Further reading

Aers, David. "'In Arthurus day': Community, Virtue, and Individual Identity in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight." In Community, Gender, and individual Identity: English Writing 1360-1430. London/New York: Routledge, 1988. Field, Rosalind. "Romance in England, 1066-1400." In The Cambridge History of Medieval English Literature, edited by David Wallace, 152-176. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999. Keen, Maurice. Chivalry. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1984, 1987. Lyons, Faith. "Aspects of the Knighting Ceremony." In The Medieval Alexander Legend and Romance Epic, edited by Peter Noble, Lucie Polak, and Claire Isoz, 125-130. New York: Kraus International, 1982. Ramsey, Lee. Chivalric Romances: Popular Literature in Medieval England. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1983.

Candace Gregory-Abbott

CHRONICLE An early form of historical writing, possibly associated with the annales of Latin classical literature, the chronicle may consist simply of a record of past events that sometimes mixes fact and legendary fiction (especially when the record stretches back for a long period of time) or registers the passing of the years by showing the annual changes in magistracies or computing from the years in a king's reign. Chronicles are written in both verse and prose. If they deal with events year by year, they are generally called annals; chronicles tend to be more rhetorically polished, but the two terms overlap.

Chronicles were very popular throughout medieval and early modern European literature, especially in Britain, as attested by the surviving number of manuscripts (nine pre-1400 C.E.; more than 100 dated 1400-75). Many chroniclers combined the duties of secretary, councilor, diplomatic envoy, and historian, and their activity was closely connected to royal or church policy, even if they were not directly employed by the Crown or by the ecclesiastical authority. Chronicles can also be read as a useful instrument for political propaganda, and as such they met particular favor in the late 15th and early 16th centuries.

Among the most famous examples of the genre, we can cite the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, begun in the ninth century and continued until 1154. Other well-known examples include John Trevisa's Polychronicon and John Capgrave's Chronicle of England, relating English history until the year 1417. Some scholars consider texts such as John Barbour's The Bruce (1375) among chronicles as well. Perhaps the most famous chronicle is Raphael Holinshed's Chronicles of England, Scotland and Ireland (1577-87), from which William Shakespeare drew much of his source material for his history plays.

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