make the most of Lovereading
Search our site
Persons Unknown by Susie Steiner Read the opening extract of the brand new Susie Steiner book before its publication on 05/04/2018

Medieval English Romance in Context by Gail Ashton

Medieval English Romance in Context

Part of the Texts and Contexts Series


Medieval English Romance in Context by Gail Ashton

This book presents an introduction to the key texts and historical, cultural and critical contexts of medieval romance. Medieval English Romance in Context is a clear, accessible and concise introduction to medieval English verse romantic texts and their wider contexts. It begins by introducing key issues and events that impacted on romance writing and its reception such as chivalric ideals, the Black Death, wars and 'Englishness' as well as key literary issues such as medieval manuscript production and its transmission. Close readings of key texts - including Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, Breton lays and Chaucer's The Man of Law's Tale - highlight generic features and issues like family drama, space and time, and nationhood. The final section introduces key critical interpretations from different perspectives including gender and queer theory, and post-colonialism in medieval studies. A chapter on afterlives and adaptations explores reinterpretations of medieval romance and the Arthurian cycles in a range of popular texts and narratives from Doctor Who to Batman. 'Review, Reading and Research' sections give suggestions for further reading, discussion and research. Introducing texts, contexts and criticism, this is a lively and up-to-date resource for anyone studying Medieval English Romance. Texts and Contexts is a series of clear, concise and accessible introductions to key literary fields and concepts. The series provides the literary, critical, historical context for texts and authors in a specific literary area in a way that introduces a range of work in the field and enables further independent study and reading.


Medieval English Romance in Context is both broad in its sweep and precise in the information it offers about the historical contexts of medieval romances and the critical approaches which have been taken to them. Ashton makes innovative and creative use of an impressive range of literary and other theories to offer readings which are both exciting in their wider implications and closely focused on the texts. The book is written in a clear style which will engage any reader who is interested in medieval romance and in modern incarnations of the genre. - Louise Sylvester, Reader in English Language, University of Westminster, UK Over the past decade, the way we think about medieval romance has fundamentally changed. From a literary form once associated with escapism, we are beginning to think about romance as an expression of difficult and complex desires associated with gender, sexuality, national identity, social class, and even race and empire. Gail Ashton's guide renders these new approaches clear and accessible and does so in a way that gives us a way of teaching not only medieval romance, but premodern literature in general, in the twenty-first century. - John Ganim, Professor of English, University of California, Riverside, USA

About the Author

Gail Ashton is an academic, writer and poet with research and publishing interests in medieval and women's literature, poetry and contemporary literary theory. Recent books include Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales (Continuum, 2007) and the co-edited Teaching Chaucer (Palgrave, 2007).

More books by this author
Author 'Like for Like' recommendations

Loading other formats...

Book Info

Publication date

11th February 2010


Gail Ashton

More books by Gail Ashton
Author 'Like for Like'


Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd. an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


176 pages


Literary studies: classical, early & medieval



What can I say, the clue is in the title Lovereading - and awesome books.

Sarah Davis

Because of Lovereading I have broadened my reading horizons with some really great books that I probably would never have chosen myself.

Susan Walsh

Lovereading does a stella job in promoting both new and established authors.

Iris Clements

My horizons have been broadened by some of the books I have been lucky to review and I expect it to be no different in the future.

Daran Bellingham

Discover new authors and enjoy old favourites; oodles of literary gems to uncover at Lovereading with candid reviews from real reviewers.

Emily Wright

Insightful reader reviews and unbiased recommendations. I don't know how I chose books before Lovereading! An essential for all book lovers.

Sarah Harper

You can trust Lovereading to show unbiased reviews by actual, ordinary readers that help likeminded booklovers choose their next great read.

Linda Hill

Lovereading is an amazing place to be, the website is wonderful and to me if I'm sad I'll go here and it cheers me up!

Sophia Upton