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Anglo-Norman literature

Anglo-Norman literature, body of literature written in England, in the French dialect known as Anglo-Norman, from c.1100 to c.1250. Initiated at the court of Henry I, it was supported by the wealthy, French-speaking aristocracy who controlled England after the Norman conquest. The dominant literary forms were histories, sacred and secular biographies, and homilies; romance and fiction were relatively scarce. Perhaps the most important historian was Geoffrey Gaimer, whose two-part history of England, Histoire des Bretons and Estorie des Engles, was written in verse. Philippe of Thaün, the earliest known Anglo-Norman poet, was noted for the moral allegory the Bestiaire. Of secular works, Thomas's Tristan (c.1170) is notable both artistically and as an early source for the Tristram and Isolde legend.

See M. D. Legge, Anglo-Norman Literature and Its Background (1963).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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