The French of England Translation Series (FRETS)
The French of England Translation Series (FRETS) aims to broaden the available range of the French works of medieval England. "French" here replaces the term "Anglo-Norman," normally used of texts composed in French in England between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries; it sometimes also replaces "Anglo-French," used of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century texts circulating between England and the Continent. Although "Anglo-Norman" has valid current uses (for example, in the continuing high-quality editions of the Anglo-Norman Text Society), it has tended to be associated with an older nationalizing history, based on post-medieval geopolitical configurations.
The term "French of England" is not fully descriptive, for there are in fact many kinds of French involved, and not only in England. Wales, Scotland, Ireland and various regions of medieval Europe were also territories where the texts placed under the rubric "French of England" circulated. But as a term, "French of England" has a usefully paradoxical quality that points to the complexities of multilingual and multicultural territories; and, given that "French" is a broader term than "Anglo-Norman" and "Anglo-French," it can denote French in, of, and from medieval England, in literary and documentary genres, especially during the main francophone period from the twelfth through the fifteenth centuries. Many of these texts have not received the attention they deserve because they have been linguistically inaccessible. FRETS has therefore been conceived with the intention of enriching the available corpus of what has been called medieval "English" literature, and encouraging readers to return to the original French texts.
"These excellent volumes suggest a promising future for the FRETS series, which will, one hopes, succeed in exposing new audiences to this important and understudied body of Insular literature ... Because of the superb quality of their translations and scholarship these [volumes] will serve as important resources for scholars and for courses on both Continental and English literature."