Romance and the Modern World

Romance and the Modern World

The romance of the Middle Ages is still all around us. Filtered through generations of retellings, combined with motifs from other literatures and times, the narrative patterns and characteristic structures of romance are deeply familiar to us and our children. Perhaps this is why the fictions of two Oxford medieval scholars, C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, dominated fantasy writing in the mid-twentieth century. The Oxford English syllabus that Tolkien and Lewis helped to devise ensured that generations of students pored in detail over texts such as Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Those students included Susan Cooper, Diana Wynne Jones, Philip Pullman and Kevin Crossley-Holland. As an undergraduate in the 1960s, Terry Jones heard Tolkien lecture here. But the spell of romance is cast far wider than Oxford’s medieval and Victorian Gothic halls and libraries. Romance’s battles, chivalry, magic and monsters, its focus on relationships and its celebration of the pleasure of storytelling are integral to much fiction for adults and children, to film, toys and digital gaming. No wonder that the story of an unknown boy, brought up ignorant of his heroic lineage and struggling against dark forces can make it to today’s bestseller lists. His name? Harry Potter.

Origin Stories
Origin Stories
Romance and the Medieval World
Romance and the Medieval World
Truth, Deceit and Desire
Truth, Deceit and Desire
Empires of Romance: Arthur
Empires of Romance: Arthur
Empires of Romance: Alexander
Empires of Romance: Alexander
The Objects of Romance
The Objects of Romance
Cities under Siege
Cities under Siege
Strange Encounters
Strange Encounters
The Fortunes of Sir Gawain
The Fortunes of Sir Gawain
Composing, Writing, Preserving
Composing, Writing, Preserving
The Percy Folio
The Percy Folio
Routes of Romance I
Routes of Romance I
Routes of Romance II
Routes of Romance II
Romance and the Modern World
Romance and the Modern World