The earliest examples of romance in mid-twelfth century France emerged from a wish to retrieve stories from the past and retell them “en romanz”, that is, as vernacular narratives in languages such as French that all would be able to understand, as opposed to scholarly Latin. These early romances cover a striking range of themes and material. The romans d’antiquité or matter of Rome gave new form and voice to classical epics and legends, the matter of France and England offered the chivalric adventures of Charlemagne, Arthur and their knights, and stories like Horn, Havelock, Guy of Warwick and Bevis of Hampton provided exemplars of Anglo-Norman …
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Das, Nandini. "Renaissance Romance". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 May 2008
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=5509, accessed 28 May 2017.]