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"Reynard the Fox in England"
N. F. Blake
in E. Rombauts, A. Welkenhuysen & G. Verbeke, ed., Aspects of the Medieval Animal Epic, Louvain: Leuven University Press, 1975, 53-66

"The Roman de Renart is such an important text in medieval French literature and exerted such an influence on several other medieval vernacular literatures that it has usually been assumed it was also known in medieval England and influenced Middle English writers. Two attempts have been made to document this influence: one by F. Mossť and the other by J. Flinn. Since both scholars were intent on tracing the influence of the Roman de Renart, their surveys excluded some Middle English works containing stories of foxes in which the fox is not called Reynard. The omission of these works distorts the general picture of fox literature in England for it suggests that only those stories which have some connexion with the Roman de Renart were found. It is therefore worthwhile reopening the question of whether the Roman de Renart was known in England, partly to investigate the occurrences of the fox in a wider context, and partly to consider to what ends the English poets used their material since this may provide us with a clue as to the possible sources they used. My investigation will be concerned principally with works written in Middle English, though it should not be forgotten that the fox is frequently portrayed in he art of the later Middle English period and that stories about the fox were composed also in Latin and French in England." - Blake

Language: English

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