The Brut Tradition

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This article tracks the development of the Brut tradition, from its inception in the ninth century text the Historia Brittonum, via Geoffrey of Monmouth’s twelfth century Historia Regum Britannaie, Wace’s Roman de Brut and Layamon’s Brut (both twelfth century), to the myriad Prose Bruts, in Anglo-Norman, Latin and Middle English, from the thirteenth to the sixteenth centuries. It argues that the Brut is best understood both as a distinctive literary tradition and as a well-spring of mythography from which a range of late medieval, and post-medieval, writers drew. The article indicates the utility of the Brut tradition to emergent notions of English identity and the role the narratives recorded by the Brut tradition played in orchestrating English colonial attitudes to its insular and continental neighbours. The article concludes by assessing the importance of the Brut tradition for book culture and emergent models of literary taste in the later Middle Ages
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain
EditorsRobert Rouse, Sian Echard
ISBN (Print)978-1-118-39698-8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017

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