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performance, Middle English popular verse


Despite the paucity of direct evidence of performance, some form of public representation of the Middle English popular verse romances remains a possibility, and that possibility has been reached by extrapolation from a number of directions. The convergence of evidence, though indirect, has become convincing, and a new approach strengthens that likelihood even further. In an attempt to understand if and how the romances were performed, scholars have considered internal references to performance, historical documents of performance and audience, physical evidence from the manuscripts, cognitive theory, theory of orality and “mouvance,” and evidence from textual variants.