Nicholas Perkins

The gift of narrative in medieval England

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This invigorating study places medieval romance narrative in dialogue with theories and practices of gift and exchange, opening new approaches to questions of storytelling, agency, gender and materiality in some of the most engaging literature from the Middle Ages. It argues that the dynamics of the gift are powerfully at work in romances: through exchanges of objects and people; repeated patterns of love, loyalty and revenge; promises made or broken; and the complex effects that time works on such objects, exchanges and promises. Ranging from the twelfth century to the fifteenth, and including close discussions of poetry by Chaucer, the Gawain-Poet and romances in the Auchinleck Manuscript, this book will prompt new ideas and debate amongst students and scholars of medieval literature, as well as anyone curious about the pleasures that romance narratives bring.
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401 printed pages
Original publication



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