chivalric romance


  • “[52] Despite the popularity of this popular meaning of Romance, other works are still referred to as romances because of their uses of other elements descended from the medieval
    romance, or from the Romantic movement: larger-than-life heroes and heroines, drama and adventure, marvels that may become fantastic, themes of honor and loyalty, or fairy-tale-like stories and story settings.

  • [20] Courtly love[edit] The new courtly love was not one of the original elements of the genre, but quickly became very important when introduced.

  • Cycles[edit] Holger Danske, or Ogier the Dane, from the Matter of France Overwhelmingly, these were linked in some way, perhaps only in an opening frame story, with three
    thematic cycles of tales: these were assembled in imagination at a late date as the “Matter of Rome” (actually centered on the life and deeds of Alexander the Great conflated with the Trojan War), the “Matter of France” (Charlemagne and Roland,
    his principal paladin) and the “Matter of Britain” (the lives and deeds of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, within which was incorporated the quest for the Holy Grail); medieval authors[who?]

  • Modern usage of term “romance” usually refer to the romance novel, which is a subgenre that focuses on the relationship and romantic love between two people; these novels
    must have an “emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending.

  • Form Unlike the later form of the novel and like the chansons de geste, the genre of romance dealt with traditional themes.

  • Nathaniel Hawthorne used the term to distinguish his works as romances rather than novels,[50] and literary criticism of the 19th century often accepted the contrast between
    the romance and the novel, in such works as H. G. Wells’s “scientific romances” in the beginning of science fiction.

  • [31] Tales of the Matter of Rome in particular may be derived from such works as the Alexander Romance.

  • [20] Medieval epic[edit] The Medieval romance developed out of the medieval epic, in particular the Matter of France developing out of such tales as the Chanson de Geste,
    with intermediate forms where the feudal bonds of loyalty had giants, or a magical horn, added to the plot.

  • [35] By the end of the 14th century, counter to the earliest formulations, many French and English romances combined courtly love, with love sickness and devotion on the man’s
    part, with the couple’s subsequent marriage; this featured in Sir Degrevant, Sir Torrent of Portyngale, Sir Eglamour, and William of Palerne.

  • [40] The themes of love were, however, to soon appear, particularly in the Matter of Britain, leading to even the French regarding King Arthur’s court as the exemplar of true
    and noble love, so much so that even the earliest writers about courtly love would claim it had reached its true excellence there, and love was not what it was in King Arthur’s day.

  • [22] Contemporary society[edit] The romance form is distinguished from the earlier epics of the Middle Ages by the changes of the 12th century, which introduced courtly and
    chivalrous themes into the works.

  • Relationship to modern “romantic fiction” In later romances, particularly those of French origin, there is a marked tendency to emphasize themes of courtly love, such as faithfulness
    in adversity.

  • In the Renaissance, also, the romance genre was bitterly attacked as barbarous and silly by the humanists, who exalted Greek and Latin classics and classical forms, an attack
    that was not in that century very effective among the common readers.

  • As a literary genre, the chivalric romance is a type of prose and verse narrative that was popular in the noble courts of high medieval and early modern Europe.

  • [39] The Matter of France, most popular early, did not lend itself to the subject of courtly love, but rather dealt with heroic adventure: in The Song of Roland, Roland, though
    betrothed to Oliver’s sister, does not think of her during the course of events.

  • From c. 1760 – usually cited as 1764 at the publication of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto – the connotations of “romance” moved from fantastic and eerie, somewhat
    Gothic adventure narratives of novelists like Ann Radcliffe’s A Sicilian Romance (1790) or The Romance of the Forest (1791) with erotic content to novels centered on the episodic development of a courtship that ends in marriage.

  • Ovid was used as a source for tales of Jason and Medea, which were cast in romance in a more fairy-tale like form, probably closer to the older forms than Ovid’s rhetoric.

  • [15] Indeed, some tales are found so often that scholars group them together as the “Constance cycle” or the “Crescentia cycle”—referring not to a continuity of character
    and setting, but to the recognizable plot.

  • [45] From the high Middle Ages, in works of piety, clerical critics often deemed romances to be harmful worldly distractions from more substantive or moral works, and by 1600
    many secular readers would agree; in the judgement of many learned readers in the shifting intellectual atmosphere of the 17th century, the romance was trite and childish literature, inspiring only broken-down ageing and provincial persons
    such as Don Quixote, knight of the culturally isolated province of La Mancha.

  • In later romances, particularly those of French origin, there is a marked tendency to emphasize themes of courtly love, such as faithfulness in adversity.

  • Religious practices[edit] The Arthurian cycle as a Medieval work has also been noted to contains many magical or supernatural references.

  • [46] In England, romances continued; heavily rhetorical, they often had complex plots and high sentiment,[47] such as in Robert Greene’s Pandosto (the source for William Shakespeare’s
    The Winter’s Tale)[48] and Thomas Lodge’s Rosalynde (based on the medieval romance Gamelyn and the source for As You Like It), Robert Duke of Normandy (based on Robert the Devil) and A Margarite of America.

  • With a female protagonist, during the rise of Romanticism the depiction of the course of such a courtship within contemporary conventions of realism, the female equivalent
    of the “novel of education”, informs much Romantic fiction.

  • [33] In Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart (unlike his earlier Erec and Enide), the behavior of Lancelot conforms to the courtly love ideal;[34] it also, though still full of
    adventure, devotes an unprecedented amount of time to dealing with the psychological aspects of the love.

  • These were distinguished from earlier epics by heavy use of marvelous events, the elements of love, and the frequent use of a web of interwoven stories, rather than a simple
    plot unfolding about a main character.

  • This is suggested by later works in the Greek language which show influences from both traditions.

  • [19] While he never eliminates the mother-in-law, many romances such as Valentine and Orson have later variants that change from the mother-in-law to the courtier, whereas
    a more recent version never goes back.

  • [38] Early forms Many medieval romances recount the marvellous adventures of a chivalrous, heroic knight, often of super-human ability, who, abiding chivalry’s strict codes
    of honor and demeanor, goes on a quest, and fights and defeats monsters and giants, thereby winning favor with a lady.

  • Flannery O’Conner, writing of the use of grotesque in fiction, talked of its use in “the modern romance tradition.

  • [3] The earliest forms were invariably in verse, but the 15th century saw many in prose, often retelling the old, rhymed versions.

  • [7] In reality, a number of “non-cyclical” romances were written without any such connection;[7] these include such romances as King Horn,[8] Robert the Devil,[9] Ipomadon,[10]
    Emaré,[11] Havelok the Dane,[12]Roswall and Lillian,[13] Le Bone Florence of Rome,[14] and Amadas.

  • [7] Sources Many influences are clear in the forms of chivalric romance.

  • Late Medieval and Renaissance forms In late medieval and Renaissance high culture, the important European literary trend was to fantastic fictions in the mode of Romance.

  • Forms of the High Middle Ages During the early 13th century, romances were increasingly written as prose, and extensively amplified through cycles of continuation.

  • Modern works may differentiate from love-story as romance into different genres, such as planetary romance or Ruritanian romance.

  • Drawing from many different sources, some notable allusions include elements of Christianity (an example being the multiple references to the Holy Grail) as well as elements
    of Celtic legends.

  • [51] In 1825, the fantasy genre developed when the Swedish literary work Frithjof’s saga, which was based on the , became successful in England and Germany.

  • Folklore and folktales[edit] The earliest medieval romances dealt heavily with themes from folklore, which diminished over time, though remaining a presence.

  • [49] Related forms The Acritic songs (dealing with Digenis Acritas and his fellow frontiersmen) resemble much the chanson de geste, though they developed simultaneously but

  • During the early 13th century, romances were increasingly written as prose.

  • [41] A perennial theme was the rescue of a lady from the imperiling monster, a theme that would remain throughout the romances of the medieval era.

  • The entire Matter of France derived from known figures, and suffered somewhat because their descendants had an interest in the tales that were told of their ancestors, unlike
    the Matter of Britain.


Works Cited

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