The thirteenth-century poem King Horn is widely regarded as the first Middle English romance. Consequently, a disproportional amount of attention has been paid to the work's genre and linguistic features, often at the expense of more complex interpretative concerns. One such aspect of the poem is the structural negotiation of the conflict between Saracens and the londisse men allied to the protagonist. This clash permeates the work and pits the land against the sea, elevating the shore to a defining role.
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