, 94:109

First online:

Styles of Conversations in Medieval Literature: The Case of Flemish Romances

  • J. M. van DrielAffiliated withDepartment of Dutch Language and Literature, Leiden UniversityOnderwijsinstituut NDD/Nederlandse taal en cultuur, Faculteit der Geesteswetenschappen Email author 

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In this article the stylistic diversity of conversations in medieval narrative literature is discussed, based on an analysis of a corpus of medieval Flemish romances, dating from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The conversations in the works investigated will be approached from a comparative perspective on three different areas. First, several formal features of conversations are analyzed, such as the use of long and short clauses. Second, the different conversational tones of dialogues are described: different tonalities, such as an extremely courteous tone, an outspoken tone, and a rude mode, will be discussed. Finally, the use of colloquial speech is analyzed, as can be experienced in the beast epic Van den vos Reynaerde. This article concludes with a discussion of the influence of both the performance and the authorship of Flemish romances on the diverse stylization of conversations in these works.


Conversations Dialogues Style Medieval romances Flemish literature