The introduction argues that rebel baron narratives, including chansons de geste and their prose and chronicle offshoots, were a key vehicle for ideas of aristocratic resistance and independence. It contends that we need to read the corpus more broadly to realize this aspect of its importance. Rather than being an early element of a national French literary tradition, the rebel baron narratives constituted a widespread and long-lived tradition, which remained vital through the Middle Ages across many areas hostile to Capetian power, or which resisted imperial forces, including England, Italy, Occitania, and the Low Countries. The introduction also suggests that an approach deriving from Frederic Jameson can help understand the significance of the genre’s response to political antagonisms.
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