Amadas

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For other uses, see Amadas (disambiguation).

Amadas, or Sir Amadace is a medieval English chivalric romance, one of the rare ones for which there is neither a known nor a conjectured French original, [1] like Sir Eglamour of Artois. The hero shares a name but no more with the romance Amadas et Idoine.[1]


Manuscripts[edit]

The tale is found in two medieval manuscripts: National Library of Scotland MS Advocates 19.3.1, dating to the late-fifteenth century and the slightly earlier Taylor MS 9, otherwise known as MS Ireland Blackburn in the Robert H Taylor Collection, Princeton University Libraries, dating to the mid-fifteenth century.[2] Both manuscripts are incomplete, missing the opening lines of the poem.[3]

Synopsis[edit]

Sir Amadas wastes his property in generosity. Poor, he finds a chapel where a body can not be buried until his debts are paid and spends his last coin to pay them. He meets with a white knight and adventures with him, winning lands, wealth, and a princess. His companion demands the promised half of his reward -- half the princess and their child. When Amadas goes to do it, the knight stops him and reveals that he is the man Amadas buried.

Motifs[edit]

The white knight is the folkloric figure Grateful dead, and while touched with romance, the chief intent is clearly moral, to demonstrate that generosity, even to the dead, never goes unrewarded.[4] However, the emphasis on the monetary aspects cloud this ideal.[5]

The practice of not allowing a corpse to be buried without its debts being paid is of long standing. The romance cleaves faithfully to the traditional story, lending itself simplicity.[6]

The figure of the Spendthrift Knight probably influenced the like figure in Sir Cleges.[7]

The rash vow, to share everything, is also a common motifs in romance; as is common, Amadas makes it without thinking of what it will entail or setting any limits to it.[8] This does, however, allow him to demonstrate the depths of his word's reliability.[8]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Laura A. Hibbard, Medieval Romance in England p73 New York Burt Franklin,1963
  2. ^ Foster, Edward E (Ed). 1997.
  3. ^ Foster, Edward E (Ed). 1997. Amis and Amiloun, Robert of Cisyle and Sir Amadace. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Western Michigan University, Medieval Institute Publications. Introduction to TEAMS Middle English text.
  4. ^ Laura A. Hibbard, Medieval Romance in England p74 New York Burt Franklin,1963
  5. ^ Foster, Edward E (Ed). 1997. Amis and Amiloun, Robert of Cisyle and Sir Amadace. Kalamazoo, Michigan: Western Michigan University, Medieval Institute Publications. Introduction to TEAMS Middle English text.
  6. ^ "Metrical Romances, 1200–1500.: § 9. Traditional Plots.", The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes
  7. ^ Laura A. Hibbard, Medieval Romance in England p79 New York Burt Franklin,1963
  8. ^ a b "HARKEN TO ME": MIDDLE ENGLISH ROMANCES IN TRANSLATION

External links[edit]

  • Text in modern English