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Durham e-Theses
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An Investigation of the differences in ideas and emphases in five middle English romances (Floris and Blauncheflour; King Horn; Havelok the Dane; Amis and Amiloun; Ipomadon) and the old French versions of the same subjects, with special reference to narrative technique, characterisation, tone and background

Burnley, J. E. (1967) An Investigation of the differences in ideas and emphases in five middle English romances (Floris and Blauncheflour; King Horn; Havelok the Dane; Amis and Amiloun; Ipomadon) and the old French versions of the same subjects, with special reference to narrative technique, characterisation, tone and background. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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Abstract

Comparative criticism of Old French and Middle English Romance has usually boon incidental to other concerns, and with e r extremely general or narrowly specific. The aim of the present study is closely and systematically to compare the important English and French versions of the chosen romances, and to ascertain any consistent differences. The approach .to each story has been divided into two sections: firstly on tone and background, secondly on characterisation and narrative technique. Within these divisions, sub-headings are suggested by critical expediency, but an attempt is made to establish the setting and tone of each poem from the opening scenes and interesting discoveries are pursued by selection from the rest of the work. The study' of characterisation involves an examination of the poet's presentation of the main characters, their motions and their relationships. Finally , a comparison is made of the employment of stylistic devices in. the narrative. The results of a study of this kind suffer in originality in proportion to their condensation. Nevertheless, it may be said that the chief differences between the English and French romances reflect a difference in traditions, expressible either in social or literary terms. The earlier English poems, lacking description and psychological exposition, simple in structure, formulaic in diction, their narrator vigorous and assertive, their setting ordinary and their battle scenes wrought from popularised epic, reveal a descent from a popular, oral tradition. The French poems, with their delicate narrative irony, didactic and thematic concerns, psychological subtlety, graceful amplification of literary themes and allusions, and their courtly ethos, clearly belong to a courtly and literary tradition. The later Middle English Ipomadon exemplifies an interesting coalition of the two traditions; yet, a hundred and eighty years after the composition of its Original, it can not equal the subtle psychology and courtly grace of the Anglo-Norman poem.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Thesis Date:1967
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:04

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