The Chaucer Review: An Indexed Bibliography (Vols. 1-30)Return to the Subject List
Finlayson, John. "The Form of the Middle English Lay." 19 (1985): 352-68.
Few Middle English texts can claim to be lays, works modelled on the Breton lays of Marie de France. Generally, lays are "set in Brittany, concern love, and have a functional magical element" (361), though lays vary substantially between themselves. The similarities between Sir Degare, Le Freine, and Sir Orfeo, particularly in word choice may result from a joint author-translator. Examination of the works claiming to be lays--the Franklin's Tale, Erl of Tolous, Sir Launfal, Emaré, and Sir Gowther--shows that they can be divided into two types, but that the later works modify the form of the lay considerably.