Synopses & Reviews
From the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries, French was one of England's main languages of literature, record, diplomacy and commerce and also its only supra-national vernacular. As is now recognised, the large corpus of England's French texts and records is indispensable to understanding England's literary and cultural history, the multilingualism of early England, and European medieval French-language culture in general. This volume presents a full, representative collection of texts and facing translations from England's medieval French. Through its selection of prologues and other excerpts from works composed or circulating in England, the volume presents a body of vernacular literary theory, in which some fifty-five highly various texts, from a range of genres, discuss their own origins, circumstances, strategies, source materials, purposes and audiences. Each entry, newly edited from a single manuscript, is accompanied by a headnote, annotation, and narrative bibliography, while a general introduction and section introductions provide further context and information. Also included are essays on French in England and on the prosody and prose of insular French; Middle English versions of some of the edited French texts; and a glossary of literary terms. By giving access to a literate culture hitherto available primarily only to Anglo-Norman specialists, this book opens up new possibilities for taking English francophony into account in research and teaching. Jocelyn Wogan-Browne is Thomas F.X. and Theresa Mullarkey Chair in Literature, Fordham University, New York, and formerly Professor of Medieval Literature, University of York; Thelma Fenster is Professor Emerita of French and Medieval Studies, Fordham University; Delbert Russell is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of French, University of Waterloo.