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النشر الإلكتروني

1760

Hesperia

Ergänzungsreihe: Schriften zur englischen Philologie
herausgegeben von James W. Bright
Ergänzungsreihe 8. Heft

The

Evolution of Arthurian Romance
From the Beginnings

Down to the Year 1300

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Printed and bound in Germany by Hubert & Co. G. m. b. H. Göttingen

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The present volumes are the outgrowth of a series of six lectures on the Arthurian Romances which I delivered before the graduate students of the Modern Language Departments of the Johns Hopkins University in December, 1912, and which I repeated in the Summer School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1915 as part of a general course on the Mediaeval Romances. It was only after the repetition, however, just mentioned that I decided to work these lectures out in a fuller form for publication. The task of putting this purpose into effect grew constantly upon my hands, so that the final result is a far bulkier treatment of the subject than I originally had in contemplation. On the other hand, the need of a guide through the mazes of mediaeval Arthurian romance and of the vast body of modern critical writings pertaining there-to has been long felt by students of mediaeval literature, and the book, in its present form, is offered as an attempt to meet that need.

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I regret the necessity of fixing upon 1300 as the downward limit of the treatise. This regret applies less, to be sure, to the continental romances of the cycle since, notwithstanding the popularity in its own day of such a work as Le Petit Artus de Bretaigne, for example, all really notable productions in this genre on the continent antedate that year than to those written in English. For, except Sir Tristrem and Arthour and Merlin, neither of which rise above mediocrity, the extant English romances of the cycle were composed after the year 1300. Nevertheless, even as regards the English romances, the expressed regret was mitigated by the reflection that, after all, mediaeval English literature can boast of only four contributions of substantial importance to Arthurian romance, viz. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, the alliterative Morte Arthure, the stanzaic

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