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The Faerie Queene and Middle English Romance: The Matter of Just Memory$
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Andrew King

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198187226

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187226.001.0001

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Middle English Romance: Tradition, Genre, Manuscripts, and Prints

Middle English Romance: Tradition, Genre, Manuscripts, and Prints

Chapter:
(p.12) 2 Middle English Romance: Tradition, Genre, Manuscripts, and Prints
Source:
The Faerie Queene and Middle English Romance: The Matter of Just Memory
Author(s):

Andrew King

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198187226.003.0002

This chapter examines Middle English romance as a native tradition. It also discusses the history of the readership of native romance and its importance for judging Spenser's strategy in incorporating tradition in The Faerie Queene. The continued reading of Middle English romance in medieval manuscripts is significant in relation to Spenser since this allows for the possibility that he encountered the romances in this form. Romances in print are deprived from their manuscript ‘home’ — the context of other romances, historical works, saints' lives, and other kinds of writing — which can adjust a reader's perception of a work's generic and thematic value. Just as The Shepheardes Calender presents the sense of being an earlier, ‘edited’ text, so too The Faerie Queene might be likened to a manuscript-anthology, particularly in terms of its structure.

Keywords:   Middle English romance, native tradition, native romance, The Faerie Queene, print, manuscript, The Shepheardes Calender

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