Chapter

A polemical introduction

Nicola McDonald

in Pulp Fictions of Medieval England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780719063183
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700563 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7228/manchester/9780719063183.003.0001
A polemical introduction

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The purpose of this book is to demonstrate that popular romance not only merits and rewards serious critical attention, but that we ignore it to the detriment of our understanding of the complex and conflicted world of medieval England. As an introduction, this chapter offers a short polemical essay that confronts head-on the paradox that informs and ultimately circumscribes all of our thinking about Middle English popular romance. It is divided into two sections that tackle in turn what is at stake in our appreciation and enjoyment of these inescapably popular narratives: romance's status as a socially and aesthetically degenerate form of fiction and its capacity to generate textual pleasure.

Keywords: Middle English romances; popular romance; medieval England; polemical essay; textual pleasure

Chapter.  9194 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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