Quotation by W.P. Ker

Whatever Epic may mean, it implies some weight and solidity; Romance means nothing, if it does not convey some notion of mystery and fantasy. A general distinction of this kind, whatever names may be used to render it, can be shown, in medieval literature, to hold good of the two large groups of narrative belonging to the earlier and the later Middle Ages respectively. Beowulf might stand for the one side. Lancelot or Gawain for the other. It is a difference not confined to literature. The two groups are distinguished from one another, as the respectable piratical gentleman of the North Sea coast in the ninth or tenth century differs from one of the companions of Saint Louis. The latter has something fantastic in his ideas which the other has not. The Crusader may indeed be natural and brutal enough in most of his ways, but he has lost the sobriety and simplicity of the earlier type of rover.
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