This essay addresses questions about genre, periodization, and conversion in early modern England by examining changes to the crusading romance. Despite their perceived Catholic leanings, the crusading romance and the romance in general were subsumed into a larger set of “heroical” narratives that bridged different forms. Lord Berners's Huon of Bordeaux (ca. 1515) and Richard Johnson's The Seven Champions of Christendom (1596–97) are popular prose texts that employ crusade discourse's dual sense of conversion as an intensified commitment and as a change in religion in their portrayal of Christians conquering and converting nonbelievers rather than each other. By attending to the generic association of such texts with other forms, including the captivity narrative, epic, and drama, we not only can better grasp early modern categories of thought but also can see how crusading concepts outlived the ecclesiastical institution and appealed broadly to the English populace long after the Reformation.

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