This collection and the romances it investigates are crucial to our understanding of the aesthetics of medieval narrative and to the ideologies of gender and sexuality, race, religion, political formations, social class, ethics, morality and national identity with which those narratives emerge.
sometimes accommodated, but it is never repressed. And it is with this in mind that I
want to return for a moment to the anxieties that exercised romance’s
early detractors: popular romance, put simply, is a dangerous recreation. Despite the gulf that inevitably separates us from these medieval
narratives, they retain the power to shock us, to unsettle our assumptions about, among other things, gender and sexuality, race, religion,
A polemical introduction 17
politicalformations, social class, ethics, morality and aesthetic