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Middle English Romance

Primary texts

A. Laskaya & E. Salisbury (eds), The Midde English Breton Lays, TEAMS (Kalamazoo, 2001).

E.E. Foster (ed.), Amis and Amiloun, Robert of Cisyle, and Sir Amadace, TEAMS (Kalamazoo, 2nd edn, 2007).

R.B. Herzman, G. Drake & E. Salisbury (eds), Four Romances of England, TEAMS (Kalamazoo, 1999).

Secondary criticism

C.J. Saunders, Cultural Encounters in the Romance of Medieval England (2005)

C.J. Saunders, Magic and the Supernatural in Medieval English Romance (2010)

C.J. Saunders, The Forest of Medieval Romance: Avernus, Broceliande, Arden (Brewer, 1993)

N. McDonald, Pulp Fictions of Medieval England: essays in popular romance (2004)

L. Ashe, I. Djordjevic, J. Weiss eds. The Exploitations of Medieval Romance (2010)

R. Purdie, M. Cichon eds. Medieval Romance, Medieval Contexts (2011)

N. Cartlidge, Boundaries in Medieval Romance (2008)

W.R.J. Barron, English Medieval Romance, (Longman, 1987)

S. Crane, Insular Romance: Politics, Faith and Culture in Anglo-Norman and Middle English Literature (Univ of California, 1986)

C. Fewster, Traditionality and Genre in Middle English Romance (Brewer, 1987)

S. Knight, 'The Social Function of the Middle English Romance', in D. Aers (ed.), Medieval Literature: Criticism, Ideology & History, (New York, 1986), pp. 99-122. Available as a scan here:

D. Mehl, The Middle English Romances of the 13th and 14th centuries (London, 1968), pp. 146-52.

D. Pearsall, 'The Development of Middle English Romance', Medieval Studies 27 (1965), 91-116.

L.C. Ramsey, Chivalric Romances: Popular Literature in Medieval England (Indiana, 1983)

P. Strohm, 'The Origin and Meaning of Middle English Romaunce', Genre 10 (1977), 1-28.

Sir Orfeo and Sir Gowther

C. Bullock-Davies, 'The Form of the Breton Lay', Medium Aevum 42 (1973), 18-31.

P.B.R. Doob, Nebuchadnezzar's Children: Conventions of Madness in Middle English Literature (Yale, 1974), pp. 158-207.

J.B. Friedman, Orpheus in the Middle Ages (Harvard, 1970).

P. Grimaldi, 'Sir Orfeo as Celtic Folk-hero, Christian pilgrim and medieval king', in M.W. Bloomfield (ed.), Allegory, Myth and Symbol (Harvard, 1981), pp. 147-61.

S. Lerer, 'Artifice and Artistry in Sir Orfeo', Speculum 60 (1985), 92-109.

R.M. Liuzza, 'Sir Orfeo: Sources, Traditions and the Poetics of Performance', Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 21 (1991), 269-84.

F. Riddy, 'The Uses of the Past in Sir Orfeo', Yearbook of English Studies 6 (1976), 5-15.

J. Rider, 'Receiving Orpheus in the Middle Ages: Allegorization, remythification and Sir Orfeo' Papers on Language and Literature 24 (1988), 343-66.

E.M. Bradstock, 'Sir Gowther: secular hagiography or hagiographical romance or neither?', Journal of the Australasian Universities Language and Literature Association 59 (1983) 26-47.

A. Hopkins, The Sinful Knights: a study of Middle English Penitential Romances (Oxford, 1990), pp. 144-78.

S. Marchalonis, 'Sir Gowther; the Process of a Romance', Chaucer Review 6 (1971/72), 14-29.

Sir Degare

C. Colopy, 'Sir Degare: A Fairy Tale Oedipus', Pacific Coast Philology 17 (1982), 31-39.

L.H. Loomis, Medieval Romance in England (Oxford, 1924, rpt. 1960), pp. 301-5.

B.A. Rosenberg, 'The Three Tales of Sir Degare', Neuphilologische mitteilungen 76 (1975), 39-51.

Amis and Amiloun

D.R. Baldwin, 'Amis and Amiloun: the Testing of Treuthe', Papers on Language and Literature 16 (1980), 353-65.

S. Dannenbaum, 'Insular Tradition in the Story of Amis and Amiloun', Neophilologus 67 (1983), 611-22.

S. Delany, 'A, A and B: Coding Same-Sex Union in Amis and Amiloun', in N. MacDonald (ed.), Pulp Fictions of Medieval England (Manchester, 2004), pp. 63-81.

J.C. Ford, 'Contrasting the identical: differentiation of the 'indistinguishable' characters of Amis and Amiloun', Neophilologus 86 (2002), 311-23.

-----, 'Merry Married Brothers: Wedded friendship, Lovers' language and Male Matrimonials in Two Middle English Romances', Medieval Forum 3 (2003).

K. Hume, 'Amis and Amiloun and the Aesthetics of Middle English Romance', Studies in Philology 70 (1973), 19-41.

J.E. Jost, 'Hearing the Female Voice: Transgression in Amis and Amiloun', Medieval Perspectives, 10 (1995), 116-32.

O. Kratins, 'The Middle English Amis and Amiloun: Chivalric Romance or Secular Hagiography', PMLA, 81 (1966), 347-54.

Havelok the Dane

N.M. Bradbury, 'The Traditional Origins of Havelok the Dane', Studies in Philology, 90 (1993), 115-42.

J. Halverson, 'Havelok the Dane and Society', Chaucer Review, 6 (1971), 142-51.

R.W. Hanning, 'Havelok the Dane: Structure, Symbols, Meaning' Studies in Philology, 64 (1967), 586-605.

J.C. Hirsch, 'Havelok 2933: a problem in medieval literary history', Neuphilologische mitteilungen 78 (1977), 339-49.

R. Levine, 'Who Composed Havelok for Whom?', Yearbook of English Studies, 22 (1992), 95-104.

R.M. Liuzza, 'Representation and Readership in the ME Havelok', Journal of English and Germanic Philology, 93 (1994), 504-19.

L.O. Purdon, 'The Rite of Vassalage in Havelok the Dane', Medievalia et Humanistica 20 (1993), 25-39.

D. Staines, 'Havelok the Dane: a 13th-century Handbook for Princes', Speculum, 51 (1976), 602-23.

Religious Writing by and for Women


A. Savage & N. Watson (eds and tr.), Anchoritic Spirituality: 'Ancrene Wisse' and Associated Works (Classics of Western Spirituality, 1991).

B. Millett & J. Wogan Browne eds. Medieval English Prose for Women (1990)

G.R. Crampton (ed.) The Shewings of Julian of Norwich, TEAMS (1996).

N. Watson & J. Jenkins (eds), The Writings of Julian of Norwich: A Vision Showed to a Devout Woman and A Revelation of Love (2006) (long and short text, excellent introduction and annotations. In library. Worth consulting).

Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine Love, tr. E. Spearing (Penguin classics, 1998).

L. Staley (ed.) The Book of Margery Kempe, TEAMS (1996)

The Book of Margery Kempe, tr. B. Windeatt (Penguin classics, 1985).

B. Windeatt (ed.), English Mystics of the Middle Ages (1994) - an excellent anthology of mystical texts and extracts


Y. Wada (ed.), A Companion to the Ancrene Wisse (2003)

C. Gunn, Ancrene Wisse: from pastoral literature to vernacular spirituality (2008)

C. Cannon, The Grounds of English Literature (2004), ch. 5: on AW and the Katherine Group

E. Robertson, Early English Devotional Prose and the Female Audience (1990)

D. Renevey & C. Whitehead (eds), Writing Religious Women: Female Spiritual and Textual Practices in Late Medieval England (2000)

L. Herbert-McAvoy (eds.) Anchorites, Wombs and Tombs: Intersections of Gender and Enclosure in the Middle Ages (2005)

L. Herbert McAvoy, Medieval Anchoritisms (2012)

M. Glasscoe, English Medieval Mystics: Games of Faith (1993)

H. Phillips (ed.), Langland, the Mystics and the Medieval English Religious Tradition (1990)

M.G. Sargent (ed.), De Cella in Seculum: Religious and Secular Life and Devotion in Late Medieval England (1988)

M. Erler, Women, Reading and Piety in Late Medieval England, 2002

D. Baker, Julian of Norwich’s Showings: from Vision to Book (1994)

L. Herbert McAvoy, A Companion to Julian of Norwich (2008)

J.H. Arnold & K. Lewis (ed), A Companion to the Book of Margery Kempe (2004)

L. Staley, Margery Kempe’s Dissenting Fictions (2004)

L. Herbert McAvoy, Authority and the Female Body in the Writings of Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe (2004)

S. Salih, Versions of Virginity in Late Medieval England (2001)

J. Wogan-Browne, Saints' Lives and Women's Literary Culture c 1150-1300: Virginity and its Authorisations (2001)

K. Kerby-Fulton, Books Under Suspicion: Censorship and Tolerance of Revelatory Writing in Late Medieval England (2006)

S. Fanous & V. Gillespie (eds), The Cambridge Companion to Medieval English Mysticism (2011)

N. Watson, 'The Middle English Mystics' in D. Wallace (ed.), The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature (1999), pp. 539-65

C.W. Bynum, Jesus as Mother: Studies in the Spirituality of the High Middle Ages (1982)

B. Newman, From Virile Woman to Woman Christ (1997)

On saints' lives: O. Pickering, in A.S. G. Edwards (ed.), A Companion to Middle English Prose (2004), pp. 249-70

--- K.A. Winstead, 'Saintly Exemplarity', in P. Strohm (ed.) Middle English (2007), pp.335-51.