Sir Bevis of Hampton

ISBN : 9780198811909

Jennifer Fellows
696 Pages
Multiple Copy Pack
138 x 216 mm
Pub date
Oct 2017
Early English Text Society Original Series
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Sir Bevis of Hampton is arguably one of the most important non-Arthurian romances in Middle English, but it is only comparatively recently that it has received much scholarly or critical attention. Originating in England, the story of Bevis was immensely popular and influential during the late medieval and early modern periods, both in the British Isles and in continental Europe. The Middle English Bevis was translated around 1300 from an Anglo-Norman original, which spawned versions, both written and oral, in a dozen or so languages; these range in date from the beginning of the fourteenth century to within living memory, when a version of the story was still being performed by Sicilian puppeteers. The printing-history of Bevis, as well as references to the romance in the works of such writers as Shakespeare, Spenser, Bunyan, Drayton and Steele, indicates that it was still being widely read in English until well into the early modern period. This parallel-text edition is designed to complement rather than to supplant earlier editions of Bevis, such as that produced by Eugen Kolbing and published for the Early English Text Society in 1885-1894. A substantial introduction and extensive annotation place the Middle English romance in its literary and cultural contexts, from the fourteenth century down to the present day. The principal aims of the edition are to indicate the variety and complexity of the textual tradition of Bevis and to provide material for further, more nuanced approaches to a significant cultural phenomenon.


The Bevis Story in Britain and Europe
Plot Summary
The Middle English Bevis and Its Anglo-Norman Source
Style and Technique
Authorial Stance
Post-Medieval Influence and Reception
The Extra-Literary Bevis
Bevis in Local Traditions
The 'Historical' Bevis
Bevis in the Visual Arts
Bevis Scholarship
The Text of Bevis
The Manuscripts
Textual Relations
Characterization of Texts
Editions of Bevis
Editorial Procedure
Sir Bevis of Hampton
Explanatory Notes
Index of Names

About the author: 

Jennifer Fellows was educated at The Abbey, Malvern Wells, and read English at Westfield College, University of London; she graduated in 1972. After a couple of years working as Senior Library Assistant at King's College, Cambridge, she embarked on postgraduate research at Newnham College, Cambridge; her doctorate (for a multi-text edition of Bevis) was awarded in 1980. She worked as Assistant Editor of Medium AEvum and as a freelance copy-editor (for Cambridge University Press, Routledge, J. M. Dent, University of Wales Press, and others) before becoming first Assistant Editor, then Academic Editor, of the Modern Humanities Research Association's Annual Bibliography of English Language and Literature. Since retirement in 2013, she has divided her time between Bevis and British misericords. She has published fairly extensively (for a non-academic) on Middle English and early modern literature, and once on misericords.

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