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Arthurian Romances (Dover Books on Literature & Drama) by [Troyes, Chretien de]
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Arthurian Romances (Dover Books on Literature & Drama) Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Length: 321 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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While little is known of his life, Chretien de Troyes is chiefly responsible for the preservation of Arthurian myth and its eminent role in European literature. Filled with romantic tales of Lancelot and early Grail legends, this exacting translation of his 12th-century verse narratives features 4 romances that expound on the ideals of French chivalry.

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An idyllically happy marriage in which a husband is so involved that he neglects his duties as a knight; love endangered by husband who is more interested in athletic chivalry than his wife; timorous young love; and adulterous passion--together these stories offer the most complete expression we possess from a single author of the ideals of French chivalry and of courtly love.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1428 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0486451011
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (21 Mar. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00A73BMBG
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,182,060 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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By Martin Turner HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 13 Feb. 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a foundational text in understanding the French Arthurian tradition. If you are studying medieval literature and can't read Chretien de Troyes in his original, then this should be high on your reading list.
On the other hand, if you are a casual reader interested in getting to the sources of the King Arthur stories, you may find Chretien rather disappointing.
For modern tastes, there is far too much narrative here and not enough characterisation or description. Chretien also has the habit of interrupting his denouements with apparently irrelevant observations on the nature of courtly love.
Clearly, Chretien's audience had very different expectations from most modern readers. If you want to enjoy the Arthurian Romances, it's worth trying to get into the mind of the original readers.
You need to remember that although today we see Arthur as escapist legend, in Chretien's time the 'matter of Britain' was a legitimate subject for an intellectual engaging other intellectuals.
Equally, looking back through the eyes of Tennyson (if not Hollywood), we tend to see Arthur as a romantic ideal. This assessment is further clouded by the title of this translation. The word 'Romance' here really means 'Novel', rather than something concerned with romantic love. The idea of love in Chretien is the idea set out in Andreas Capellanus 'the Art of Courtly Love', not that of 'Idylls of the King'.
Finally, the complex of social castes in Chretien was not something exotic or ancient to the original readers. There are layers of meaning which would have be obvious to his audience but which are concealed from us.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I really can't say enough in praise of this wonderful book. Each poem is translated into prose in a lively and vivid style. The dialogue is crisp and natural and the action non-stop. But Chretien's intentions go even deeper than merely telling cracking yarns. Each are sensitive and intelligent explorations of human nature.
Marital love is ever an important theme in Chretien. In Erec and Enide, the hero neglects his knightly reputation in order to devote himself to his new bride, and in Yvain the hero does the opposite and neglects his bride for valour. Both must set off on a series of adventures that culminate in them seeing the error of their ways and setting matters right.
Lancelot is an excellent story, though rather odd in that the theme this time is an adulterous relationship, that of Lancelot and Guinevere. Nowhere does Chretien condemn this relationship, despite negative references elsewhere to the shameful adulterous love between Tristan and Iseult. In Kibler's introduction he suggests that the theme may have been suggested by Chretien's patroness. Perhaps, then, Chretien was anxious not to offend the French Court. At any rate, he didn't bother to finish the romance and gave it to someone else to do (the ending is included in this book).
In Perceval Chretien masterfully captures the naivete of the young hero, and he delivers the most mysterious, powerful and influential Arthur story of all. Here we see the holy grail, the bleeding lance and the castle of maidens, all of which have become essential ingredients in Arthurian lore. It's unfinished state presented an irresistible challenge to later poets, some of whom tried to finish it off, others who went back to the beginning and offered their own interpretations.
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By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME on 29 Dec. 2005
Format: Paperback
Chrétien de Troyes is an early French romantic writing, who wrote the first known story about the Holy Grail. De Troyes lived in the Champagne region of France during the latter twelfth century. Peripherally attached to courts including that of the famous Eleanor of Acquitaine, de Troyes stories of the Arthurian legends provides a foundation for almost all future Arthurian stories.
Chrétien's major works include four poems included in this collection: Erec and Enide, Cligés, The Knight of the Cart (Lancelot), and The Knight of the Lion (Yvain). For Grail seekers, the story of most interest will be the unfinished Perceval: The Story of the Grail. Although the tale exists in finished form (in fact, several variations of finished forms), de Troyes in fact only wrote the first 9000 lines of the approximately 32,000 line text. (De Troyes also was embellished or supplemented by later additions to the tale of Lancelot, perhaps because de Troyes did not want to include an adulterous affair).
The story of Erec and Enide is a love story between one of Arthur's knights, Erec, who while out with Guinevere encounters a mean-spirited knight Yder; Erec's pursuit of Yder leads to his meeting Enide, and the two have a stormy relationship (by medieval romantic standards) but ultimately are able to reconcile their love and relationship with public duty.
The story of Cligés is one of tricky and forbidden relationships. Cligés, a native of Greece, falls in love with Fenice, his uncle's wife (Cligés' uncle happens to be the emperor). Their love is discovered, but with the aid of King Arthur, their relationship continues in Cligés' home country of Greece.
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