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Thinking Medieval Romance$
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Katherine C. Little and Nicola McDonald

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198795148

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198795148.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 28 September 2021

Romance in/and the Medieval Mediterranean

Romance in/and the Medieval Mediterranean

(p.187) 10 Romance in/and the Medieval Mediterranean
Thinking Medieval Romance

Sharon Kinoshita

Oxford University Press

This chapter expands the traditional classification of medieval French romance by proposing ‘Mediterranean’ as a thematic category alongside ‘Antique’ and ‘Breton’. In addition to their geographical setting, ‘Mediterranean’ romances feature themes such as sea voyages, merchants, pirates, mutable identities, and the changes of fortune occasioned by the hazards of maritime travel. Floire et Blancheflor, first attested in French c.1150 and subsequently translated into many languages, provides the focal point for a discussion of medieval romance that draws inspiration from Peregrine Horden and Nicholas Purcell’s 2000 study, The Corrupting Sea. The second part of the chapter tests the longue durée of the Mediterranean thematic by examining the Hellenistic romance Callirhoe. The close parallels between the two texts, corresponding to Mikhail Bakhtin’s description of the Greek novel of adventure, also allows an assessment of their divergences as reflections of the shift from a late antique to a high medieval context.

Keywords:   medieval romance, Hellenistic romance, Mediterranean Studies, Floire et Blancheflor, Callirhoe, merchants in literature, pirates in literature, Mikhail Bakhtin, The Corrupting Sea

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