Simple Forms: Essays on Medieval English Popular Literature

Hardcover | March 26, 2015

byDouglas Gray

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Simple Forms is a study of popular or folk literature in the medieval period. Focusing both on the vast body of oral literature that lies behind the written texts which have survived from the medieval period and on the popular literature provided by literate authors for audiences of hearersor readers with varying degrees of literacy, Douglas Gray leads new readers to a productively complicated understanding of the relationship between medieval popular culture and the culture of the learned. He argues that medieval society was stratified, in what seems to us a rigid way, but thatculturally it was more flexible. Literary topics, themes, and forms moved; there was much borrowing, and a constant interaction. Popular tales, motifs, and ideas passed into learned or courtly works; learned forms and attitudes made their way in into popular culture. All in all this seems to havebeen a fruitful symbiosis. The book's twelve chapters are principally organised genre, covering epics, ballads, popular romances, folktales, the German sage, legends, animal tales and fables, proverbs, riddles, satires, songs, and drama.

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Simple Forms is a study of popular or folk literature in the medieval period. Focusing both on the vast body of oral literature that lies behind the written texts which have survived from the medieval period and on the popular literature provided by literate authors for audiences of hearersor readers with varying degrees of literacy, ...

Douglas Gray is J. R. R. Tolkein Professor of English Literature and Language Emeritus at the University of Oxford.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.85 inPublished:March 26, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:019870609X

ISBN - 13:9780198706090

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Table of Contents

Preface1. Folk Literature? Popular Literature? Questions and Problems2. Notes on Popular Culture3. The Ocean of Story: Narrative Forms--Myth; Epic and Heroic Lay4. Ballads5. Popular Romances6. Folktale; Folktale into Art7. Sage; Tale; Legend8. 'Merry Tale'; Animal Tale and Fable9. Proverb10. Riddle11. Satire12. Songs and Drama