Cambridge History of English Literature, Vols. I. and II.
Bradley’s Making of English.
Schofield’s English Literature from the Conquest to Chaucer.
Ker’s Epic and Romance.
Saintsbury’s The Flourishing of Romance and the Rise of Allegory.
Lawrence’s Medieval Story (excellent).
Weston’s The Romance Cycle of Charlemagne and his Peers.
Weston’s King Arthur and his Knights.
Maynadier’s The Arthur of the English Poets.
Nutt’s The Legends of the Holy Grail.
Jusserand’s Piers Plowman.
Warren’s Langland’s Vision of Piers
the Plowman, Done into Modern
Savage’s Old English Libraries.
Schofield’s Chivalry in English Literature.
Snell’s The Age of Chaucer.
Root’s The Poetry of Chaucer.
Tuckwell’s Chaucer (96 pp.).
Pollard’s Chaucer (142 pp.).
Coulton’s Chaucer and his England.
Lowell’s My Study Windows contains one of the best essays ever written on Chaucer.
Mackail’s The Springs of Helicon (Chaucer).
Romances.—The student will be interested in reading from Lawrence’s Medieval Story, Chapters III., The Song of Roland; IV., The Arthurian Romances; V., The Legend of the Holy Grail; VI., The History of Reynard the Fox. Butler’s The Song of Roland (Riverside Literature Series) is an English prose translation of a popular story from the Charlemagne cycle. Sir Gawayne and the Green Knight has been retold in modern English prose by J.L. Weston (London: David Nutt). A long metrical selection from this romance is given in Bronson. I., 83-100, in Oxford Treasury, I., 60-81, and a prose selection in Century, 1000-1022.
Stories from the Arthurian cycle may he found in Newell’s King Arthur and the Table Round. See also Maynadier’s The Arthur of the English Poets, and Tennyson’s The Idylls of the King.
Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain is translated in Giles’s Six Old English Chronicles (Bohn Library).
Selections from Layamon’s Brut may be found in Bronson, I.; P. & S.; and Manly, I.
What were the chief subjects of the cycles of Romance? Were they mostly of English or French origin? What new elements appear, not found in Beowulf? Which of these cycles has the most interest for English readers? How does this cycle still influence twentieth-century ideals? In what respect is the romance of Gawayne like a sermon?
What Shakespearean characters does Geoffrey of Monmouth introduce? How is Layamon’s Brut related to Geoffrey’s chronicle? Point out a likeness between the Brut and the work of a Victorian poet.