Ranging from Chretien de Troyes to Shakespeare, this study proposes that the chivalric romance is characterized by a centerless structure, self-conscious fictionality and a propensity for irony.
The form is tied to historical reality, yet represents the archetype of imaginative literature, declaring its fictional status without claiming to embody fixed truths. Through use of irony, the chivalric romance precludes conclusive interpretations, inviting readers to inhabit multifold fantasy worlds while uncompromisingly showing that an ideal world is only a fiction. Thus the reader is enjoined to confront the suspension of truth in their own lives.
The Chivalric Romance and the Essence of Fiction
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