J. W. H. Atkins (essay date 1922)
SOURCE: Atkins, J. W. H. Introduction to The Owl and the Nightingale, edited by J. W. H. Atkins, pp. xi-xc. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922.
[In the following excerpt, Atkins surveys the form, structure, and themes of The Owl and the Nightingale, appraising its effectiveness as allegorical verse and summarizing its outstanding stylistic features.]
THE FORM OF THE POEM
The type of literature to which The Owl and the Nightingale belongs, namely, the debate, was one which was specially characteristic of the 12th and early 13th centuries. Together with the Chansons de geste, the fabliaux and the Provençal...
(The entire section is 14297 words.)