Medieval English and French Legends: An Anthology of Religious and Secular Narrative

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9781932780024: Medieval English and French Legends: An Anthology of Religious and Secular Narrative

A hitherto largely unappreciated literary genre of the Middle Ages is the legend, the work adapted and translated into vernacular language from Latin. The immense prestige and cultural importance of Classical literature did not end with the political decline of Rome at the end of the fifth century. Latin works, secular and religious, were preserved by the Christian church, with the result that medieval authors had available to them a vast corpus on which they drew deeply and often. Medieval English and French Legends: An Anthology of Religious and Secular Narrative is the first anthology to make available the masterpieces of this tradition in a reader-friendly form suited for classroom use. The book inlcudes not only works of a specifically religious nature, such as saints' lives, but those with more secular themes, such as vernacular adaptations of that most renowned of Latin poems, Virgil's Aeneid. Presented in fresh and lively colloquial translations that preserve the wit and elegance of the originals, the works collected here provide a useful introduction to this illuminating area of medieval literary production.

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About the Author:

R. Barton Palmer is Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature at Clemson University. Author of many books on film and literary subjects, Professor Palmer is a specialist in English and French literature of the later Middle Ages.

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