Romance is a notoriously slippery category’ (Barbara Fuchs). Discuss two of the texts from the list above and explain how they shed light on the concept of ‘romance’.
The concept of romance can be explored by first understanding its origins. ‘Romance’ means ‘vernacular’, which in the 12th century meant that romance was written in Roman, the popular language of the time, rather than classical Latin which scholars and monks spoke. This shows how from the very conception of romance, its purpose was to provide a medium in which all people, not just scholars, could understand and relate to. While romance was originally the language of stories, it later became common for the type of stories themselves to be written in the language of the people.…show more content… The third person narrative throughout the text focuses not only on the protagonist’s exploits, but also on his motivation, morals and state of mind. Beowulf
One large feature of romance is the presence of a sense of adventure. Heroes often grow up estranged and in harsh environments before being expelled to somewhere else. In Beowulf, the poem’s opening introduces Scyld Scefing who reached the tribe’s shoes as a castaway on a ship loaded with treasure. At the very beginning of this epic, the idea of adventure has already been introduced in the storyline at a very early stage.
The graphic and devastating slaughters carried out by the monster, Grendel, against the people of the community are recounted with extremely careful attention paid to details. The use of imagery allows the reader to fully immerse themselves in the action, “The monster did not intend to delay, but as a start he hastily grabbed a sleeping soldier, tore him apart without any trouble, chewed his joints, drank the blood out of his veins and gulped him down in gobbets”. Romantic texts often feature an abundance of imagery and detail, which is seen through this passage from…show more content… The action in this story incorporates aspects of the past, present, and future. Beowulf goes on three quests throughout the epic. His first quest is to battle and defeat Grendel. After he defeats Grendel by violently ripping him limb from limb, Beowulf has to battle Grendel’s mother and kill her with the sword. This sheds light on aspects of romance through the use of descriptive imagery while slaughtering Grendel; “The terrible monster suffered a bodily wound – in his shoulder a great lesion became conspicuous. The sinews were snapping apart, his joints were bursting”. When this is juxtaposed against the imagery used with the monster pillaging the village, it becomes clear that these two very different accounts of strength allowed the reader to appreciate the romantic feature of imagery within the