of the field of inquiry.
As an introduction to the ten essays that comprise this book, I
provide neither a historical overview of the genre (authorship, audience, manuscripts) nor a survey of the different theoretical approaches
that help elucidate the workings of popularculture; both of these have
recently received admirable treatment elsewhere.3 Instead, I offer a
short polemical essay that confronts head-on the paradox that informs
and ultimately circumscribes all of our thinking about Middle English
popular romance. ‘Popular’ in its capacity to attract a large
Le Bone Florence of Rome and bourgeois self-making
these things than
This links, of course, to a larger debate over ‘popular’ culture, and
to the extent to which the categories ‘popular’ and ‘elite’ (and the
hierarchy of taste they assume) are themselves produced by the criticism that claims to be only describing them. It may be, however, that
it is not only modern academic judgements that are at issue here,
because the kinds of implicit distinctions and hierarchies being drawn
in the twentieth century surely mirror practices from the fifteenth.
The scribe of CUL Ff. 2. 38 was of Leicestershire origin and
Maria Sachiko Cecire, ‘ Ban Welondes : Wayland Smith in popularculture’, in Clark and Perkins (eds), Anglo-Saxon culture and the modern imagination , pp. 201–17, at 205.
See the entries on orþanc and searu in James Bosworth and T. Northcote Toller, An Anglo-Saxon dictionary (Oxford, 1898), with Supplement by T. N. Toller (1921) and Revised and enlarged addenda by A
social scientists began to access the role that ambivalence rather than sentimentality and attachment play in parent–child relationships. As these discussions extended beyond the family unit, ‘intimacy ambivalence’ became recognized as a state of feeling that, according to Karen Prager, ‘is built into intimate relationships’,
whether these are enacted between couples or friends, in private or public domains. Thus, as Lauren Berlant comments, while ‘in popularculture ambivalence is seen