chapter
ENGLAND
ByJames P. Carley
Pages 82

In a 1988 study of progress and trends, Keith Busby argued that French Arthurian literature stands at the beginning of the Arthurian literary tradition in whatever language and whatever period. From the perspective of the English tradition, Busby's thesis has much to recommend it and many scholars have remarked on the irony that the matiere de Bretagne is a French creation codified within the French language, but the thesis also depends on the way in which literature is defined. Although there are some problems in defining romance within the French tradition, Busby refers to the hornet's nest of genre-definitions the issue seems even more complex in the English context. The discussion of aesthetic value leads back to audience expectation and relationship to French materials. In 1971, Lillian Herlands Hornstein provided a survey of scholarship and desiderata in the field of Middle English romances, in which she voiced a concern about the definition of the genre.