Transnational Romance: The romans antiques in the Later Middle Ages

Venetia Bridges 
Durham University

What happens when medieval texts in French move into cultural and political spaces apparently defined by another language? What is their ongoing impact and influence? What do they suggest about conventional methods of periodization and approaches to literary history? The 12th-century Anglo-Norman romans antiques provide insights into all these questions via their later medieval manuscript histories. From early 13th-century Franco-Italian witnesses to 15th-century Lincolnshire copies,these early French texts continued to influence medieval literary cultures indifferent polities, yet their ongoing importance for diverse literary and political cultures has not been fully assessed. This paper will highlight the romans antiques’ importance beyond the era of their composition in specific witnesses, considering not only their impact on later medieval culture but also the implications for current approaches to periodization and language in medieval literary studies.