The Idea of Anglo-Saxon England in Middle English Romance
As the point of origin, both real and imagined, of English law and group identity, the Anglo-Saxon past was important in the construction of a post-Conquest English society that was both aware of, and placed great stock in, its Anglo-Saxon heritage; yet its depiction in post-Conquest literature has been very little studied. This book examines a wide range of sources (legal and historiographical as well as literary) in order to reveal a "social construction" of Anglo-Saxon England that held a significant place in the literary and cultural imagination of the post-Conquest English. Using a variety of texts, but the Matter of England romances in particular, the author argues that they show a continued interest in the Anglo-Saxon past, from the localised East Sussex legend of King Alfred that underlies the twelfth-century ‘Proverbs of Alfred’, to the institutional interest in the ‘Guy of Warwick’ narrative exhibited by the community of St. Swithun's Priory in Winchester during the fifteenth century; they are part of a continued cultural remembrance that encompasses chronicles, folk memories, and literature. Dr ROBERT ALLLEN ROUSE teaches in the Department of English, University of British Columbia.
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