chapter
THE LOW COUNTRIES
ByBart Besamusca
Pages 28

The tradition of Arthurian romance in verse as written by Chretien and his followers is strongly represented in Middle Dutch Arthurian literature. The tradition of the prose romances was also well established in the Low Countries. The Middle Dutch Arthurian romances have come to us in a few codices and a great many fragments, most of which came into being in the fourteenth century. From the middle of the thirteenth century onward, the matiere de Bretagne inspired several poets to write indigenous romances. Middle Dutch Arthurian literature does not consist of translations and adaptations only. The study of the literary aspects of Middle Dutch Arthurian romances has recently gained momentum. Dutch and Belgian scholars studied Arthurian romances first of all as literary products whose structure and meaning need to be examined. Scholars interested in a contextual approach to Middle Dutch Arthurian romances labor under the difficulty of having scarcely any details at all on the sociohistorical background of their texts.