Anglo-Norman literature

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Anglo-Norman literature,

body of literature written in England, in the French dialect known as Anglo-Norman, from c.1100 to c.1250. Initiated at the court of Henry I, it was supported by the wealthy, French-speaking aristocracy who controlled England after the Norman conquest. The dominant literary forms were histories, sacred and secular biographies, and homilies; romance and fiction were relatively scarce. Perhaps the most important historian was Geoffrey Gaimer, whose two-part history of England, Histoire des Bretons and Estorie des Engles, was written in verse. Philippe of Thaün, the earliest known Anglo-Norman poet, was noted for the moral allegory the Bestiaire. Of secular works, Thomas's Tristan (c.1170) is notable both artistically and as an early source for the Tristram and Isolde legend.


See M. D. Legge, Anglo-Norman Literature and Its Background (1963).

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An anonymous author in England wrote it during the first half of the 13th century, he says, and though the sole extant copy is incomplete, it remains one of the longest hagiographic narratives in Anglo-Norman literature.
11) The triplex format of the Eadwine Psalter is not itself unique, but its integral trilinguality is, making the manuscript an eloquent witness to the sociolinguistic dynamics that framed the mid-twelfth-century emergence of Anglo-Norman literature.
Anglo-Norman literature emerges against the backdrop and precedent of Old English literature.
Glynn Hesketh' sedition of John of Howden' Rossignos fills a significant gap in Anglo-Norman literature, and completes our knowledge of an important Anglo-Latin writer of the thirteenth century.
This admirable edition of Rossignos will certainly be essential to scholars of Anglo-Norman literature, but it will also be of great interest to those interested in Anglo-Latin literature and in medieval French religious literature.
After an introduction by the editors and David Crystal, the essays examine a wide variety of related subjects: Old English influence on The Lord of the Rings; a general introduction to Beowulf in particular, old English minor heroic poems, the Riddles and the Elegies; The Dream of the Rood and Anglo-Saxon Northumbria: Caedmon and Old English Biblical verse; the role of monasteries and courts as seen in the relationship between Alcuin and Offa; King Alfred and his books; the difficulties of Old English; the coming of the Vikings and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle; Viking religion; Icelandic sagas; the influence of English Benedictines; and finally an essay on Anglo-Norman literature.
Although Ross sees enough minor differences between the two to be convinced they are not by the same artist, he finds that their numerous similarities 'point to a single workshop as their place of origin' and thus to 'the existence of a lay establishment specialising in the copying and illustration of secular Anglo-Norman literature in the second quarter of the thirteenth century'.
All this suggests that the 'lay establishment specialising in the copying and illustration of secular Anglo-Norman literature in the second quarter of the thirteenth century' described by David Ross was not that uncommon.
After a brief introduction that stresses the strong and subtle impact of French culture on England, the subject of the first part is Anglo-Norman literature, whose distinctive gift to both English and world writing, Calin argues, is narrative.
Leyser argues that the survival of English was largely due to the influence of the native wives of the Norman incomers, and points out the important role that noblewomen played as patrons of both English and Anglo-Norman literature.
It is a truly remarkable achievement, and must now be considered an indispensable tool for any scholar concerned with Anglo-Norman literature of indeed with Old French literature in general.
This volume is a major contribution to our knowledge of Anglo-Norman literature, and all scholars working in this field are deeply in the debt of Dean and all those involved in the realization of this remarkable project.