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Magical Fountains In Middle English Romance

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Chapter Summary

Fountains that appear in the Middle English romances actively participate in their fictions in a number of ways, providing imaginative signposts on the literary landscape, marking narrative segments that advance plot, and acting as metaphorical catalysts that both spur and symbolize the process of transformation which the embattled hero undergoes. The magical fountains found in the romances of Floris and Blancheflour, Ywain and Gawain, and Melusine, which possess talents ranging from testing a lovers chastity to raising a teeth-rattling storm, serve to organize the stories in which they appear by harnessing an array of subtle interpretations and movements to their seemingly innocent powers. In the Middle English romances of Floris and Blancheflour, Ywain and Gawain, and Melusine, magical wells and fountains serve as the structural centerpiece where all the threads of the story cross and are drawn together.

Keywords: Blancheflour; Floris; magical fountains; Melusine; Middle English Romance; Ywain



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