Title Information

A Companion to Medieval Poetry

Edited by: Corinne Saunders
eISBN: 9781405159630
Print publication date: 2010

Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405159630.2010.x

Book Cover
A Companion to Medieval Poetry

In a series of original essays from leading literary scholars, this Companion offers a chronological sweep of medieval poetry from Old English to the great genres of romance, narrative, and alliterative poetry of the 15th century.

Beginning in the Anglo-Saxon period, the work explores the Old English language and its alliterative tradition, before moving on to examine the genres of heroic, devotional, wisdom and epic poetry, culminating in a discussion of arguably the founding text of the English literary canon, the great epic Beowulf. In part two, the Companion moves on to discuss the linguistic and social changes brought about as a result of the Norman Conquest, exploring how this influenced the development of literary genres. Essays probe the shifts and continuities in genres such as lyric, chronicle and dream vision, and the emergence of new genres such as popular and courtly romance, and drama. A particular focus is the continuation of the alliterative tradition from the Anglo-Saxon period to the fifteenth century. A series of chapters on major authors, including Chaucer, Gower, and Langland, provide fresh approaches to reading and studying key texts, such as The Canterbury Tales, Piers Plowman and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

Finally, the collection examines cultural change at the close of the medieval period and the variety of literature produced in the ‘long fifteenth century’, including writing by and for women, Scots poetry, clerical and courtly works, and secular and sacred drama.

Cite this title

Saunders, Corinne (ed). A Companion to Medieval Poetry. Blackwell Publishing, 2010. Blackwell Reference Online. 20 May 2018 <http://www.blackwellreference.com/public/book.html?id=g9781405159630_9781405159630>

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