Heroes and Anti-heroes in Medieval Romance

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Neil Cartlidge
DS Brewer, 2012 - Literary Collections - 247 pages
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Medieval romances so insistently celebrate the triumphs of heroes and the discomfiture of villains that they discourage recognition of just how morally ambiguous, antisocial or even downright sinister their protagonists can be, and, correspondingly, of just how admirable or impressive their defeated opponents often are. This tension between the heroic and the antiheroic makes a major contribution to the dramatic complexity of medieval romance, but it is not an aspect of the genre that has been frequently discussed up until now. Focusing on fourteen distinct characters and character-types in medieval narrative, this book illustrates the range of different ways in which the imaginative power and appeal of romance-texts often depend on contradictions implicit in the very ideal of heroism. Dr Neil Cartlidge is Lecturer in English at the University of Durham. Contributors: Neil Cartlidge, Penny Eley, David Ashurst, Meg Lamont, Laura Ashe, Judith Weiss, Gareth Griffith, Kate McClune, Nancy Mason Bradbury, Ad Putter, Robert Rouse, Siobhain Bly Calkin, James Wade, Stephanie Vierick Gibbs Kamath

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About the author (2012)

Neil Cartlidge is Lecturer in Old and Middle English, University College Dublin.

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