In Diane Speed's article, she focuses on the role that the Saracens play within the Romance of Horn. Throughout the article, Speed tries to figure out who the Saracens were and breaks it down by looking at where their homeland is, who the leaders were, the representation of the giant, their appearance, their religion, and their journey. She wanted to compare the King Horn tell to that of a the French chansons de geste, which is Old French for "song of heroic deed," and is a medieval narrative, an epic poem, in Medieval French literature. She did a lot of comparing King Horn to multiple medieval French texts, such as the Song of Roland and Doon de Maience. She argues that there are strong parallels to multiple stories, such as being heroic poems, and heroes who were scarcely affected by the interest of courtliness and fin amor, which became trademark for medieval tales later on in the 12th century (591). In showing these parallels, we can see where it is that King Horn, fits in the role of Medieval Romances. According to Speed, by examining the Saracens, who she points out are only one group of characters, would allow for further examination of other characters. Through her examination of the Saracens, Speed focused on the ways that this story was primarily a chansons de geste, a literary technique that was already in full use during this time, as well as the beginnings of what would eventually become Medieval Romances.
It was difficult to read her article, as it seems that she was trying to use the Saracens to address a different point of the text (primarily how it fits as a chansons de geste and a Medieval Romance) but it seems she lost the way since these two ideas were not as strongly linked as they could have been. This article was written in 1990, and it clearly shows its age, as Speed relies on information about the Saracens that we know now are not accurate. But it was interesting when she discussed why it was she decided not to focus on the very Germanic side, but it could have helped if her article had a much clearer direction.
It did feel like she was moving in and out of different pockets of ideas and never fully settling onto one, until halfway through the article when she started discussing the Saracens. While it was an interesting article, I did find myself having to read and reread this a few times in order to try to grasp what was happening and what she was trying to prove.
I agree with you that this text/article has not aged particularly well. I did enjoy, and resonated, with the idea of the chanson de geste and recategorization of this genre, but I almost saw her perception of the Saracen's representing one group, or group of characters, as lazy analysis, and possibly also lazy research. Perhaps, much of the current information we have on "Saracens" as a broadband label of many Arabic tribes, and subsequently "others" that were unfamiliar, is fairly new, and an excellent recent critical turn in Medieval studies, but even the presence of the term Saracen in other works seemed to repudiate many of the claims Speed made. Perhaps, she was too focused on the Romance of Horn.