As a literary genre
of high culture
or chivalric romance
is a style of heroic prose
and verse narrative
that was popular in the aristocratic circles of High Medieval
and Early Modern Europe
. They were fantastic stories about marvel-filled adventures
, often of a knight errant
portrayed as having heroic
qualities, who goes on a quest
. Popular literature also drew on themes of romance, but with ironic
intent. Romances reworked legends
, fairy tales
, and history to suit the readers' and hearers' tastes, but by c
.1600 they were out of fashion, and Miguel de Cervantes
famously satirised them in his novel Don Quixote
. Still, the modern image of "medieval"
is more influenced by the romance than by any other medieval genre, and the word medieval
invokes knights, distressed damsels, dragons, and other romantic tropes.C. S. Lewis
, The Discarded Image
, p. 9 ISBN 0-521-47735-2
Originally, romance literature was written in Old French
, later, in English
. During the early 13th century romances were increasingly written as prose. In later romances, particularly those of French origin, there is a marked tendency to emphasize themes of courtly love
, such as faithfulness in adversity.
During the Gothic Revival
, from ca.
1800 the connotations of "romance" moved from the magical and fantastic to somewhat eerie "Gothic" adventure narratives
Unlike the later form of the......