chivalric romance

Quick Reference


The principal kind of romance found in medieval Europe from the 12th century onwards, describing (usually in verse) the adventures of legendary knights, and celebrating an idealized code of civilized behaviour that combines loyalty, honour, and courtly love. The emphasis on heterosexual love and courtly manners distinguishes it from the chanson de geste and other kinds of epic, in which masculine military heroism predominates. The most famous examples are the Arthurian romances recounting the adventures of Lancelot, Galahad, Gawain, and the other Round Table knights. These include the Lancelot (late 12th century) of Chrétien de Troyes, the anonymous Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (late 14th century), and Malory's prose romance Le Morte Darthur (1485). For a fuller account, consult Lee C. Ramsey, Chivalric Romances (1983).

Subjects: Literature.

Reference entries