This collection recovers the continuities between three forms of romance that have often been separated from one another in critical discourse: the prose fi ctions that early moderns referred to as romances, the dramatic romances staged in England during the 1570s and 1580s, and Shakespeare’s late plays, which were fi rst called romances by Edward Dowden in 1877. Many of these works were brought together in 1975 in Geoffrey Bullough’s eight-volume collection, Narrative and Dramatic Sources of Shakespeare, which provided access to much of the period’s vernacular literature for an entire generation. Yet scholars now question why texts known primarily as sources for canonical works should be consigned to such a subordinate status. Diana Henderson and James Siemon advise that we attend “not only to a particular verbal root” of the prose fi ction and dramatic texts thought to be sources because of their echoes to the plays, but “to the forests of romance from which these plays were cultivated. . . . By relocating Shakespeare’s writing within this welter of change and copia, we may gain a renewed sense of the narrative and discursive energy of vernacular culture” (220). We may also gain a more historical sense of the generic, material, and gendered priorities of prose fi ction and dramatic romance. Barbara Fuchs objects to the “strange, ahistorical categorization” by which Shakespeare’s plays came to be called “romantic” or “romances” in the context of a “neglect of prose romance” that “uncritically refl ects the hierarchies that have long organized this corpus” (96-97). Our collection addresses this problem directly by examining the connections between prose romances and early modern plays, and by foregrounding the dramatic romances that became popular in England as early as the 1570s and were revived by Shakespeare and his contemporaries in the fi rst decades of the 1600s. Appreciating the larger history associated with dramatic romance makes it more possible for us to see the historical continuities between prose fi ction and those Stuart plays, continuities that essays in this volume repeatedly explore. Barbara Mowat asks us to “recognize that Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, Cymbeline, and The Tempest are part of a larger family of dramatized romances, that they ‘submerge us in romance’” even as they draw on a native form of tragicomedy (“‘What’s’” 143). This volume responds

to these calls for a more encompassing view of the forest of romance that appreciates both its magnitude and the dramatic as well as narrative forms that crossbred within its fertile terrain.