From the fourteenth-century Sir Gawain and the Green Knight to In Parenthesis – an epic poem written in 1937 by painter and poet David Jones – English writers have looked to romance as a resource and a strategy to expand the imaginary reach of their writing.
Rethinking the resilience, purpose, and place of romance in English literature, Timely Voices discusses moments that have altered how we read and interpret this ever-changing form. Addressing the various ways in which romance has absorbed and been absorbed by drama, prose, and poetry, contributors to this volume demonstrate that romance texts do not produce something defined or confined by a static genre, but rather express a repository of creative possibilities. Covering writers including the anonymous author of Sir Orfeo, Jane Austen, Geoffrey of Monmouth, Lucy Hutchinson, William Morris, Philip Sidney, William Shakespeare, and Edmund Spenser, essays explore the magic and wonder of romance, Irish and Gaelic lore, how woodcuts in early books complement and extend printed text, how romance was dramatized, how it gives language to feminist politics and ideology, and how it becomes a counterpoint to finance in the fiction of the early Romantic period.
A nuanced reinterpretation of romance in its own terms, Timely Voices inspires new appreciation of this form as a solution to textual, aesthetic, structural, ideological, and political problems in literature.