Based on a detailed analysis of the Roland and the Cid and twelve additional Romance narratives, Professor Dorfman's argument is that the structure of the medieval Romance epics may be analyzed into functional units which he calls "narremes." He divides a narrative into two types of structure: the superstructure and the substructure. A narrative, by definition, is a series of incidents. All the incidents in the narrative, taken as written, form the superstructure. Analysis, however, shows that many of the incidents may be abstracted from the narrative without deflecting the story-line. On the other hand, other incidents reveal themselves as organically linked with each other, so they cannot be omitted, without destroying the story-line. These selected incidents are the narremes, which make up the substructure of the narrative.
This method of analysis produces so interesting and surprising results, results which make an important advance in research in linguistics and Romance literature.
Eugene Dorfman, as an orthodox structuralist, has focused strictly on the formal descriptions of the narratives; but his analysis leads into the great traditional problems of literary history, and in particular poses anew the problem of the origins of the epic.
Chateaubriand, a prodigious artist with an incomparable style, enjoys the further distinction of having fused in his work the end of one epoch and the beginning of another. It is sometimes forgotten that these epochs are not only French but also European in scope, and their reverberations as expressed by Chateaubriand have affected almost every subsequent writer of importance up to the present. Chateaubriand is often called the father of romanticism. It may be claimed with equal reason that he is the grandfather of the neo-romanticism of our time.
This edition of René contains, as well as a full introduction, notes covering the allusions to place names, events, and personages, and a complete vocabulary.
In Medieval Studies and the Ghost Stories of M. R. James, Patrick J. Murphy argues that these twin careers are inextricably linked. James’s research not only informed his fiction but also reflected his anxieties about the nature of academic life and explored the delicate divide between professional, university men and erratic hobbyists or antiquaries. Murphy shows how detailed attention to the scholarly inspirations behind James’s fiction provides considerable insight into a formative moment in medieval studies, as well as into James’s methods as a master stylist of understated horror.
During his life, James often claimed that his stories were mere entertainments—pleasing distractions from a life largely defined by academic discipline and restraint—and readers over the years have been content to take him at his word. This intriguing volume, however, convincingly proves otherwise.