Jordi Sánchez Martí


The Middle English Sir Orfeo presents a medievalized version of the classical myth of Orpheus that shows the influence of Celtic lore. Modern scholars seem to have accepted the views of A. J. Bliss, the editor of the Middle English romance, who argues that the English text is a translation of an Anglo-Norman or Old French version. Since we have no textual evidence that can positively support Bliss’s hypothesis, this article tests the possibility that the Middle English romance actually represents an insular tradition of the Orpheus myth that originated in Anglo-Saxon times with King Alfred’s rendering of the story and continued evolving by means of oral-memorial transmission until the fourteenth century, when the English romance was written down in the Auchinleck manuscript.


Sir Orfeo; King Alfred; Otherworld; Walter Map; Marie de France; Geoffrey of Monmouth

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