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Guy of Warwick: Icon and Ancestor

Guy of Warwick: Icon and Ancestor

Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 262
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    Guy of Warwick: Icon and Ancestor
    Book Description:

    Guy of Warwick is England's other Arthur. Elevated to the status of national hero, his legend occupied a central place in the nation's cultural heritage from the Middle Ages to the modern period. Guy of Warwick: Icon and Ancestor spans the Guy tradition from its beginnings in Anglo-Norman and Middle English romance right through to the plays and prints of the early modern period and Spenser's Faerie Queene, including the visual tradition in manuscript illustration and material culture as well as the intersection of the legend with local and national history. This volume addresses important questions regarding the continuities and remaking of romance material, and the relation between life and literature. Topics discussed are sensitive to current critical concerns and include translation, reception, magnate ambition, East-West relations, the construction of "Englishness" and national identity, and the literary value of "popular" romance. ALISON WIGGINS is Lecturer in English Language at the University of Glasgow; ROSALIND FIELD is Reader in Medieval Literature at Royal Holloway, University of London. CONTRIBUTORS: JUDITH WEISS, MARIANNE AILES, IVANA DJORDJEVIC, ROSALIND FIELD, ALISON WIGGINS, A.S.G. EDWARDS, ROBERT ALLEN ROUSE, DAVID GRIFFITH, MARTHA W. DRIVER, SIAN ECHARD, ANDREW KING, HELEN COOPER

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-549-9
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Illustrations
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Contributors
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  6. Editorial Introduction: Namoore of this! How to read Guy of Warwick and why
    (pp. xv-xxii)

    Guy of Warwick is England’s other Arthur, his legend England’s most successful medieval romance and so this book considers the Guy tradition as the quintessential popular romance of England, and one that demonstrates the reception of romance working in and beyond medieval culture to a unique degree. The medieval, as a space for fantasy, imagination, or nostalgia, is everywhere – reflected in images and poetry and, in our own time, in film, novels, heritage, music, on the internet, in advertising, and in street names. It is our belief that scholarship has a particular responsibility to take seriously the investigation of...

  7. 1 Gui de Warewic at Home and Abroad: A Hero for Europe
    (pp. 1-11)

    The thirteenth-centuryJatvartharsaga, about Edward the Confessor, and theChronicon Universale, which ends in 1219, both record the same story about a late-eleventh-century English emigration to Constantinople. A group of Anglo-Saxon nobles go and fight for the emperor Alexius, who is besieged by the Turks. Some stay as members of his bodyguard, others establish settlements further from the city. The story is based on the historical fact, recorded by several chroniclers, that English people settled in Constantinople from the 1070s onwards, entered imperial service and played a large part in campaigns against the Turks in 1081–84, earning the emperor’s...

  8. 2 Gui de Warewic in its Manuscript Context
    (pp. 12-26)

    The Anglo-Norman poemGui de Warewicwas composed in the early thirteenth century, and survives in six fragments and ten mauscripts.¹ While the survival of only a few manuscripts or even fragments does not preclude the text or at least the narrative being well known, survival of a large number of manuscripts does indicate a text of some popularity. The sixteen extant manuscripts and fragments ofGuiis a good number for a text of this type. It is, in fact, more than any of the other so-called ‘ancestral romances’.² For example,Waldefsurvives in only one manuscript, as does...

  9. 3 Guy of Warwick as a Translation
    (pp. 27-43)

    Many Middle English romances are translations of earlier Anglo-Norman or in some cases continental French narratives. While the use of the word ‘translation’ to describe some of them has been contested, few would deny thatGuy of Warwickis indeed a translation, so closely does it follow its Anglo-Norman source. And yet, to say that the Middle EnglishGuy of Warwickis a translation of the Anglo-NormanGui de Warewicis to beg at least three questions at once. What do we mean by ‘the Middle EnglishGuy of Warwick’? What do we mean by ‘the Anglo-NormanGui de Warewic’?...

  10. 4 From Gui to Guy: The Fashioning of a Popular Romance
    (pp. 44-60)

    Gui de Warewicis one of the latest of the Anglo-Norman romances;Guy of Warwickis a comparatively early Middle English romance – the one responds to the foundational texts of insular romance and the other has an ongoing influence on later texts (as this volume demonstrates). Between them they form one of the most popular legends created by English romance writers, and the essential question remains that asked by M. Domenica Legge: ‘What, then, could be the cause of the strange fascination this story [Gui] has exerted?’¹ This chapter will re-examine the relationship between these two versions, arguing that...

  11. 5 The Manuscripts and Texts of the Middle English Guy of Warwick
    (pp. 61-80)

    Before the era of print, there was no single standard text of the Middle English romanceGuy of Warwick. Although Guy’s legend was known in many regions and over an extended period, his status and portrayal were not always and everywhere the same. The manuscript record does not indicate a situation whereby a single dominant version of the romance was repeatedly copied and re-copied and thus disseminated around the country. Like the majority of Middle English romances,Guy of Warwicknever had contact with any organizing production force of the kind that can, at least to some extent, be associated...

  12. 6 The Speculum Guy de Warwick and Lydgate’s Guy of Warwick: The Non-Romance Middle English Tradition
    (pp. 81-93)
    A. S. G. EDWARDS

    The two verse works discussed in this chapter, theSpeculum Guy de Warwickand Lydgate’sGuy of Warwick, have in common their radical realignment of the Guy of Warwick narrative. In both the figure of Guy is moved from the world of romance into the orbit of devotional literature and reconstituted in ways that provide testimony to the associative adaptability of the legendary knight. Such new formulations have an intrinsic interest that is heightened by the demonstrable extent of their appeal to medieval audiences. The factors that led to them achieving such a degree of popularity invite examination both of...

  13. 7 An Exemplary Life: Guy of Warwick as Medieval Culture-Hero
    (pp. 94-109)

    The Middle EnglishGuy of Warwicknarrates avitathat is, even by the often outrageous standards of medieval romance, extraordinary.¹ Guy’s life leads him from somewhat humble beginnings as the son of a provincial steward – the very margins of chivalric society – to his predestined place as chivalric, Christian, and most importantly, English culture-hero. Along the way he obtains chivalric glory, a courtly paramour, and associated noble title (Earl of Warwick), he vanquishes Saracen threats both defensively (at the walls of Constantinople) and offensively (whilst on a one-man Crusade in the Middle East) – thus taking on the...

  14. 8 The Visual History of Guy of Warwick
    (pp. 110-132)

    King Arthur’s only serious rival for the affections of the late medieval public was the legendary English hero Guy of Warwick. Guy’s fame is the result of a combination of factors but, as with Arthur, it is rooted in an intersection of history and romance that raises him above mere chivalric exemplar to the status of national hero. This iconic role manifests itself in a diverse textual culture from the thirteenth century that spans fictional and historiographic works. These texts in turn generate a substantial visual and material legacy that complements the literary versions and which must have appealed to...

  15. 9 ‘In her owne persone semly and bewteus’: Representing Women in Stories of Guy of Warwick
    (pp. 133-153)

    The romances about Guy of Warwick focus mainly on his derring-do and heroic battles, while his wife, Felice, is described rather conventionally, as by John Lydgate: ‘In alle her tyme was holden noon so ffayre, Called ensaumple of truthe & womanhed’ (179–80). In Lydgate’s poem, produced about 1442, Felice spends her time ‘wepyng nyght & day’ (176) after her son is kidnapped, and she dies promptly after Guy is buried, as she also does in the other Middle English versions of the tale, which typically portray the mature Felice as beautiful, passive, virtuous, and religious.¹ Such a model might have been...

  16. 10 Of Dragons and Saracens: Guy and Bevis in Early Print Illustration
    (pp. 154-168)

    Shortly before Harry Bailey’s protest puts an end to his ‘drasty speche’, the Chaucer-pilgrim lists the heroes of romance to whom his Thopas should be (favourably) compared. While the list includes the obscure and possibly the non-existent,² it also invokes such well-known figures as King Horn and Bevis of Hampton, and it is often argued that, in the structure and form ofThopas, Chaucer was particularly targetingGuy of Warwick.³ This attention to Guy and his fellow romance-heroes is hardly intended to be flattering, but what is more important – what serves as the point of departure for this chapter...

  17. 11 Guy of Warwick and The Faerie Queene, Book II: Chivalry Through the Ages
    (pp. 169-184)

    The 1590 edition ofThe Faerie Queene, comprising Books I to III, offers an engagingly complex response to native medieval romance and its related mythopoeic historical traditions.¹ Not surprisingly, given its popularity and numerous literary and iconographical manifestations by the late sixteenth century,Guy of Warwickis a key text in that response. Spenser’s engagement with Guy throughout Book II ofThe Faerie Queeneseems to be part of a conscious programme in the 1590 text: signalling at various stages his roots in medieval English romance, he seeks to provoke his readers into recognition and consideration of the nature of...

  18. 12 Guy as Early Modern English Hero
    (pp. 185-200)

    Guy of Warwick appears quintessentially a hero of medieval romance. Created in Anglo-Norman, translated into Middle English, with occasional appearances in the chronicle tradition, and an enthusiastic reception in early prints, his story follows a trajectory that is typical of a large number of early romances. He is unique, however, for the number and variety of further texts that he generated in the decades on either side of 1600, the period of the explosion of high Renaissance English writing when it might be thought that such a story was due for extinction. A handful of romances of medieval origin continued...

  19. Appendix: Synopsis of the Guy of Warwick narrative
    (pp. 201-214)
  20. Index
    (pp. 215-224)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 225-225)