"An accurate, elegant rendering of major late-medieval texts, crucial to our understanding of the courtly tradition and of Chaucer. Ideal for classroom use."--William Calin, University of Florida
"Elegant and graceful translations of the most important authors of the late Middle Ages; each work brings a new take on the topic of love. A superb resource for students and scholars in comparative literature and medieval studies."--Wendy Pfeffer, University of Louisville
This very first anthology of medieval love debate poems--comprising five masterpieces of the genre--explores the many compelling mysteries raised by the experience of romantic love. Some have been translated into modern English for the first time. With wit, ingenuity, and humor, these poems suggest intriguing answers to what contemporary inquirers would call questions of gender and sexual politics: Who loves better, men or women? Are men or women more faithful in love? Are women obligated to reciprocate the attentions of an ardent male? What qualities in a lover do women most desire?
The contributors provide a foundation for the love debate genre and medieval literary treatments of love, as well as pertinent facts of literary history and biographical details about the poets, whose work spans more than 100 years. The volume features works that have been recognized for centuries as central texts of the medieval tradition: Christine de Pizan's Debate of the Two Lovers, Alain Chartier's Debate of the Four Ladies, Geoffrey Chaucer's The Legend of Good Women, and Guillaume de Machaut's Judgment of the King of Bohemia and Judgment of the King of Navarre. Each translation is appropriately annotated for student use.
R. Barton Palmer is Calhoun Lemon Professor of Literature at Clemson University. Barbara K. Altmann is associate professor of French at the University of Oregon.
…of particular use for those studying the treatment of love and gender in medieval literature, and also for students of Chaucer's dream-vision poetry.
…Altman and Palmer have performed a valuable service for those whose linguistic competence does not extend to Middle French or to Chaucer's Middle English. The texts have been prepared with care and accuracy by capable translators whose admirable renderings of these important works are a pleasure to read.
--Encomia: Bibliographical Bulletin of the International Courtly Literature Society