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14 May 2015

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New book explores medieval literature and culture

A new book edited by St Hugh’s Tutor in English Dr Nicholas Perkins explores how medieval romances respond to material objects, art and culture. Romance narratives of adventure and quest were some of the most popular narrative forms in the Middle Ages; they also carried complex messages about social status, ethics and the art of storytelling itself. In Medieval Romance and Material Culture fifteen leading scholars from around the world discuss how romances interact with medieval material culture, including works of visual art; ivory carvings; musical instruments; and even chess pieces used as deadly weapons.

Dr Perkins commented: ‘I’m delighted to see this book published. The Bodleian Library here in Oxford preserves some of the most precious books containing medieval romances; this collection of essays is in part a response to the Bodleian exhibition ‘The Romance of the Middle Ages’ that I curated there, but it also moves into new areas of research about the relationship between literature and materiality, which bring scholars from different disciplines in conversation with one another.’

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