Anglicising Romance

Tail-Rhyme and Genre in Medieval English Literature


Tail-rhyme romance unites a French genre with a continental stanza form, so why was it developed only in Middle English literature? For English audiences, tail-rhyme becomes inextricably linked with the romance genre in a way that no other verse form does. The first examples are recorded near the beginning of the fourteenth century and by the end of it Chaucer's Sir Thopas can rely on it to work as a shorthand for the entire Middle English romance tradition. How and why this came to be is the question that Anglicising Romance sets out to answer. Its five chapters discuss the stanza's origins; the use of tail-rhyme in Anglo-Noman literature; questions of transmission and manuscript layout; the romances of the Auchinleck manuscript; and the geographic spread of tail-rhyme romance. The individual entries in the Appendix present newly reassessed evidence for the provenance and date of each of the thirty-six extant tail-rhyme romances. RHIANNON PURDIE is Senior Lecturer in Mediaeval English at the University of St Andrews.
  • Boydell & Brewer; September 2008
  • ISBN 9781846156090
  • Read online, or download in secure PDF format
  • Title: Anglicising Romance
  • Author: Rhiannon Purdie
  • Imprint: D. S. Brewer