This Norton Critical Edition presents significant examples of one of the most important bodies of English poetry written before the Renaissance.
The texts of the seven romances included—Havelok, Ywain and Gawain, Sir Orfeo, Sir Launfal, The Awntyrs off Arthure at the Terne Wathelyne, The Weddyng of Syr Gawen and Dame Ragnell, and The Sege off Melayne—are complete, authoritative (rendered from the best manuscripts), and comprehensively glossed and annotated for undergraduate readers. In addition to their literary importance, the seven romances were chosen because they shed light on other important Middle English texts.
"Sources and Backgrounds" offers comparative analogues (many complete) to each of the seven romances. These readings enable students to understand the genre in the context of related medieval ideas and attitudes.
"Criticism" collects four essays that provide a variety of perspectives on Middle English romances by Erich Auerbach, John Finlayson, A. C. Baugh, and Gisela Guddat-Figge.
A Selected Bibliography is also included.