alison, and Field, Rosalind (eds.). Guy of Warwick: Icon and Ancestor. Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2007.Google Scholar
Yeager, Suzanne, Jerusalem in Medieval Narrative, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2008.Google Scholar

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