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Five Favourite Middle English Romances

Danièle Cybulskie, the 5MinMedievalist, shares her five favourite Middle English romances – what are yours?

Who wrote this medieval literary classic?

Can you match these nine famous medieval authors to their works? See also: 10 Phrases that Originated in the Middle Ages

Can You Solve These Medieval Riddles?

Test yourself with these ten riddles from the seventh-century, part of Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles, translated by A.M. Juster and published by the University of Toronto Press.

Number Symbolism in Old Norse Literature

It is generally agreed that some numbers such as three and nine which appear frequently in the two Eddas hold special significances in Norse mythology. Furthermore, numbers appearing in sagas not only denote factual quantity, but also stand for specific symbolic meanings.

Amorous encounters in Medieval French chess

The question I want to look at today is how chess is used in presenting these questions of love, of the amorous encounter, of the meeting between two people and the potential for feelings the might result from it.

Functions of Chess in Medieval French Literature

Edward Mills examines the functions of the game of chess in medieval French literary culture.

BOOK REVIEW: Grendel’s Mother: The Saga of the Wyrd-Wife by Susan Signe Morrison

Grendel’s Mother tells the story of Brimhild, a child found abandoned in a boat on the shores of Denmark. Taken in by a fisherwoman woman and her husband, she is received as a blessing for the child they recently lost. There is nothing to identify her save for a few strange, and foreign items packed […]

Conception of Knighthood and Fifteenth-Century Chivalric Manuals

Chivalric writings like chronicles, romances and military handbooks, either in manuscript or in print, were popular and widely read in the latter half of the 15th century.

Snorri Sturluson: Viking Mythographer and Historian

I shall first tell you briefly about Snorri’s background and his education and discuss his Edda, where he appears as mythographer, among other things, and then tell you about his career as a politician and discuss his Sagas of the Norwegian Kings.

Horse Power: Social Evolution in Medieval Europe

My research is on the development of the horse as a status symbol in Western Europe during the Middle Ages.

The Lady’s Man: Gawain as Lover in Middle English Literature

Gawain’s reputation as a philanderer precedes him; the best known example is the comment of Bertilak’s wife in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, whose disbelief that the famous and courteous Gawain could be alone with her and not crave a kiss is notorious

Of Wilderness, Forest, and Garden: An Eco-Theory of Genre in Middle English Literature

I posit that the components of the environment play a role in the deployment of the narrative by shaping the characters and influencing the action.

How Well Do You Know the Opening Lines of Medieval Literature?

Test yourself by trying to pick which famous work of medieval literature these opening lines are from.

7 Things One Should Know When Dealing with Kings: The Icelander’s Version

Here is MaryAnn R. Adams’ winning advice on how to deal with Norse kings.

In Search of Guinevere

As a lifelong lover of Arthurian stories, I have always had a love/hate relationship with Guinevere. In some stories, she is the well-mannered and generous ideal queen; in others she is a jealous and spiteful adulteress. How can she be both? When did she change?

From the Middle Ages to Modernity: The Intersecting Supernatural Worlds of Melusine and Today’s Popular Culture

This work contains many elements common to supernatural tales of its time-shape-shifting, magic fountains and marriages between humans and fairies – yet it is also surprisingly relevant to our own age, whose popular culture is saturated with modem myths and vampire love-stories.

The Snow Baby: A Cautionary Tale

Most of the time, fabliaux are lighthearted and lusty, but occasionally they stray into dark humour, like ‘The Snow Baby’.

The Quirky Questions of Wynkyn de Worde

From the ‘chicken or egg’ question to age of a mouse, some of the riddles from England’s oldest joke book.

Celtic Mythology in the Arthurian Legend

The aim of this thesis is to find out whether there are some aspects, themes or symbols of the pagan Celtic mythology that appear in the Arthurian legend and if so, what role they play there and to what extent they influence the legend.

The Mythical Ghoul in Arabic Culture

Though the ghoul has origins as old as the Mesopotamian civilization, Arabs were largely responsible for popularizing it. Because Islam incorporated this being in its doctrine, the ghoul remained a source of fear and mystery in the Arab culture.

Monsters and the Exotic in Early Medieval England

The dominant literate culture of early medieval England – male, European, and Christian – often represented itself through comparison to exotic beings and monsters, in traditions developed from native mythologies, and Classical and Biblical sources.

Grief, Gender and Mourning in Medieval North Atlantic Literature

This dissertation explores the relationship between grief, cultural constructs of gender, and mourning behaviour in the literatures of medieval Britain, Ireland, Scandinavia, and Iceland

John Gower’s Handwriting identified

John Gower, considered to be one of the greatest poets of medieval England, left behind several remarkable works. A scholar has now been able to identify poems that were written by his own hand, including a poignant piece about how he was going blind.

Dreams and lovers: the sympathetic guide frame in Middle English courtly love poems

When is a dream not a dream? The Middle English convention of the ‘dream vision’ has been read by modern scholars as a genre that primarily reveals the medieval understanding of dreaming and dream theory, so that events and stories presented within a dream frame are necessarily read through that specific hermeneutic.

Said in jest: Who’s laughing at the Middle Ages (and when)?

The essay begins with a negative image of a medieval scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, which is used to point out that the scene is a knowing parody rather than founded on a genuine belief in an unmitigatedly dark age

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