The Impetus of Amateur Scholarship

Discussing and Editing Medieval Romances in Late-Eighteenth and Nineteenth-Century Britain

by Monica Santini (Author)
©2010 Monographs 255 Pages


Three quarters of what is now considered the corpus of Middle English romances were recovered and edited between the 1760s and the 1860s by a handful of dilettante scholars (from Thomas Percy to Frederick J. Furnivall) whose progress in the understanding of the texts and of the time in which they were written follows paths very different from those of modern textual and philological analysis. The present volume describes and discusses more than one hundred primary sources (collections, editions, dissertations, and marginal writings such as glosses and introductions) in order to provide a picture of the infancy of the study of medieval romance in Britain.
The volume is arranged as a chronological review of the amateur scholars and their editorial and critical practices and it was conceived as a reference book, providing a complete list of the romances edited in the period considered and information about single texts and their manuscript and printed versions. The author offers a picture of the first steps towards the gradual rehabilitation of a genre that had been despised for more than two centuries and its inclusion in the literary canon. Her discussion illuminates several aspects of the transmission and reshaping of the medieval culture in the nineteenth century and constitutes a contribution to the desideratum of a history of medieval studies.


ISBN (Softcover)
19th Century English Literature Old and Middle English (-1500) History of Culture and the Humanities Medieval Studies
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2010. 255 pp.

Biographical notes

Monica Santini (Author)

The Author: Monica Santini is a post-doc fellow and junior lecturer at the University of Padova. After graduating in Middle English Literature, she has studied the legacy of romance in modern Britain during her Ph.D. She has published articles on sixteenth-century romances, the use of romantic elements in Elizabethan entertainments, and the role of romance in the formation of the language of literary criticism in the eighteenth century. She is currently working on the official letters of queen Elizabeth I and on children’s literature.


Title: The Impetus of Amateur Scholarship