IMC 2007: Sessions

Session 1607: Romance and Fabliau: Considerations of Genre

Thursday 12 July 2007, 11.15-12.45

Moderator/Chair:Roger Dahood, Department of English, University of Arizona
Paper 1607-a'And thought dede and nare nought': Celtic Other-Worlds in Medieval Romance
(Language: English)
Matthias Galler, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universit√§t M√ľnchen
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Language and Literature - French or Occitan
Paper 1607-bFabliau Comedy in Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde
(Language: English)
Kathleen A. Bishop, General Studies Program, New York University
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Language and Literature - French or Occitan, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 1607-cFrom Manuscript to Print: The Case of the Middle English Romances
(Language: English)
Jordi Sanchez-Marti, Departamento de Filologia Inglesa, Universidad de Alicante
Index terms: Language and Literature - Middle English, Manuscripts and Palaeography, Printing History

Paper a: As works of fiction, medieval romances take the liberty to describe other-worlds, places unknown in Christian teachings on faith. Of greater interest than the question of where this other world is located or how people can get there are the values transmitted through its experience. In Old French and Middle English romance fiction, Celtic other-worlds are not reinterpreted in the light of contemporary Christian teachings of faith, as medieval literature likes to do with subject matters from antiquity, but set up besides Christian notions of death and dying as alternative worlds beyond this one. The finest Middle English romance featuring a Celtic other-world, Sir Orfeo, however, is in perfect harmony with the context of the literature from the Christian Middle Ages. Its hero acts as a model of the virtue of humility.
Paper b: Chaucer’s Troilus and Criseyde is usually classified as a tragic romance. In this paper, I will shed new light on the poem by examining its comic fabliau elements.
Paper c: Usually considered as contributory causes to the textual degeneration of romance, the early printed editions of Middle English verse romances have been the object of limited critical scrutiny. The general view, however, is that printers treated romances with the carelessness they deserve, thus tending to confirm the prejudice of traditional criticism against Middle English romance. Using the evidence provided by the printer’s copy of Ipomydon, this paper investigates the bibliographical processes and historical circumstances accompanying the transmission of the Middle English romances to the print format, and argues that printers were seriously committed to these texts and made an attempt to correct their deficiencies. I will also discuss in what ways their efforts were unsuccessful and to what extent the new technology of print is the ultimate cause of error.