Amadis in English: A Study in the Reading of Romance

ISBN : 9780198832423

Helen Moore
400 ページ
156 x 234 mm

This is a book about readers: readers reading, and readers writing. They are readers of all ages and from all ages: young and old, male and female, from Europe and the Americas. The book they are reading is the Spanish chivalric romance Amadis de Gaula, known in English as Amadis de Gaule. Famous throughout the sixteenth century as the pinnacle of its fictional genre, the cultural functions of Amadis were further elaborated by the publication of Cervantes' Don Quixote in 1605, in which Amadis features as Quixote's favourite book. Amadis thereby becomes, as the philosopher Ortega y Gasset terms it, 'enclosed' within the modern novel and part of the imaginative landscape of British reader-authors such Mary Shelley, Smollett, Keats, Southey, Scott, and Thackeray.

Amadis in English ranges from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, demonstrating through this 'biography' of a book the deep cultural, intellectual, and political connections of English, French, and Spanish literature across five centuries. Simultaneously an ambitious work of transnational literary history and a new intervention in the history of reading, this study argues that romance is historically located, culturally responsive, and uniquely flexible in the re-creative possibilities it offers readers. By revealing this hitherto unexamined reading experience connecting readers of all backgrounds, Amadis in English also offers many new insights into the politicisation of literary history; the construction and misconstruction of literary relations between England, France, and Spain; the practice and pleasures of reading fiction; and the enduring power of imagination.


1 Introduction

2 Receiving Romance

3 Princely Reading or a Wanton Book?: Amadis in Tudor England

4 The Legacy of Don Quixote: Amadis in the Early Seventeenth Century

5 The Homer of Romancy-Writers: Republic, Restoration and After

6 Amadis as Spectacle and Source: The Eighteenth Century

7 The Genius of Old Romance: Amadis and British Romanticism

8 Coda: Crocodile and Catawampus

Synopsis of Amadis de Gaule, books one to four



Helen Moore is Associate Professor in the Faculty of English, University of Oxford, and teaches English at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, where she is currently President. She has edited the early modern romance Amadis de Gaule (Ashgate, 2004) and the play Guy of Warwick (1661) (Malone Society, 2007). She was the lead curator for the 2011 Bodleian Libraries' exhibition Manifold Greatness: Oxford and the Making of the King James Bible, mounted in collaboration with the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington DC. She co-edited the accompanying book, Manifold Greatness: The Making of the King James Bible (Bodleian Libraries, 2011), and is also the co-editor of Classical Literary Careers and their Reception (Cambridge University Press, 2010).