Medieval Oral Literature
Medieval literature is to a large extent based on oral tradition and permeated by various forms of orality: literary texts were commonly read aloud, up into the late Middle Ages; popular literature was often transmitted orally and performed by public entertainers; and a number of literary forms were shaped by an oral background. Although questions of orality and the manifold interrelations between oral and written traditions have been the subject of intensive research in medieval studies, there is no general, state-of-the-art compendium in this field. In this book an international team of scholars discusses theoretical issues, such as the oral theory, oral poetics and performance-related approaches, as well as various literary traditions and genres. Special emphasis is laid on a comprehensive view of medieval literature, which also comprises literary traditions beyond the borders of Europe, with chapters on orality and literature in the Older Germanic, the Celtic, and the Romance languages, in Middle English, Middle High German, Byzantine Greek, Russian, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, and Turkish. The book's aim is to provide a well-founded and reliable orientation for students and researchers in medieval studies.