Critics’ Reviews

Richard Coeur de Lion stands out in the Middle English romance tradition for its union of historical details of the Third Crusade with fantastical elements, including royal cannibalism, a flying demonic mother, and almost magical feats of technology. Katherine H. Terrell’s translation is well crafted and clear, while her abundant selections from historical chronicles and documents in the appendices open up the twelfth-century context of Richard’s reign to the reader. This volume is an excellent addition to courses on medieval studies, history of the Crusades, romance, and fantasy literature through the ages. It also sheds light on women’s history, through the romance’s elaborate yet oblique treatment of the historical Richard’s powerful mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine.” — Suzanne Conklin Akbari, University of Toronto

“Terrell’s edition offers the first complete modern English translation of Richard Coeur de Lion. This provocative Middle English romance reimagines the events of the Third Crusade and provides valuable insight into fourteenth-century identity formation contingent on crusading involvements and religious competition. The fictive account, which presents a King Richard I of England who engages in crusader cannibalism, invites students and scholars to explore the historical exigencies of premodern religious warfare as well as to examine the management and production of a royal, proto-national image. Terrell’s meticulous and elegant translation will provide undergraduate students and general readers with a welcome entrance into this complex poem. Richard Coeur de Lion in translation will certainly find its place in university classrooms alongside other fourteenth-century Middle English crusade romances such as Boyarin’s Siege of Jerusalem, and canonical works such as Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Knight’s Tale.” — Suzanne M. Yeager, Fordham University

Posted on December 6, 2018