Landscape in Middle English Romance: The Medieval Imagination and the Natural World (Cambridge Studies in Medieval Literature)

Our current ecological crises compel us not only to understand how contemporary media shapes our conceptions of human relationships with the environment, but also to examine the historical genealogies of such perspectives. Written during the onset of the Little Ice Age in Britain, Middle English romances provide a fascinating window into the worldviews of popular vernacular literature (and its audiences) at the close of the Middle Ages. Andrew M. Richmond shows how literary conventions of romances shaped and were in turn influenced by contemporary perspectives on the natural world. These popular texts also reveal widespread concern regarding the damaging effects of human actions and climate change. The natural world was a constant presence in the writing, thoughts, and lives of the audiences and authors of medieval English romance – and these close readings reveal that our environmental concerns go back further in our history and culture than we think.