This volume presents single manuscript editions and translations of prologues, epilogues, and other excerpts from French-language texts composed or circulating in medieval England. The French-language writing of England offers an indispensable corpus for the history of French-language literature at large and for the understanding of England's literary, documentary and cultural history over some four hundred years and more. We concentrate here on literary and other texts in their most self-reflexive moments: identifying themselves, discussing their own production and strategies, interpellating their audiences, and positioning their materials. This focus provides access to the assumptions and strategies of medieval England's literary and literate corpus of work in French. Our volume is not a conventional literary history so much as an argued anthology making a case for the interest and significance of the field from which this book draws its demonstrations.
No anthology of whatever kind can include all the texts an editor or reader might wish to have. A handful of texts in the French of England have been well served in modern translations and discussion and are omitted here: others are fully translated and introduced in our French of England Translation Series (FRETS) and its occasional publication series (FRETS OPS): see https://acmrs.org/publications/catalog?field_mrts_tax_ tid=14. Nevertheless, by offering direct contact with edited texts and some mappings of French-language writing in England's regional and supra-regional cultures, we hope to have provided many reasons for others to make their own further explorations.
Contributors and Acknowledgements
The volume has been long in the making and has many debts. In the first instance, the editors want warmly to thank all those who have contributed entries. Jocelyn Wogan-Browne, Thelma Fenster, and Delbert Russell are ultimately responsible for the editions and commentary: we have each edited, introduced and cross-checked each other's entries, but we have also been delighted to work with colleagues and with our former and current graduate students. Dr Cathy Hume (Lecturer in English, University of Bristol, UK) originally prepared Part VI, §3, Middle English Versions of French Entries, and contributed the Lumere as lais (19) as a post-doctoral Modern Humanities Reseach Associate to Jocelyn Wogan-Browne at the University of York. Dr Joshua Byron Smith, Assistant Professor in English at the University of Arkansas kindly undertook to prepare (31), for which knowledge of Welsh was a desideratum. Dr John Spence, an expert in Anglo-Norman prose chronicle writing, contributed the Mohun Chronicle (42).