The medieval and its preoccupation with its own principal genres, such as the epic, poetry written in cuaderna vía verse, courtly literature, may appear far removed from modern-day literary critical concerns. Indeed, Paul Zumthor characterizes interest in the Middle Ages as study of ‘otherness’ (1986: 28–29), whilst the Golden Age with its religious poetry, its formalized poetry in the form of the sonnet, and its religious and political theatre, may also seem far removed from modern concerns. Yet, in many respects, medieval and Golden Age letters are not far removed from issues relevant to modern literature. Questions such as what is the relationship of nineteenth-century novelistic dialogue to conversation in the streets and in domestic settings are similar to matching the conversations in a sixteenth-century novel to possible glimpses of words heard in streets and private settings. Recording real-life conversation from earlier periods is impossible and the nineteenth-century oral world just as evanescent as that of the Middle Ages or the centuries that followed.