The Arthur of the French: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval French and Occitan Literature

1,417 86 118MB

English Pages 643 Year 2006

Report DMCA / Copyright


Polecaj historie

The Arthur of the French: The Arthurian Legend in Medieval French and Occitan Literature

Table of contents :
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Citation preview



llBrd uaJBx puB ssaSrn8 's


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O The Vinaver Trust, 2006

Al1 rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without clearance from the University of Wales Press, l0 Columbus Walk, Brigantine Place, Cardiff, CFlO 4Up.

www. wale


qc. uk Ipr e s s

British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data. A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

rsBN-10 0-7083-1964-5 rsBN- 1 3 97 I -0-7 083 - 19 64-2

The right of the Contributors to be identified separately as authors of their work has been asserted by them in accordance with the copyright, Designs and patents Act I


Printed in Great Britain by Antony Rowe Ltd, Wiltshire


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Manuscript Compilations of Verse Romances


Lori J. Walters


Late Medieval Arthurian Literature Jane H. M. Taylor (ed.) , Peter F. Ainsworth, I{orris Edward Donald Kennedy and William W Kibler

48B J.



The Arthurian Tradition in Occitan Literature Simon Gaunt and Ruth Harvey



Arthur in Modern French Fiction and Film Joan Tasker Grimbert and lVorris J. Lacy


This book

:.liiedbr R S .-',i \rthriri.,-. .- ;-

General Bibliography Glyn S. Burgess


General Index


Index of Manuscripts


scholarsirip -:.. \-ina\er Tr;,..: r;je\ eral r rrll.1'... ' : to -...:., :his rolllnrJ -:..- -. .lrtlntt' (tl ;i , F _


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se{e} osle 1r q8noqt ' lecrqdet?oeß e ssoJcu pesodruoc 'UEIIJJO puu qcuoJd ur slxel uerrnr{uv F^elperu o} poto^ep .{yueurrrd s q)uarf ary to "tnquv aqJ'leuoqeu ueql JeqleJ IuJnllnc sr serJes eq] ut sJossecopeJd s1r pue erunlo^ sql roJ srsuq eq1 'edo;ng le^orpou Jo sernllnc snorru^ eq1,(q ernleJelll uelrnqlrv o] eperu suorlnqrJluoc o^rlcurlslp eql ol ecrlsnl op o] peJlnber o;e.Lr sorunlon I€Je^es leql puu ',(e,t.rns elep-o1-dn pue qso4 e JoJ peeu eql pezruSoceJ lsn{ JoABUIA eq1 'serSolopoqleur pue se^rlcedsred Iecrlrrc ur se8ueqc ,(q pue dtqsreloqcs seq r1 tnq tlqerrupe oJnlBJolrl uerJnquv Jo ur secuB^pe ,tq uelelre,ro ueeq ^\ou srelogcs puu sluepnls Jo speou eq] pe^res (6961 'progxg) snuool 'S 'U ,(q pellpe {.to1stg alrunqolpJ y :sa?y alpplq ary L4 atnur.tauT uounquy eurnlo,L-e18urs eql 'eurl oruos JoC ,(1eue,r cuoue8 pu€ leJnllnJ Jror{} y1e ur s8urlu^{ uerJntluv Jo Äerr.rns elqer1eJ pue e^rsueqe;druoc e epnord o1sr sorJes erll Jo esodrnd sg1 'se8y elpplhtr er{} uI eJn}eJo}r-I uerJnqlJv sorros 0q1 ur otunlo^ i{lrnoJ eq} sr {ooq sqI

tE9 619




Dund pY











Peter F. Ainsworth (University

of Sheflield)

Emmanuöle Baumgartner (formerly Universitö de Paris III - Sorbonne nouvelle) F'B Fanni Bogdanow (formerly University of Manchester) GB Geoffrey Bromiley (University of Durham) GSB Glyn S. Burgess (University of Liverpool) KB Keith Busby (University of Wisconsin) LCB Leslie C. Brook (University of Birmingham) MTB Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner (Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA) AC Annie Combes (Universit6 de Nantes) FC Fabrizio Cigni (Universitä di Pisa) PDG Peter Damian-Grint (University of Oxford) PE Penny Eley (University of Shefäeld) JTG Joan Tasker Grimbert (Catholic University of America) SG Simon Gaunt (King's College London) RH Ruth Harvey (Royal Holloway, University of London) TH Tony Hunt (University of Oxford) DK Douglas Kelly (formerly University of Wisconsin) EDK Edward Donald Kennedy (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) tEK Elspeth Kennedy (formerly University of Oxford) WWK William W. Kibler (University of Texas) NJL Norris J. Lacy (Pennsylvania State University) FLS Frangoise Le Saux (University of Reading) RM Roger Middleton (University of Nottingham) TDDRO D. D. R. Owen (formerly University of St Andrews) KP Karen Pratt (King's College London) RTP Rupert T. Pickens (University of Kentuc§) PVR Paul V. Rockwell (Amherst College, MA) MS Michelle Szkilnik (Universit6 de Paris III - Sorbonne nouvelle) PS Penny Simons (University of Shefäeld) JHMT Jane H.M. Taylor (University of Durham) RT Richard Trachsler (Universitö de Paris IV - Sorbonne) CVCS Colette Van Coolput-Storms (Universit6 Catholique de Louvain-la* Neuve) AMLV/ Andrea M. L. Williams (University of Sydney) LJW Lori J. Walters (Florida State University, Tallahassee)



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Travaux de Linguistique et de Littörature






Travaux de Littörature (Jniversity of Texas Studies in English Vox Romanica


Yale French Studies Zeits chrft fur deuts ches Al t erturn Z eits chr tft für franzö s is che Sp r ache




und Literatur

chrft für romanische Philologie

The great para d,.

identified \\ irh



French langlras; : is no doubt thar :._. above, was t-rrsi :.,:


Re.q ttii

Geoffrey's \\ oilJ;. was made a\ a.l1r:


Norman cleric '\'\ Significantlr. it .. that served as a :.


earliest work or _r Brut also has r1,: : Round Table. ;._ romance, chreti:: Chrötien's leg..'

to him that \\'e c,',,,= adultery of Lar-; second half of ti.= : into one or mor; . Swedish and \\ e1r.. for the Welsh rt-rirdid not merelr p:. stock of Arthun;:.


rOmanCe COmptrS... successors and ca,,:. : .

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eq q8noqlle 'leq1 sr pueEel

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'luepue.lde sues ep }e e8es

'1uesre1d te UIE^ IS

]uos oruo5 op IIf luos eu8teleJfl ap eluoc I-I

uotd uaffix


aßop1rtlf, arlt; aqco.tdg otlt;;,

WruJallL- i.'i'



Almost contemporary with ChrÖtien's euvre were the French Tristan romances of Beroul and Thomas, but it was Thomas of England's courtly treatment of this Celtic legend that soon gave rise to translations in German, English and Norse

!''--:if i\, .i-,r- -,--.- -' -I lllt-rfi ,1.;;rr,'.;rjrc ti-,,:. :. ---

(chapter III). Equally influential, yet even more popular than the verse narratives, were the great thirteenth-century prose romance cycles. In the Vulgate Cycle (chapter VII) French writers presented the rise and fall of the Arthurian kingdom and the history of the Holy Grail, culminating in its Quest by Galahad and other, less perfect Knights of the Round Table. Later in the same century the matter of Arthur was combined with that of Tristan, producing in the prose Tristan (chapter VIII) and also in the Post-Vulgate Roman du Graal and related texts (chapter IX) veritable cornucopiae of Arthurian adventures. Once again, European literature gained in richness as foreign adapters translated French prose-romance material into English (most notably Sir Thomas Malory), Dutch, German, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and Greek. As other volumes in the present series demonstrate, once Arthurian matter had been transplanted in foreign soil it flourished and diversified, fusing with native literary traditions. Yet all the major European literatures originally received their Arthurian rootstock from the Francophone world. In post-conquest England the nobles who were the patrons of most literary production spoke the dialect of Old French known as Anglo-Norman, afactthat in the twelfth century facilitated cultural exchange between the France of the Capetians and the Anglo-Norman realm of the Plantagenets. Whatever Geoffrey of Monmouth's political motives may have been for composing his Historia (chapter II), his Arthur became for the Anglo-Normans a symbol of a strong monarchy with imperial ambitions, one which their rulers hoped could unite warring factions and provide the peoples of Britain with a unified national identity. If Wace did indeed dedicate his Brut to Eleanor of Aquitaine, as Layamon states, he could have been implying that her husband Henry II's recent ascent to the throne of England was continuing a tradition which had originated with the foundation of Britain by the Trojan Brutus, and which had reached its apogee in the illustrious reign of King Arthur. Howeveq although later English writers and their patrons fully exploited Arthur's potential in their constructions of an Anglo-British national identity, French authors operating beyond the Anglo-Norman kingdom had a more ambivalent attitude towards the legendary king. Whilst Chrötien's Erec presents a relatively positive view of the royal figure, leading some critics to speculate that the work was composed for Henry II,6 his later romances present a deterioration in Arthur's status,T thereby problematizing his role as exemplary monarch. Chr6tien's desire to please his noble patrons, Marie de Champagne and Philippe d'Alsace, Count of Flanders, who at times in the twelfth century found themselves in conflict with the King of France, may account for his less idealized

:-a1l ch.i:-;.:.-.:-'


\rthurLraC. ;


-rnd mar\ at^: ,-. . *

Br the ti..: .;: to h.,-, . - -

',r hole

llltlnY te\tS ,r:- Interesting :-.- -:-


'\Iaistre Ri,..,,. * .rf Pisa ( Ru: . - -: "' .111d Trist rl il :t - ,: : I ested in -\ni^ -.. ... national id::.: : .\plore ditl-r:1.. '.

hi,*qhli._ght p\-rl^:. - -.

\amine crit ic ,, specificallr lt.;.-.: .\rthur as .ln .:r- - e

or of the hri.r, ' surrounded L.., . ' outspoken. SC,:t-.: loyal., yet tre,., '. Gauvain; dece.: -. In addition. ri ; ( eucharistic o\ -:: :' Christian r.aluc s. Whilst r,r-e t-li-: Worthies, and. .,. brated at the .' chivalry, the p,largely eclipsec : (chapter XII r T explores in \ ilr', .






SucCesSive gener.:

ized throughoii: 'l Britain to genel,: :

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sF{} Jo }usuIlE:*SOCU€IUOJ





after Chr6tien de Tioyes (chapter X) exhibits a greater interest in intertextual, literary games than in the socio-political issues of the real world, although there is evidence that manuscript compilations may have been produced with ethical agendas in mind (chapter XI). Yet prose romance in particular demonstrates a desire for never-ending textuality. Indeed, French Arthurian literature's greatest strength seems to have been its ability constantly to generate new and exciting stories through the techniques of continuation, compilation, adaptation, interpolation and the complex interlacing of mysterious adventures. The Arthur of the French is the fourth book to appear in this series commissioned by the Vinaver Trust to update R. S. Loomis's influential reference volume entitled Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages: A Collaborative History, which was published in 1959. As should be clear from the above remarks, the word 'French'in our title refers to texts written in the French language rather than to a nation enclosed by strict geographical boundaries. Hence the inclusion of literature composed in England as well as in France. Moreover, although medieval Occitan (formerly often known as Old Provengal) was a separate language, distinct from Old French, the similarity of these languages and the geographical proximity of their speakers meant that in the Middle Ages there were close cultural and political links between Occitania and France. This volume therefore contains a chapter on Arthurian material in the Occitan lyric and romance (XIII), which argues that, from a southern perspective, Arthur was a foreign, northern French phenomenon. Whilst the term'French'of our title is relatively unproblematic, the definition of what constitutes Arthurian literature has created more editorial problems. In the volume as a whole a fairly broad definition has been adopted, especially in chapter X, although the statistical survey of Arthurian manuscripts in chapter I takes a slightly narrower view, and the section on narrative lays in chapter V, whilst referring to non-Arthurian examples, concentrates on those that feature Arthur or related characters. Our inclusion of the Tristan material, already present in Loomis's collective study, hardly requires justification; Arthur is mentioned by both Beroul and Thomas, and he plays a significant role in the prose Tristan,where Tristan becomes inextricably linked with the Knights of the

In updarinq


ters have be.--11 -: *. post-medier .r, r;-

placing the c:.-,: priman' imp..r --:.-. tions for the r:.-: providing a b,:,- ., *

of texts and C,--,-, . here that Artl. -.. \{iddle Ages 1. : compiler's role -.: chapter XI. anc .. and more pop r.- -: l

Tlrc Artlrtu' t,'

postgraduate >. _. _ scholars in the>; research and st,. *: Arthurian ntill i r. guide Angk)ph,. : expressin_u a CC,.-:: .

neCeSS af ,\ t t) >: S. further researci_ ency and stall,j_.:



\\e --.

retained). Since : not universallr .. - r ,

some disapprr\\


names, where tf,t-;

Round Table.

irrespective of i:.; hand, we have n,_ :

The place of the British king in the historiographical tradition is treated in several contributions throughout this volumq especially in chapters II and XII, the latter including Jehan de Waurin's chronicle of the history of Britain and England and the pseudo-historical romance Perceforest. Yet other pseudo-historical texts in which Arthur plays a minor role have been excluded, and only a representative sample of works in genres other than romance has been treated in order to demonstrate how the matter of Britain was capable of crossing generic boundaries (see William KibleE chapter XII).

foster stimularli.: chapters VIII ar.: genesis of the pi,- :: In each chitp.; concerning indi,, -.- social and liter; I summztY, issues this informätit-ri-. "



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THE ARTHI]R OF THE FRENCH anonymous and no patrons are mentioned. The general assumption is that audiences were in the main aristocratic, including noblemen, ladies and clerics, and that works were read aloud (often in instalments) at large court gatherings or in small groups. However, private reading is not to be ruled out, and the larger, more ornate manuscripts containing the lengthy prose romances were clearly designed for visual as well as aural reception. The dates we offer for texts are often very approximate, and some works are at present undergoing redating, which may in

turn affect the relative dating of other works. The multiple authorship of this volume has also led to some variation in the amount of space devoted to these different aspects, and here again consistency has not necessarily been viewed as a virtue. Indeed, more detailed synopses and longer literary analyses have been provided for lesser-known texts, especially if there is a dearth of secondary literature on them. More famous works may be treated fairly summarily, but ample supplementary reading material is cited. The reference lists contain all editions and studies mentioned in the accompanying chapter, plus additional helpful items. The first edition listed is that from which all unattributed citations in the text of the relevant chapter are taken and to which all line or page numbers relate. The Harvard system of reference (author, date, page number) is employed throughout for brevity, editions and translations of texts being distinguished from studies by the use of the editor's name, followed by the abbreviation 'edn'or transl., then by a line or page reference. Within the text the date of publication of an edition is included only where the same scholar has edited more than one work. Items accompanied by an asterisk are not found in the reference list to each chapter, but in the General Bibliography, which is designed to provide a list of the most important, and especially the most recent studies on French Arthurian romance, including reference works and bibliographies. Short titles which have been used for texts within a given chapter appear in square brackets either before or after the edition in the corresponding reference list. Acknowledgements

The editors of this book owe many debts of gratitude - to its contributors (and especially those who submitted on time) for their forbearance; to Douglas Kelly, Elspeth Kennedy and Jane Taylor for organizing the material of multi-authored chapters into molt beles conjointures; to Simon Gaunt, Roger Middleton and above all to Elaine Polley for their advice, reference-checking and careful proofreading; to Linda Gowans for her expert indexing; to the University of Wales Press for its continued interest in our project; to the Vinaver Trust for muchneeded financial and moral support; and to the late Ray Barron, general editor of the series, who sadly did not live to see this volume brought to fruition. Finally, we should like to express our sorrow that three of our distinguished contributors,


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for the others are'. Erec 12 (7 more or less complete * 5 fragments); Cligös 12 (8 + 4); the Charrette 8 (7 + 1); Yvain 14 (9 + 5). This distinction between Chr6tien's romances and the others reappears in almost every aspect of manuscript production and survival that we shall examine, and it is unlikely to be coincidental. It is true that we are at the mercy of chance survivals, but there are two factors that distinguish Chr6tien from the rest. In the first place, the numerical differences are sufficiently large to be meaningful in themselves, for whereas it may be no more than luck whether one, two or three copies of a particular text happen to survive, the existence of seven or more suggests a qualitative difference. Secondly, there is the fact that the difference is consistent for all five romances.2 One consequence of this imbalance between copies of Chrötien's romances and those of other texts is that we are presented with quite different types of textual tradition. What we cannot know is whether the textual traditions were in reality that different (though one suspects that they were) or whether the difference is in the way that they present themselves to modern eyes. For the majority of non-Chr6tien verse texts, surviving in only one copy (plus the occasional fragment), the question of textual variants does not arise. The copy and the text are indistinguishable (apart from the 'correction of obvious scribal errors'practised by most editors). But not so for Chr6tien, where each text survives in at least seven copies, and where the number of variants runs into many thousands. It is true that most of these variants are entirely trivial, but not all of them, and even some of those that might be considered trivial in purely scribal terms can have important consequences for literary interpretations. Thus, the loss or addition of a couplet here or there is so commonplace in any process of copying verse texts that we should hardly pay it much attention - unless it happened to be the couplet in which Lancelot hesitates for two steps before getting into the cart (Hult 1989). Nor is this particularly well-known example an isolated case. Even the alteration of a few letters can give rise to a range of conclusions, some more reliable than others, such that (d)estregalesl(d)outregales as the name of Erec's homeland was the subject of an extended debate between Zimmer, Loth, Lot and G. Paris that was continued by Brugger (1904) and later by Loomis (1949,70-1) and Ritchie (1952,10-11). The point, however, is that discussions of this kind are necessarily confined to the works of Chr6tien de Tioyes and very few other texts. The survival of additional manuscripts places the scholar in an entirely different relationship to these particular texts, though this is often obscured by modern editions and the unwarranted reliance placed upon them. Apart from Chr6tien and the Perceval additions, and leaving aside the special case of Jaufre (the one Arthurian verse romance in occitan), only two romances (L'Atre pörilleux and Meraugis) survive in as many as three copies, and only three others (Fergus, La vengeance Raguidel and llle et Galeron) survive in as many as two. No fewer than twenty are known from single copies only, of which nearly

half are to st-,1.; , htcottnLt. Htiii;'( Chantilll. \ I i-.. = Verse ro1ll.:r--;. Bel htcotttttr rC .., (BNF, fr. 116r ,: t\\'o publisheC .r-: Library'. \lS --Biblioteca \.i z -' and the fra gr: - 172); Silerttt t \ L. M. 6): Ber,,-, ,.. .


plus fragmellt


Carlisle Cathe;:-, acq. lat 23--1 ,. .: Also to be incl -..-:

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et Galeron (B\ F . City, Bibliotec,.. r, l


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Yar); La tr,'ettt, -;, BNE nou\'. aü.-and the scatteri,j of what he cal1S . : BNE fr. 125-1:Gard, and e\c - :: Vaticaflz, MS 1-,. : Most shorte r t-.' are: Le Lai rtt C La Mule sans ti'; MS 354;with a i:.,.fol. 100); Le D, i . B2); the Folie Ti '. Guingamor, L,,| ,

rcq pr:;e :(fOt t 'r; 'bcu 'a,nou t11g) ryo{1 pue ptoptl '.toaqca7 '.totao?umg ouoog l(9 'p ecnoq 9141 Kre-rqr1 uelelpog 'ptolxg) p.toßO.p uDts!"tJ a11og et41i(7g rerupog 'poc 'e,tpueg-.(u3o1o3 ur) nnqoTl pve sruDwD sap Duuo1 a7 i(991 '1o3 '20€ S171 'urnesn141 rrrerTlr.nztrd 'e8puqure3 q allol ogt Jo lueu8er; B qtl^\ :tSg Syft l.ron ulBluoc osls sldr.rcsnueur e^rlcolloc oseql Jo o u lsrg eq1 '(uer.rnrluv sl leq,&\ Jo .ftepunoq eql Euqclerls er€ oser{} Jo o.t"} tsel eq1 qSnoqt) acuayg pue aofipg p ailJ '1ap1n3oy acuna?uarl 07 ser4 9 'IA[ ''I 'ureq8ut11o1q i7a1o{1pue ptop,(1 'naqcaT '"torun7u1ng'1ua1aotg'aurdsg'uoog'q.nsaq'1aruoyy np p7 a'I ßqpetuedruocce ere ecuuJd op orrelN Äq euru qcFl,lr ur's.(u1Jo uollcelloc e sI r0I1 '"rg'bce '.r.nou ' pue )auoÄ'"mrua?mg'pnun7'xna11uqd atlv,7 seq 89IZ 'U fNg itawoBry 3o lueurSerg e plue uoqary 'st?notatry 's1o13yg setl t€ 1I 'T 9141 'upn1 iautag ap uots!.u alloi eqt pue pruow np p7 a'1 ' suos aruIN n'7 'aqdv,1 p DqD^aq) a7 seqr§€ urog i(enbrun Sureg ureqt oeJrlt rqlrr*) ppmSoy acuna8uaTl Jo pg a7 'xna1pqd aqv,7 Surrreq

D7 pue nruo?ry 'rynqung 'snZ.tag 'nuuocul

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It is in fact characteristic for manuscripts of verse romances to contain several different texts, not necessarily all Arthurian but usually all in verse. Manuscripts that contain prose texts amongst the verse are: BNF, fr.375; BNF, fr. 1553; Bern 113; and chantilly 472.However, in all these cases, the prose constitutes only a small percentage of the whole. In Chantilly 472 the contents are almost exclusively Arthurian verse romances, the exceptions being apartialcopy of Perlesvaus (Arthurian, but not in verse) and some branches of the Roman de Renart (in verse, but not Arthurian). Whether its present contents are those that were originally intended is diflicult to say, because the manuscript is the work of several different scribes (though not all the numerous changes in the appearance of the script necessarily indicate a change of personnel), and there are parts where the physical structure is extremely complex. In some cases the verse texts are all in octosyllabic rhyming couplets to the exclusion of texts in laisses. Whether this implies an awareness of a difference of genre (romance versus chanson de geste) or whether the distinction is purely formal is a more di{äcult question. Some notable exceptions are BNF, fr. 12603 and BNF, fr.24403 (with its companion volume in Berkeley, california, Bancroft Library, MS UCB 140). In these cases it is the octosyllabic texts that are in the minority. Some of the compilations show signs of deliberate planning, the most obvious example being BNF, fr. 1450. This begins with the'historical'sequence of Troie, Eneas and the first part of the Brut, but then interrupts wace's account of Arthur's reign to insert the five romances by Chr6tien de Troyes (though two are now defective through loss of gatherings). It then continues with the rest of the Brut. All this is clearly deliberate, and it is probably not coincidental that the versions of Chr6tien's romances in this manuscript are amongst the shortest preserved. On the other hand, the book ends with Dolopathos, which has no very obvious connection with the rest of the collection. Another, larger, compilation with several of the same texts is BNF, fr.375, but the rationale behind its organizationis less clear. The gatherings now bound at the beginning are not part of the original collection, but the rest was clearly a deliberate compilation, despite the somewhat disparate nature of its contents. It includes works by Chr6tien (Cligös and Erec occur consecutively, and there is also a copy of the doubtfully attributed Guillaume d'Angleterre), and there are various other chivalric romances, but none that is Arthurian unless we count llle et Galeron.In between, there are historical texts, fabliaux, religious works and lyrics. However, the defining feature of the collection is that it is introduced by a versified description that deals with each text in numerical order. This catalogue by Perrot de Nesle is now defective at the beginning through the loss of its opening leaf, but in its original form it must have been a substantial text in its own right (more than a thousand lines long). The first nine summaries are now missing and so is part of the tenth (Floire et

Blanchefln,'): the

the manuscripr


added the apprr


level, this co11ec:.


ciple governin s


The Roruon ,i'.


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the Roman d'.1 . these were orr s. . -.

br P. tion began u h;:. for one of the r.,'. Summaries









collected edit i., . . , de Guiot') Llnc ':

the other hanc.


begins with Io'.: considerable i-lt- * Second Conr. r. ,- .evidence to sL.:=.. 1952, 18 2-3 r \\ ' r


and finalll tir: 1. . colophon). In would e: * volume was ; i:: '- the five romllr--:. contents addec . __ : Continuations. *. ' -,

out of 433 ) . \\, '. though it is p: :. ,

written by the romances (Er,

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Amongst ct,..; together the \\ t r: . region (be it rl.: exemplars). As ..:

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are no examples

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with Champagne, having been copied as it seems in Provins (Roques 1952, 189).It does contain all five romances by Champagne's most famous poet as well as the unique surviving copy of the Empereurs de Rome by Calendre, who also seems to have been from the county. However, this accounts for less than half its contents, and the other texts are such as might be found close connections


.\rthuri,-t n n ^_:.. _^. be an iirdic,,:. - :. .


O genfu'S,




In single ct-ri,.-r. .: and onlr slig:.:


lear-es nleasLr:-.._

Format and Appearance Some compilations are large, both in physical dimensions and in the number of texts they contain. Amongst manuscripts containing works by Chr6tien, the largest in format is BNF, fr.375, which measures 395 x 305mm, has 313 leaves and contains 23 texts (not counting the extra gatherings at the beginning that are from a different book); but this is exceptional, most Chr6tien manuscripts being between 260 and 300mm tall. Amongst the manuscripts without works by Chr6tien, the largest is Bern 113, measuring 350 x245mmwith29l leaves. At the other end of the scale, nearly all the examples of manuscripts with just one Arthurian verse text are copies of Perceval and its Continuations, the few exceptions being the very early copy of Cligös in Tours 942, the unique copies of Escanor, Floriant et Florete and Yder, and the copy of Meraugis in Vienna. The main factor in producing volumes with a single text is presumably length. Once the Continuations are added to Perceval there are at least 30,000 lines, and usually over 40,000, enough to fill a book of standard size (and the same is true of Escanor). Oddly enough, however, the longest version of Perceval (incorporating the Gerbert Continuation) is followed in BNF, fr. 12576 by the works of the Renclus de Moliens, though this may not have been the original intention since the Grail section at one time ended with several blank leaves (some now missing, others now filled with later additions). By contrast, any romance of more typical length (about 6,000 lines for Chrötien and Raoul de Houdenc) would make only a very slim volume. It is not possible to say whether such small volumes were very rarely produced, or whether they have just failed to survive (with the exception of the Cligös in Tours and the very different case of the Meraugis in Vienna, which is slim but not small). Larger books, particularly if illustrated, are more likely to be preserved even when their text is no longer read. An imposing volume carries a certain prestige, and an illustrated one may be kept for the sake of its paintings. On the other hand, the small, single-text manuscript was a common enough format for copies of chansons de geste, provoking the rather improbable notion that they were used by jongleurs to refresh their memories before undertaking an oral performance. For a critique of the term 'manuscrit de jongleur', a discussion of suitable criteria (200mm or less, single column, minimal decoration, single text, or closely connected texts) and a list of survivors (some as late as the fourteenth century), see Duggan (1982). Amongst

\,lunicipale .: I., Not much l;ti:.. uring 240 r li j:r


this consists ,,--,t Percet,al.bttt Ir-;. before Pert,L,''. .,' r. = be much close: : _.

columns. ^\nt t-,t. :. . two smallest ,1:New York Pub. - -of Yder in C.1n.: _ that is nou nlis>_.- . the smaller of i..; decoration. in;...: Also small allc '"' . cod. Bodmer ::



dimensions ris



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the leaf that is r;I exact measurelt-;_ leaves are the S.:.-t- in two columnS .:. _




Municipale. \lS --: present state it._. , beginnirg (prob; l from quire 4 anc only text, this \\ ü _. _ extrapolate fronr : were often of this :.There is some sll:: __


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Surreqle8 e snld'se,ree1 ,)



'f,rutqr1,(1rs;elrun e8prrqrue3 w DpA Jo

1sql pue (uur89l x 977?unseeru se,{eel 6» Z(,1914 ,tue;qt1 cflqnd {roÄ &\eN ur ap,toll p tuql,toll So ,(doc enbrun oql :sulunloc o^u ur qloq ore ]sellBrus o^u oql 'uoll?rq3 ,(q s>Folr lnoqll,r\ sldrrcsnuuru 1xe1-e13urs eql tsSuoruv 'sulunloc oerreluc o.&r1ur pue e8rel ool leg.,lteruos ilrls q8noql }uBAeleJ oql o} Jesolc qcnlu eq plno.&\ pA»Dd egl eunlo^ e1e;edes e sy '3urreq1e8 zrrou e sur8eq p^n.tad eJoJeq saSog Tdag eql JelJe eJnl?u8rs s,reu,t.o ue qlvvr se^€ol {uelq eJB eJorll 1ng'pnac.ta1 pue 'eso;d ut aruoy ap saSog Tdag eql 'xno11qol Jo uorlce1oc e Jo slsrsuoc sql punoq rvrou sV'slerlrur pelerrolsq IIBrus oA\1seq osl€ qcg/vr'(ururggi x gp7?wm -seeru so^eol Eg() VgE uJeg sr (se,ree1 ,(ueur se ocrlvU rllr.n 1nq) :e3;e1 qcnru loN '(ruruszl x 917 Sur"rnseeru se^€olZgi 8rZ S141 ',rrunretul 1e eyedrcrunl4l enbpqlouqrg 'pueueg-luourrel3 pue (uurggl/tgI x 0y(,60T, Suunseour soleel gZü En6T, 9141 'euerpr€ccrg ecotorlqrg 'ecuerolg ere e8rel oo1 Ä11q8qs ,{1uo pue pLilJad ,(po Sururcluoc qcee 'uorle.rocep pel$rI ,fte,t qlrzvr 'suurnyoc e18urs u1 'sJerllo lou lnq ?rJelrJc s,ue88nq Jo eruos leeu sldr.rcsnuuru uerJnr{uv eruos 'serue8


eql uootuoq ecrlce.rd Jo ecueJeJJrp otuos lseol le s€^\ eJerll leq] uorlucrpur uu oq feur sq] pue 'euelrrc eseq] IIB loeru Z16 sJnoJ ,(1uo sldr.rcsnueru u€unqilV

lsEuouly '(;!ö. , -. JO 1SII € pUE (S1]'.1_ elEurs 'sse1 Jrr L:: ---

tuJel eq]

lo :: l

-ruoru Jreq] L{s:i -:-

oql 8u»1oro;d ldrrcsnuuru




eq Äuu 3LItr


'p€eJ ;eEuol rrlr s:

JI ,(pelnct]"red




eql Jo osBJ lU:J:,oAIAJnS O] p3ll1.'. '\ [[?urs qcns JeL{1} _. '," (cuepnoH ep i1',,- : 'Jo ecueruoJ iur.' A\ou eruos)



uolluelur leurir:


-rodro3ul) lD.r,:t'.i',: 0nJ1 sr 0ru3s arll : puu 'seut1 00( r'l ; ocuo 'W8uet il..:', er{J 'euuer^ Lri , .-



go sardoc enbrlri' ,!\eJ



}Lt 1'. -. .

lsnf Wrm stdr:rsr' ,: 'salEel i t:

,(q s>lJolvr ]11o r,{ : : ,' Eureq sldt;csrlrr i' :,: eJe



EuruuyF: -





oql 'uet19;qf

JO Jeqrunu eLIl Li:

punoJ eq lQ8rtu i:slunoccB srql 'J;-',: ,lq aruoü ap s./i i:,r : lsoru s,euEedtuf :l sur^oJd ur srlr::s -



,itlilt !!li,.ii





and small, but with small miniatures) and from copies of other types of vernacular literature (Nixon 1993a,18). The early copies of Perceval are also fairly small, but not excessively so, and the Annonay fragments of four of ChrÖtien's romances are from a manuscript that must have measured 280 x 210mm. This is very much within the range that is normal for the collective manuscripts of fifty years later. It used to be thought that the small-format manuscripts of chansons de geste were all early, but this is not so (Duggan 1982,38-9). The truth of the matter is that we have no way of knowing whether the small, single-text Cligös is typical of its time, one of several available formats that are all equally common, or a unique exception.

Apart from Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS L. IV. 33, all manuscripts of Arthurian verse texts are on parchment. This is almost certainly no more than a reflection of their dates, paper being rare during the period when most of the manuscripts were copied, but common by the time the much later Türin book was

being made. Decoration is usually limited to coloured initials that alternate between red and blue, with pen-flourishing in the opposite colour. Sometimes there is a limited use of gold. These initials are mostly two lines high, with larger examples at the beginning of a text and only occasionally elsewhere. On the other hand, manuscripts without any decoration at all are very rare indeed, though ttLis may be a reflection of rates of survival rather than original production, and there is an obvious connection here with their size. Large manuscripts of any text are nearly always decorated; manuscripts without decoration are much more likely to be small. This is simple economics. It makes no sense for a manuscript that is already more costly because of its size to be made to look cheap by omitting all decoration, whereas a manuscript that is being made as cheaply as possible needs to be both small and plain. The earliest surviving illustration in the verse manuscripts that we are considering is the one small miniature (the width of a narrow column) in the Sneyd fragment of Tristan, which dates from the end of the twelfth century. There is then a gap of more than thirty years before the small historiated initial (ust over half the width of the column) at the beginning of the Charrette in BNR fr. 794, but this is the only example in the manuscript, and it is very much smaller than the miniatures in prose manuscripts of the same date (c.1230).It shows no more than a seated female figure, depicted in an entirely conventional manner, probably representing the Countess of Champagne explaining the story, either to an unseen author or perhaps directly to the reader. Not much later is the equally small historiated initial at the beginning of Perceval in Bern 354 (showing Perceval on horseback). More extensive illustration is to be found in the 82 miniatures found throughout Nottingham, MS Middleton, L. M. 6 (whose Arthurian material comprises Vengeance Raguidel,Ille et Galeron and the Roman de Silence), but these are still small (half the width of a column).


is not unril _,: those of the pr..s-

Arthurian \erse :_ Roman de lu irr famous pairs c,: Tristan and Yse,-: time ate the cc,r.;



Montpellier. B.: (Stones 1993


From then c,t . :: nearly alwar.s i.l--: l Bibliothöque d: _ BNE, fr. 1453 T:.: more than larg; r ;. elaborate illuSrr;..


in Princeton. L :.. Yvain). Much l:.. though other p.: r :


B\F. initial for Le C; . for the beginni: : for Fergus in







fr. 2L64) has St-r :... ' but this stands ;t _ '

itself is in


the paintin_qs

. _:.



anomaly amor S:


ichische Nation-: ^

containing onlr,-- t-. : than seventeen :: texts have an\ t i. . judge from rhe s -.: any significanr Sv -of the prose ron-.._. -






f)ates and Places ,-'f l The earliest mar-. : when the texts r1:; . we know, the t-rrs: -

s€a\ sq] lnq ')atg s6uerl?JrlC se.ry\ ecuuluoJ uelJngpy ,(lnJ] lsJU erl] houl e,tr se rsJ sV's6tlI eq] q.(yqeqo-rd'pesodruoc lsrg erea se^lesueql slxe] eql uerl \ ep€ru ueeg e^Br{ lsnru secueluoJ esJel ueIJnr{}JV go sldtrcsnusru }seIIJ€o er{J

uollJnpoJd Jo saJBId puB salBC 'secueruoJ esord eql go uorleJlsnllr luole,rrnbe eql ueql re1e1 .(rnluec e JIeq lseol ]e sI olecs luecgtu8ts .{ue uo socueruoJ esJe^ uerJnr{gy Surlerlsnlll Jo octlce;d eq} sJo^I^Jns eql uro4 e8pnf o1 pue 'uorlerlsnp go eruure;8o;d eleyduoc e Sutqcuordde 8uqt,(ue eluq slxel IrsJC egl r(po 'gede ]egl 'leIlIuI pol€IJolsq euo pu? seJnlBIuIIu uoelue^es u?tll re,reJ ou rlly!\ pu? (urur6gZ x O6d ]eruroJ prupuels Jo ]nq '1xe1 euo ,(1uo Eututeluoc 'seleel gg ,(po go ldrrcsnueru B sr slr{J '66s2 9141 'leqlotlqlqleuolteN ellcsqcl -eJJelsO 'euuorn ur nBno.tayy oql sI slducsnuuru qcuoJd sql ls8uorue ,(leuroue IeoJ ouo eqJ 'eluoleleJ Jo ured5 ruo{ ecuongur elqeJeplsuoc,&\oqs s8urlurud eq} pue iqlnos eql ruo4 sr lducsnueru eql iqcuerg uer{} Jol{l€r ue}Icco uI sI JIoslI lxe] eqt :szfu,r. "reqlo Iere^es ur uorlrperl eql Jo lsor er{} ruorg t:ede spu€}s sqt }nq 'e8ed rod ouo u€ql erour e8e;ezre ,(oqt luq1 seJnluluru IIeIus ,{ueur os seq (Vqrc'u UNg) a{nry go sldrrcsnuuru eq} Jo euo teq} onrl sl 1I 'Sulss1u ^tou sI JBel eg} tng 'EuruurEeq eql lB ernlerurtu eEed-1lnJ e p€t{ ecuo (y7gp7 'r3 UNB) "touo)sg go lducs -nusur eql 1eq1 pelepceds ueeq seq \'1LEI'U dNg trr )arfl go EutuurEeq eqt roJ I€rlrtrr poterrolsq e pue :tOgZt'U UNg ut saVda xnap xnD DUD^aq) a7 roJ I?I1IuI pel€uolsrq e:LWl T'gNf, rrrst.tryI p s!.tDl) toJernlalurue i€§sI '.U'g519 wmSlagro1 Iep1ul pelelrolsq e :1xe1qcee go Suruur8eq eql1B uorlurlsnllr euo ueg] eroru ou e^eq sldr.rcsnueru snorre 'pelerlsnp IIo^\ eJe lducsnueur eql Jo sged reqlo q8noqt 'tOVbT, 'U f,Ng Jo )atg eql ur sernleluru eeJI{} eJe ontsso.rdur ssol qcnlN '(uqod,a pve auarfiLD aqt Surureluoc) gZI neJre1 gy41 ',fue;q11,(ltsre,rtun 'uolecutr6 ut pue'(xnalrtqd atry.'J pue utD^Ä Surureluoc) EEVI'rJ tNg ul sr uorlerlsnllr elurogele lsotrr eql sldrrcsnueur p^nnd eql luo.t3 gedy 'slelllur pe}erocep e8;el ueql e;our ou seq q3lq,v\ '6zrl 'tJ tNg Jo uotldecxe eql te,remoq 'st ereql '€§tI 'JJ gNB pueiggTl 'U UNg:gOZtttt SIAI'tn€ureH-suol I ep ?trsre^run,l openbpqlotqrg 'suo14i :eJe qcns 'seJnleruru Jo Jegrunu luecgtuSts B I{}I1!\ pel€Jlsnlll s,furvr1e ,(1.leou slducsnueru 'uo uoql uroJg eJ€ suorlenurluo3 slr pue pin.tad s(uerl?JqC 3o '(eOOt seuolg) oe:re1rs;ezrrunrelul enbpqtotlqrg ter11ed1uo141 6nT, H gy41 'eurcep?I tr uorlces pue gLg(,I'{ gNB ur suor}enur}uoJ s}r pue p^ilrad 3o serdoc eq} eJe eIuI} etrres eq] qcilu urord 'G,OZ pue 797 s?tl'06-68 '9961 sruroo1) tnesÄ pue uelsr{ ol reqloue pue 'ecrugg pue sg8ry3 o1 polo^ep sr euo srolol go s"rred snorueJ Surlcrdep suorlerlsnllr I€re^es ls8uoruy '(qgtZ '"r3 gNg) anod o1 ap uDu,toü u?rJnqilV-uou oql go ldr.rcsnueru oql ur ,(1qeqo;d sr ecueruor esre^ uelJnqlJv u€ ruo4 ouecs € uorleJlsngr .re8rey lserlJeo eqJ 'secuuruo; eso.rd eql Jo esoql Jo ezr.eq o^\ leql 08-OLU lnoqe plun lou sl lI Ie^rJ o1 oJnlerurru e go eldurexe ,(ue


u0tuoY 3tl1 Pti,ssor{1Y\)

9 'l\



zB er{} uI pLIl'. '-.- : Eurzlroqs) l!a -:-: ,(11enbe atlt sr *;-:' ue o] JeqlIS ',,.-,- -. -qord Teuuf L.l .'' -: oJour ou s.\\otis -i

u?I{} JellEtLIS .i.':JeAo lsnD


tutltu. ::

pr(eug oq]

LII r -.----'

-pISUOC 3Je 3 ri -:'


speeu olqlssoC .=-

1e Eu1]truo sI letll


ic j''

]dt"rcsItLI:- ,-.

o1 Ä1e4II

orottl L" r -

ere ]xe] Äue Itr .: eJer{} puE




sr{} qEnoq}

'p::: -.

Jer{}o eq} uo '-'l: -. ;e8re1 qll,\\ 't1i11 i SOUIIIOUIOS 'J11tr',-

e]€uJelle ]Eq i :- :' se^\ {ooq ulrlu *: eql Jo ]sotu LI:L.': € ueq] sJoul ou '. Jo sldt;csnuE LIi ,


'uouluroc i11unb: s1 sV31p lxat-:1i,: eql Jo qlnrl at{I SuoSu?W JO SttJi*-':

,Qg go sldlrJsrli.:' sI SFII 'Iutu0 I ; s6uer]?Jr{f lo i:'_ 1,.

'11eurs Ä14e9 os1:-' ;-

-noeuJen Jo s:C',.-




surely preceded by some version of the Tristan story, possibly that by Thomas d'Angleterre, and perhaps also by the Lais of Marie de France.3 The earliest surviving manuscripts are those that some have assigned to the later years of the twelfth century. This is almost certainly a valid claim in the case of the Sneyd fragments of Tristan (Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS French d. 16), and possibly also for the defective copy of Cligös at Tours (Bibliothöque Municipale, MS 942), now dated c.1200. The Annonay fragments of four Chr6tien romances were at one time thought to be twelfth century or just after, but the current opinion is that they are more likely to be somewhatlater, perhaps no earlier than 1220, That manuscripts of Chr6tien's romances enjoyed a reasonably wide circulation as early as the 1190s is demonstrated by the fact that copies were available to Hartmann von Aue for him to make his adaptations into German. Somewhat less reliable evidence for the movement of French Arthurian manuscripts is provided by Ulrich von Zatzlkhoven, who claims to have derived his Lanzeler from a French book (presumably a manuscript of verse romances) brought to Germany by Hugh de Morville when he was one of the hostages for Richard the Lionheart. If true, this would have been in 1194, but none of it can be confirmed from other documents. Even if it is not entirely true, it is likely that by the time of writing both poet and audience took it to be plausible, but this may have been ten or more years later. In any event, by the first decade of the thirteenth century we have the evidence of Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival and the version of Thomas's Tristan produced by Gottfried von Straßburg. On the other hand, despite this evidence for the availability of French manuscripts at an early date, we must not forget that most surviving copies are significantly later, and that there is no surviving complete copy before about 1220-30. There are three copies of Perceval that have claims to be this early, some thirty to forty years after the date of composition, but the dates suggested by different scholars are so varied that it is extremely diflicult to be more precise. In Nixon (1993b) the suggested order of date (omitting smaller fragments) is: Tours, Bibliothöque Municipale, MS 942 (Cligös), with a suggested date of c.1200; Clermont-Ferrand, Bibliothöque Municipale et Interuniversitaire, MS 248 (Perceval); Annonay fragments (Erec, Cligös, Yvain and Perceval); London, British Library, Additional MS 36614 (Perceval plus Bliocadran and two Continuations); Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, MS 2943 (Perceual); and BNF, fr.794 (all five Chr6tien romances), with a suggested date of c.123040. Perhaps even more revealing is the fact that Chr6tien's Perceval is not only amongst the earliest of the survivors, but also amongst the latest. The survival of London, College of Arms, MS Arundel 14 (from the late fourteenth century) shows that this text continued to be copied for another 150 years (a total of some 200 years from the time of its composition). The latest manuscript to contain Arthurian verse texts is probably Turin, MS L. IV 33, which includes Meraugis,

Gliglois. l1c..; ;,' paper) is app.rr;.. \\'as badlr Cii::..,-:, _

ticable. and








composed LrnI:. span a periorJ ,.'.


However. Ite .: r-' speaking frr-,nt . -. produced). There are na, r:',

contents, but


later texts canIt,,_ : is that ther. dt :

from the four.;; romanCes of C .:.

It is also th; v._. of all. F:, ,


one other bur :. wary of citing : that Froissarr s with possible I his romance. \, Meliador \\ rl s E survives in on l. both apparenri',






though since r1 ; sure

of this.

Slightly earli;: too survives in

length as Är i -,

\ .


Blanchrflo,' (an Berte aus gt.ztt: :' much the sanle i . .: late thirteenth c.r.: . libraire Robert d- . number of matr-l ,.: Meliacin of Gir,,:. _

sapDruoal) s.leuepv uI?IJo ue seJegs qcFllv\ 'suetury,p UUJIC Jo uDDlpW eql Jo roJ el leuepy ,(q s>Fozn JeI{lIe ule}uoc IIU }eq} s}dlrcsnueu Jo Jeqlunu B JoJ olgrsuodser e.rezvr slsruu pu€ seqlJos e{ues etlJ 'ruepv elsl.l ep ueqog a,no,tqq eqf ,(q pelceJrp .(lgeqord se^r leqt uelusu€Jc Jo ur3o1e Äq,fun1uec qlueelrlql o]€[ eq] tn srJed ur ep€ru su,ta lducsnueru stqa'(stto7 p s!.tol) se orurl erues eql qcnru 1e pesodurol sassml ut atsa? ap uosuoq) e) ro.r e1 leuepv ßq sqd zuot? sno altag ,(q pue (,fun1uec {1;ls4 eql ur pesoduroc ecu?uror crqegÄso1co ue) ng[aqcurtlg ta ailoll Jo uorsJo^ ,(1-ree eqt ,(q peruudruoccs sr sttll '.touDcsgr s3 {13ue1 errrus eql qcnru Sureq elrdseq '(tWt'4 tNg) fdoc euo ,(yuo ur se^I^rns ool st.tol) sI reITJee {tq8lg

sql pu€ 'ggT,I rJ! un8eq uoeq e^eq o1 lq8noqt



'slq] Jo orns

Ä1err1ue oq lou plnoo em Suruur8eq eql lB pe8eurep st lducsnuuw eql ocurs q8noql 'lxolreqlo,(uu peureluoc ro^eu vLtnz 'JJ dNg leql perunssB sI ll pue'uollulost ut e^r^Jns o1 q8noue 3uo1 sr touu)sg seurl 696'6E re^o 1V '1so[ A\ou ,(11ue;edde qtog 'slueur8erg Jer{}o oA\1 eurr} euo }B eJeA\ ereql q8noql ',(doc euo ,{po uI se^I^Jns ool srgJ '082I rnoqe suoruv.p ueJlc ,(q pesodtuoc o"touocsg se1(' "topltllaw eJoJeg ecu€ruoJ osJon uurJnggv lsolel etll 'ilo1 uec e./y\ s€ JeJ sY 'ecueruoJ sII{ go serdoc Äueru teet? e ur pellnser o^eq o] ruees lou op suo.lled elqrssod qlr.u slc€luoc poqs[qelso sq pue erue8 .reqloue ur JelrJA\ e sE eru€J s.]JessloJd letl] 6ur1ou qlrolv\ eq Äeur ][ 'pueq reqlo egt ug 'elduexo uB se 11 8ur]rc go frem eq lq?nu o^\ sreqlo eql IIe u€r{t Jol€l qcruu os sI lxe1 sII{} eculs 1nq leq1o euo ur sluetu8e4 qllt\ ldr;csnueur euo ur se^I^Jns '.topDlpry s.UBssIoJd 'lle Jo lselul eq; 'slducsnueur lsel\eJ oql ur lstxe socueruoJ Jelel eql legl esec eql osle sl lI 'suorlenurluoC sll pue p^nfid.{gercedse pue 'se.(or1 op uell?rqJ Jo socueluor eql 'slxel lserlJ€e eq] ureluoc o1 ,(1e11 lsoru eJe .(lnluec qluaelJnoJ eql ruo4 ,(leco,unbeun ore ler{l sldrrcsnuutr l 'rer{}re }se}el or{} ur rncco }ou op .(eql teqt st lurod EurlseJelur eJoru eql lng 'slducsnueru lsorlJee oql ur Jncco louuec slxol Jel€[ eql ,{lsnorlqg '8urcr1ou quoly\ eJe leq} seJn}€eJ uleuoc eJB eJeq} 1nq 'slue1uoc Jror{} pu? sldrrcsnueur or{l Jo sotep eq} uool\leq sdqsuotleleJ poxlJ ou oJe oJeql '(pecnpord Sureq.re8uol ou s€^\ ed,(1srqt Jo ornlurelrl uoql\,(lesrce;d) O(,EI ol08ZI sepecep rnoJ eqlurorg Sureq uorl.rodord luecgru8rs e q1r^r'(g(,tl ol OZ(,I ruo;g ?urleeds ,(1q8no;) legt JIBr{ ,(1uo 3o u urq}L&\ II€J uroqt Jo IIe .(1reou Ie.Le,lrro11 '(OOtt relge 3uo1 tou o1 00Zi oroJeq .(llroqs) s.reoÄ gg7 .rezro 1sn[ go poued u ueds qJuerd ur esre^ uerrnquv 3o serdoc Sur.rrlrns eql 'snq1 '(gggt plun pesodruoc lou se^\ qclqt\) .topollary s.u€ssrord ;o slducsnu?ur oql qlr.^d pu€ ,I Iepunrv qll.t\ ,{re;odrueluoc ssel Jo eJoru eq lceJ ur ,(eru U 'suor}drrcsep Ärnluec-qlueolouru ur uezrrS suorurdo ;o e8uer aq1 uodn ,(1e"r o1 pecJoJ oJe orrt pue 'elq€rll -cu.rdurr s[ e]ep s]r Jo ]uowssesse neu,(uu ,06I Jo erg oq],(q pe8eurep.(ypeq sem 1l ecurs ,fun1uec qlueeug ,{Fee ro q}uoolrnoJ olel eq] uro"r3 ,{lluereddu sr (reded uo euo Äpo eql) lducsnueur svqa'.taruo8ry go 1ueru3€r3 B pue uoryary 's1o13119


'st7nnraI\ s:; ' ' .. uIEJUOJ 01 i;.* t - " llllL - :- \ oIUOS JO

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]noqtr oJolsq .. r ete serdoc iu.". -nu€ru




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Eutlt"t,tr go alu I i Jer{}o


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Äueur"reD o1 trli:e luou lala:ut17 . -

poprno;d sr stCrj.'le1 ,l11ensI' s IIrdV ZIuo IIal L;: ro '(qcrer\l s; ) .,., r{clr{^\ 'VSVlil L{r;:'

oq] }E 'sÄus rol1l:-: J3qleJ su€rp 3r lr '. -1upr JoJ seJeds s,'p€eJ o1 Äsea (::'. uo]]rJ^r eJe s1\:i '?lzdre1 puu ;: 'r"r:

pue LLZI sou esor{^\










in the Arthurian field is his prose version of Tristan (Muir 1958), but it looks as though he also made a verse adaptation of Erec, if we may judge from the few lines preserved by Du Verdier (Middleton 1993, 166-8). All this implies that manuscripts of the verse romances were still available in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries, and that some people continued to show some interest. However, it is revealing that no Arthurian verse romance was put into print except by way of an adaptation into prose. The printers presumably had access to verse manuscripts, and also had an interest in their narrative content, but they judged that the verse form was no longer commercially viable. One printer who certainly knew such a manuscript was Geoffroy Tory. In his Champ fleury of 1529 he reports that he has recently seen various works of Old French literature in parchment manuscripts shown to him by Ren6 Mac6 of Vendöme (Tory 1529, Biii). The Arthurian items are the'Cheualier a lespee'(said to be by Chr6tien), 'Perseual'(also by Chr6tien) and the 'Mule sans frein'(by 'Paysant de Mesieres'). Since the only surviving copies of the Chevalier and the Mule are in Bern, Burgerbibliothek, MS 354, which also contains a copy of Perceval, this could well be one of the manuscripts that Tory saw. on the other hand, Tory's text presents some difficulties of interpretation, and the only corroborating evidence is the possibility that the attribution of the Chevalier to Chr6tien stems from the marginal note that is in the manuscript itself. Coincidentally, later in the sixteenth century Bern 354 was owned by another printer, Henri Estienne, whose signature and ex-libris are on the first folio. By the second half of the sixteenth century, Arthurian verse romances were of no more than antiquarian interest. Several are mentioned by Etienne Pasquier in his Recherches de la France, in a passage that was first published in 1596, but he admits that he is taking his information from Tory, and that he has not seen the texts for himself (Pasquier 1617,726). Only Claude Fauchet had the kind of firsthand knowledge that allowed him to write his Recueil de l'origine de la langue et poesie frangoise (1581), which remained authoritative for more than 150 years. Fundamental to Fauchet's unrivalled expertise was his own extensive collection of manuscripts (Espiner-Scott 1938a). His manuscript of the Charrette, Yvain and Meraugzs survives as Biblioteca ApostolicaYaticana, Reg. lat. 1725, andthe fragment of Meraugis in Berlin is in a manuscript that was once his. He must also have had access to copies of Yvain and Perceval that are now lost, because he transcribed extracts from them into a notebook that is now BNF, fr. 24726 (Espiner-Scott 1938b, 261-3). He also records how he found eight stray leaves of parchment in a printer's shop from which he transcribed some lines of Perceval into the Recueil (Fauchet 1581, 98). Both La croix du Maine and Du verdier in their respective Bibliothäquis frangoises of 1585 take their entries on Chr6tien from Fauchet (La croix du Maine briefly, but without acknowledgement; Du Verdier with extensive quotation, explicitly attributed). Despite his reliance on

Fatrchet. Di. \ ; prtsSession

ci {..

\\as the hir1.-:. \ ersion





A feature t :- :.


prose counte rt,-

Such copies ,-,: : obvious: tlie t;',.t. \arious earlr p:... have had 1-eu .r . . r


Library of \\-..;. cult to find ;1r.eighteenth ce r-: -made of B\F. :: Arsenal N,IS ji

.{rsenal N,{S :-Moreau Ii:r_rPerceval (from B; the next centLl:'. fr. l25l l: Le, C , fr. 37 5; and ) Rochegude. \lSS romances are s::"

Not verv ntlt.:which thei St-rir.; selves for use i:. :.


any romance b., {_ w,as F:; I

in 1838,

Charlotte rigl^:


Immanuel Beko:-. Michel had si.,;: romances br rurrlAilu§§ \\ ;-- : D) \\

of sigla. Most c,-


ical interest. br:: : Thus, after the T


Müller for

\\-en -


(Livingston 19 j:. The survir.irg .r' been made for ti.. from about the c-:.


eos 'slducsnu€Iu uerl?JrlJ Jo uoqezrTesol eql roJ) ocuBu Jo oJluoc oq] lnoqB ruou spJs^\quou pu€ spJe^usse Surpuolxo lusJpenb E ut oql JoJ opuul ueeq ued lsoul e^?q o1 ruees esJe^ uI slxel u€rJnqlJv qcuord sldrJcsnueu 8ur^r^Jns eqJ Jo '0t-t '6961 uolsSu4T)

lxel eql ol ssoulr.r\ Surlr,rrns ,(po eqt etusceq rolsreo{ urlopuol& JoJ JellnIN T rosseJord ,(q epeul s1o13179 ;o ,(doc aql',bo'I Jo errJ ulrnJ er{l re}J" 'snqJ 'uoqseJ crlerueJp ur snlels Jreql JelF ,(lleuorsecco uec slue^o lng '1sete1ur lecr -Jolsq Surssed u€q1 eJoru Eurqlou Jo eJe serdoc ,(yreyoqcs eser{l Jo 1so141 'e13rs go ocroqc eql q peleJolueluluoc uelJo eJ? seru€u esoql!\ sJeqlo ,(q epeu slducsue"rl posn eq qclq \ o] luelxe eql elecryur,(1lue1srsuoc relsreoc urlepue (\,(q secueuror s(uerlgnlC Jo suorlrpe Iucrlrrc eqt ty.luynurg 'tdneg zlrrol tr o1 uenr8 peq IoqcrIN enbstcuerg ]er{} ldr.rcsuurl eql ,(q elqrssod operu se.&\ '9§8I ul re+leg Ienuerurul ßq'catg Jo uorlrpe lsrrJ er{l pue '(uorurdo rr,ro1 .(le,r. e peq .(1tq8u o}}olJeqC ,(pe1 qclqrvt go) enbreruollh ,(q epeur lducsuerl e uro;g pe.rudsrd selt '8€8I ul lsenc ollolJ?qJ,(pe1,tg peqsqqnd mD^Ä erlT 'se,(or1op uorl?Jtl3,(q ecueuoJ,(ue Jo uorlrpo lsrrJ egl 'reedde s,(uzvrle 1ou plp teql suorlrpe pesodo.rd ur esn roJ se^les -ueql o1 1de>1 sorulloruos 'sen8uegoc Jeqlo o1 1ue1 ,{yeerg serur}euros Äeqt qcrqlr 'suorldrrcsuerl Su»1uru eJetr sJelogcs ueruJeg pue rlcuoJd teley qcmu.(rerr 1o51 'lueurruopo.rd p1s oJ? socueruoJ s6uorlgrrlc l3rll elqulou q tI'(§-r9I '€66I uotelppll^I :g pue t'z 55141 'epnSeqcoS enbqqtorlqlfl 'lqry) t6L'u g51g uor3 aua.tnqC eql pue ulD^Ä pue igLE 'u 'dNg uro4 ntg igg971 '.t3 gNg uto4 saqdq xnap xnD Dqa^aq) a7 :IL;ZI 'q 'tJ gNg pue gtog rtto4 a"{no1 peldoc epn8eqcog Ärnluec lxeu oql tglz Usfg 't862 go Suruur8sq Äre,r eql sr lur{} (rs€ ureg ulo"rg) p^ilDd tv I SI leuosrv ^\ou go ,(doc eql Eurrncord ur pe,rlolur ueeq e^€q osle ,(eru e11 'fi-OZtt neeJohtr SI I gNfl ur ,(doc) ,§€ S14J {eqtorlqrqre8rng 'ureg pue (Otte SIN Ieuosrv ut 'xnailLt?d arrV,7 lnoqtr^\ tdoc lerged) ggtZ'U gNg '(6ltt SIAI Ieuesrv ur,(doc) O1VI'tJ UNg'(gt-gl€€ SShl Ieuosrv ur,(doc) gLE'rJ t51g 3o epeur serdoc lerlred ro eleldruoc peq e,(e1e4-alures ep eurnC e1 Ä:n1uec qlueelq8re eql uI ,(11nct3gtp roluur ]noqlrA\ eqrrcsuBJl o1 qSnoue Uoqs pue purJ o] tlnc -lgrp ere^{ 'pueq Jeq}o eql uo 'socueruoJ esJel eql '(rsls SIAI 'se[e 11;o ,fuerql1 IeuolleN'q}f,nlsÄreqy go uorldecxe eql sr ererll q8noqt) suorlcBJl]B .^aeJ per{ o^€q uec se8ud Jo sporpunq 8uildoc Jo {se1 oq} }ur{} os 'suorlrpe palurrd,(pee snouuzr eql ut pue slducsnuuru Ielerperu eJoru JBJ ur elqrssocce eJeA\ slxel eql :snor^qo eJe lerll suoseoJ rog 'o;el ,(1eue:1xe oJ€ secuetuor esord or{} Jo serdoc qcng ',serdoc uJepour, Jo sJeqrunu luecgru8rs Jo ocuelsrxe eql sr slred.lelunoc esord rleql Iuor; rueql soqsrn8u4srp }€g} sooupruoJ esre^ go 8uildoc eq} Jo eJn}eeJ V '(8gt '€6Ot uolelpprnl l6§s'III ';-ZLLI fu8rnnl ep,(elo8rg) u!D^Ä Jo uorsro^ pezrurepou oq] pecnpo;d peq oq^{ eles orrerd erit Jo reqtorq-Jleq eq} se^\ ueol Jorl]BJ esor!!\ 'e1u5 sroöuerg go .ueqdeu eq] 'urelpng ouroluv;o uorssessod oq] ur 'uo,(1 rrr pl»Dd go lducsnuutu e uoos lceJ ul peq JorpJeA nq 'leqcneg 6Z


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Nixon I993b,15-16 and Stones 1993). This quadrant includes Paris, Normandy, the north-east (Artois, Flanders, Hainault) and eastern France (Champagne, Burgundy). There are very few surviving manuscripts of Arthurian verse made anywhere in France outside this quadrant. From the west we have Tows 942 (containing Cligös) and perhaps the fragments in Institut de France, MS 6138 (also Cligös). From the south we have BNE, fr. 1374 (Cligös again); BNF, fr. 2164 (containing Jaufre, the one Arthurian romance in Occitan); and the two fragments of Jaufre in Nimes. Arthurian verse manuscripts were also produced outside France, and there are surviving examples from Italy, and even more from England. From Italy we have the complete copy of Jaufre in BNF, fr. 12571; the two chansonniers with excerpts from Jaufre; the passage from Cligös in Florence, Riccardian a 27 56; and perhaps the Rolandmanuscript with a few lines of Yvain (Lyon, Bibliothöque Municipale, MS 743). The scarcity of copies of Arthurian verse romances from Italy contrasts with the significant numbers of Italian manuscripts of chansons de geste and of Arthurian prose romances. Rather more numerous are the Arthurian verse manuscripts that were written in England. Most important is Cambridge University Library, MS Ee. 4.26,which contains the only surviving copy of Yder.Made in England in the second half of the thirteenth century, it eventually entered the library of Sir Thomas Knyvett of Ashwellthorpe in Norfolk, who died in 1618 (McKitterick 1978, 33 and 162). A second is London, College of Arms, MS Arundel 14, containing Chr6tien's Perceval (without Continuations) alongside Anglo-Norman lays and historical texts. Its first known owner is William Howard of Naworth Castle in Cumbria, who died in1640, but the book had presumably been in England from the time of its production in the late fourteenth century. Another possible candidate is the Perceval in Florence, Biblioteca Riccardiana, MS 2943, but the evidence is not decisive

(Nixon 1993b, 27).

Several other Anglo-Norman manuscripts are represented by surviving fragments. These include the fragments of Thomas's Tristan, the fragment of the Folie Tristan de Berne in Cambridge, the fragment of the First Continuation of Perceval in the Public Record Office, and perhaps the fragment of Meraugis in Berlin. There are also Anglo-Norman copies of some of the shorter texts. Most notable is the one manuscript to contain all twelve lays by Marie de France. This

is British Library, MS Harley 978, which comes from Reading Abbey in Berkshire. Marie's Lanval is also to be found in British Library, MS Cotton Vespasian B. xiv. Another important collection is to be found in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Digby 86, but only the Lai du Cor falls within our area of interest, the rest being a variety of other works in both French and English. Finally, there is Cologny-Genöve, cod. Bodmer 82, containing Le Donnei des amants, Desirö and Nabarer. This manuscript was given to Sir Thomas Phillipps

'R. B.'





Historv and Orn n, Little is knt,,r :- -: almost certair:.-,


earlier maltll s. : . : from the late r .,- -. books u'ith ti.;

ex-libris ar t i.: Thirteenth-cel: -.l objects of an:.r .. century, and i: eenth centllr) ,._-'t Amongst nr;.. -. nine where alt'. :._


three where


we know the lt-:.

is the well-knt'''":, .' four lines at ti.; ; place of u.ork '. 1952, lgg). Ti ; Fergus in Ch-, : Madot), the n::.. controversial. :-_ early for this r.-: and the date 1:.' . known as the . , : features in or1:; : in the onll- kn.-, ,, -


if he were the : -:

(Middleton 1 y-: The earlies, .Perceval and: . relate to prop-: draw the tenl.i .. : prosperous bu:- - . named in the t. : family of Rais.- whose earlier i.. ,


Jegl€J € ruoJg 'sJol8Jlsrulupe uooq e^erl o1 luees suolJeJeueS JäIIJee esog^\ lnq 6eurl sql.(q poqsrlqslse se1vr ,(llTrqou esoqa 'oue3:u11 ul op essl€U go ,(puleg q}uee}xls i(Fee eq1 ,(g 'elou eql uI pelueu eql ,(q peu.&\o se.$ >looq or{} ol Surpuels Iercos Jslrruls 3o reqSrnq snoredsord sueruv 3o,(eur JoruJoJ eql^rn}uec e Jo spu€q oql uI uoql seA\ lducsnuuru eql leql uorsnlsuoc e^Ilelue] oql .&eJp ,(eru em pue ',fun1uec qluoourql oql Jo puo eql ]e suelruv ut ,(iledo.rd o] olBIeJ ]eg] sluoJ Jo elou u suq srql 'ueqJeg Sutpnlcur 'suotlunutluoJ IIe pve ft^il.tad suruluoc qclqA\ 'gLgzl'U fNtr ur sr drqs.reu^\o uo uolleruJoJul ]sellrue eql '(g-Zgt'966i uo1e1ppr6) e^?r{ 1rrou eA\ leql lducsnueru oq} uollrJ1rt e^eq }ou ,{eur eq oqlJcs eql eJeA\ eII JI ue^e pue '(qcleru elmb 1ou op solup eq] 1eq} uezrr8) oqrrcs eql og ]ou Äeur sq] lnq 'ggg1 uns1rq16 eJoJeg,(1uoqs perp ,(11ue.redde oq.u '(]ueurncop u,t'\ou{ ,(po eql ut ) IelutJ qllu tleds) s?rJV le copeIAI ueef e se./y\ oJogJ 'sluoruncop roqlo ut seJnlseJ 01§ lsJU eql Jo Jeqlrou pue 'slducsnueru Sur,tu,rns Jeqio Jo 1sr,(doc eql s€ u1(ouI sr soqrJJs eser{l Jo euoN '.reldruexe JerlJ€o uB ruor; perdoc ueeq e^Br{ e}ep eql pue erueu eql1eq1 esoddns serlrJoqlne lsoru tlluenbesuo3 'lducsnuelu sql rog fyree ool eq ol sruees (6971 .ften.rged Z) 1r seruedruooce teq] elep eql rog'lurs.renorluoc sr tsel sFII I 'loJ 'srt '"r3 gNg ur 'ege11 BI ep urupv go .ueqdeu eq} '(lopul i ro) copuy4l ^6I ueef pu€ 'ZT,I 'loJ 'ZLV SIN'?puo3 o?snr{ 'Ä11t1ueq3 ur snS.rag Jo pue eq] lB .sJerlrnJJ rT surloS' erB soqrrcs Jo seru€u.reqto ,(po or{J '(68I 'z§6I senboll) sur^oJd o1JoJeJ o1pe^erleg sr qcrr{Ä\ ',1ea.1ep oruup eJ}ou, {Jo.ta go eceld slr{ puu ,1orn9, orr€u srq pug e.^a ereH '§0I 'loJ uo ulD^f, Jo puo 0q1 le seurT rnoJ päppe suq eqrrcs eql qcrq.^a Lq @6L'U gNg) ,]ornC ep erdoc, u.^aou>l-lleA\ er{} sr srr{J 'sseJppe srq e^Bq osl€ o,ll eser{} Jo euo ur pue 'egucs e Jo eru?u oql lvrou>I 0A\ eJeq^\ sesec o1!\] oJe oJeql '00rI eJoJeq uorlBrrrJoJur elqBrTeJ sr eJeq] eJorl1( 00J91 ueql ororu ou pue '9691;eq Ärolsrq rroql Jo u,l\ouI sr Eurqilue eroql\ euru Äpo e.te e.req1 se,(or1 op uorl?rqC ,{q sryo,l Burureluoc slducsnueru ls8uoury 'spJe&\uo,ftn1uec qluee -lq8re eqt ruo4 peqsrTq€1so sr lo{rurrr.sro}colloc eq} uor{.&\ ile o^oqe pue t;n1uec qlueelxrs eql Jo pue eql spr€.Aaol lserelur ,(1.ru1oqcs pue uBlrcnbrlue 3o slcelqo euoceq,(eq1 plun ,fto1srq Jregl 01 sen1c,(uu ereq .(Ie"rer s{ooq ,trnluec-qluoeurrll 'sorreJqrl rreql Jo senSolelec epeur pue 'pus :o Euruur8eq oql 1u srrqrl-xe Jrer{} peppu 'uorle.rocep eql o}ur pelu;odrocur sruJu Jo s}Boc Jreri} q}rl\ s{ooq peuorss[uruoc sJeuao cr]eJcolsrJ€ leql spJe^\uo r(rnluec qlueounoJ Jalel oql ruo4 ,(lureur sl ]I 'uollenlrs erues eq] qcnru ur eJe slxe] esord er{l Jo sldrrcsnueru JerTJBe erl] JoJ Jreq] Jo elup oql go ecuenbesuoc eldrurs e ,(yurelrec lsorul€ 'uorlcnpo.rd esrerr Sunurns eql go frolsrq,{pee eq} }noq€ u1(ou{ sr el}}lT sl

slgJ 'sldr.rcsnueur


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:: :

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I,-' --:

JO UOIlenUIltl Cr-|


eql Jo luatuFt'*,- ; -3e4 Eur^,rr un s '.: lOU Sr e3u3pr



eql sI e]€plpLII.': : Jo elull eql LLItri- l

'euquln3 uI oi-s:' I€cIJolsF{ pLIE s'.," s6uerlgJq3 3urL:::-. puu ra :


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ap suosu0ll)

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o^eq en


eJE 3Jeql puE

-3e4 o^u ar{} pr:rV7IZ'rJ IXg :(Li::8il9 SI I 'srtllrrl T,V6 SJnOI 0 \Ert I ' opelu esJOA rrErJr :; 'euEudurer{J ) 3..::, rJ





t ,




similar professional background was Jean Desplancques, receyeur d'Arras for the Duke of Burgundy in the 1460s, and owner of Mons, Bibliothöque de l'Universit6 de Mons-Hainaut, MS 331/206, which contains Perceval with Bliocadran and three Continuations. This seems to have been written and illustrated in or near Tournai in the 1280s (Stones 1993, 243-50), and was probably acquired by Jean Desplancques in the region. It was bound by A. Fierlin, probably in Lille, no later than the early sixteenth century (Colin 1992). A book with early aristocratic connections is BNF, ft. 12560 (containing Yvain, the Charrette and Cligös), which was amongst the property of Margaret of Flanders at the time of her death in 1405 (de Winter 1985, 250-1). Since the book was at Arras (Margaret's principal residence for the latter part of her life), rather than at Paris (the principal residence of her husband Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, at the time of his death a year earlier), it is likely that she had obtained it through inheritance from her father Louis de Mäle, Count of Flanders (d. 1384), or from her grandmother Margaret of France, Countess of Flanders and of Artois (d. 1382). Except for one debatable case, there are no romances of any kind in the inventory of the duke's books at Paris in 1404, and all references to Arthurian romances in Burgundian documents, whether for purchase or refurbishment, are to copies of prose texts (see below, p. 60). By 1400 this manuscript of verse romances was outdated in both form and appearance, being entirely without miniatures at a time when Philip the Bold was vying with his brother Jean de Berry to commission the very finest illustrated books of the day. The other manuscript of Arthurian verse that is known to have been in the Burgundian library in the Middle Ages is the copy of Meraugis that is now in Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, MS 2599. This does not appear in inventories of the library until that of 1467 (Barrois 1830, no. 1355), but we should not necessarily take this as evidence of a belated interest in this outmoded text. The book may have been in one of the duke's other residences when the earlier inventories were made, or it may have been acquired for the sake of its impressive appearance. An even later acquisition was BNF, fr. 12603, not obtained until 1511, when Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands for her nephew the Emperor Charles V bought a substantial number of manuscripts from Charles de Croy, Prince of Chimay (Debae 1995, XIID. The characteristic ex-libris at the end (see below, p. 72) shows that it was part of the Croy collection in 1486, but there is no way of knowing whether it had been in the family for generations or whether it was a more recent acquisition. It is not very likely that charles de croy (or even his father Philippe, or his grandfather Jean who had begun the collection) would have enjoyed the difficulties of reading verse romances written in Old French, but he (or they) may have wished to acquire old manuscripts simply to enhance the collection. If chosen deliberately, it may have

been so as to p:,_ were then fa s h I u Other verse r . ,--,

BNE fr.



century, and B \ Orlöans de Re:: the death of Jc. Amongst b,_-, : known e arlr i... Lrbrary, Mid,J";. Ille et GalerLlt: -:. Laval', for \\'ir,,, :-. _-


The probable

the fifteenth .;:_ before 1500. ic r: is also still unc'.;


pOSSeSSed gqrp.:



mentioned in ', -: l teenth centLlr', detailed to alt.Amongst t:.; . ' tion. The earr.;: when the libr-, France for hr> .- ;r have been -- . From the inr --- second folio. ,. copies of Ch:; " : Delisle no. 1 .:: lendemain' I E' now extant, (_, -, .


no. 1163: '. :. first words c,. 6568) and Ä,




volume cont;. .. on 29 Au'pus: . i references th. be Arthuriar. 'Torrez cher.r-.:.

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another that was removed from the library, this time by the queen herself on 11 November 1392, and the absence of the volume from later inventories means that we have no folio references. The text it contained may have been the French original of the Dutch Torec, and it may be the same text (perhaps even the same manuscript) as that described in successive inventories of the Burgundian library at Malines in 1523 and Turnhout in 1556: 'Le livre du Chevalier chercle d'or et de Parcheval le Galoy' (Michelant 1871,37) and 'Livre de Chevalier cercle d'or et de Percheval de Galoy'(Gachard 1845, item 89). Although the removal of Escanor in 1390 and of Torec in l392has deprived us of some additional information, it does reveal that the queen, Isabella of Bavaria, was interested in Arthurian verse romances at alater date than might have been expected. Not all entries in the royal inventories are quite what they seem, and some need to be interpreted with care. Thus, the 'Clig6s et Ypomecol, rym6'(Delisle no. 1101) has a second folio reference 'Calabre'that is not from Cligös, but would correspond to line 120 of lpomedon (perhaps implying that there were two columns per page of thirty lines each, with the first line used for a title or with the first verse spread over two lines because of a large initial). However, the reference for the last folio given by Delisle from the inventory of 1411 ('fet si ne sens plit') does not seem to be from either lpomedon or Cligös. However, this folio reference is given by Douöt d'Arcq as 'fet se ne s'emplit'(1867, item 108), though it must be noted that the difference is purely editorial. Despite his title (Inventaire de . . . 1423)Douöt d'Arcq takes the text of each entry from the inventory of 1411, there being no folio references in that of April 1424 (Delisle 1907 , I, 3121' 39. Nevertheless, the form adopted is extremely helpful, because it can be recognized as a corruption of 'fet centfvarianr: ces] nes emplir' (Cligös, Gregory and Luttrell edn, 6676, less thanl20lines from the end, as required by the presumed format). Thus, 'Cligös et Ypomecol' does represent Cligös and lpomedon, blut in the opposite order. Other problematic entries are 'Glorion de Bretagne, rym6' (Delisle no. lll2), whose folio references do not suit the unique, late manuscript of Galeran de Bretagne, and the 'Merengis rym6, trös vieil' (Delisle no. 1141), whose folio references do not slit Meraugis de Portlesguez. Other possible evidence for a different Meraugis (unless 'Sado' is a corruption of 'Lidoine') is the 'romaunz de Merangys et Sado'that was issued to Queen Isabella, wife of Edward II, in London in March 1327 (London, British Library, Additional MS 60584, fol.27v, lines 1l-L2;Yale 1982,50, with slightly different transcription). From a very different context is the inventory of Jean de Saffres, a dean of the chapter of Langres, who died in 1365. This includes a number of Arthurian entries in both prose and verse (Carnandet 1857, 471). Those presumed to be in verse are 'romancium dicti de Cligez','romancium dicti de Percevaux le Galoix' and 'romancium dicti de Beaudoux'(items 3,4 and 6). The occurrence of Perceval is no surprise;just as it has the greatest number of surviving manuscripts, so it is

also by far the ::. Beaudozl.§ does

there was one 1905, item lS


1:. 1

libre appellat Lj title should h.,'" ; standing in the the first line o i L Enide).In 1+-r amongst the 1.,.le Gal oiz, en r'. :r unless Durni ti j'

Ronde...enp.:rWe have ä ir; -,

Margaret of F--. Burgundian ,i: . examples of .\: tion until the ..v almost cert a ^: restricted to r-'1.unlikely that {- -.: looks as tho l: :. closing line 's for a volume .titles arc not s': : the inventor] book as 'preS- . : identification ,' same closin s - .. . the two inr e1r,,. r : of the ubiqlr : matter as a s-.: certainly an .. ,routes by uhi;:. in the inheri:-:.'Arras in No\ -. The distrib,.. than the histc' mostly in Fr.i.t - : homes after .. : I scripts and +t :; .





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have been outside France before 1500, and this figure includes four that were in

1384-5., see Rr;.:,

territories that some definitions might count as part of France: three in the Burgundian Netherlands (as already indicated) and Turin, Biblioteca Nazionale, MS L. IV. 33, which was presumably in Savoy. Only those that were made in England and Italy were outside France in the broader sense. There is, howeveE evidence of various kinds that manuscripts now lost were to be found somewhat further afield. There were, for example, at least one or two copies of Perceval in Italy. The inventory of the Gonzaga library at Mantua in 1407 includes: 'Princivallis le galoys per versus. Incipit: Qui petit seme petit cheul. Et finit: se il chierent par chemin Continet cart. 315.'(Braghirolli 1880, item 39). The title has been distorted, but the incipit identifies the text as Chrötien's Perceval, and the explicit is that of Manessier's Continuation. The copy of Perceval owned by Valentina of Milan may have been brought from Italy on the occasion of her marriage to Louis d'Orl6ans in 1388, but it is not specifically recorded amongst her books atthat time. It was later inherited by her son Charles d'Orl6ans in 1408 (Champion 1910, lxix, lxxiii and 86). Somewhat surprisingly, given the survival of so much of the Orleans library, this book cannot be identi-

Green 19-t. Erec in Engla:Round Table (;. Harley 191 1. -: England in tlie :-: There is als,-' : Most notablr. L Thus Erec. ) r ,. Welsh, and th: . version of C,'..'. Lanzelet br L Charrette. bu: . .: Germzfl, Nors; of lays by I\,Iar.preserved, are ::. in afi indepenc;.' Clerc's Fergtr: . !

fied amongst extant copies. English bequests and catalogues include a good number of Arthurian titles, but most are likely to be in prose. A possible example of one in verse is in a book in the Benedictine abbey at Peterborough at the end of the fourteenth century. This contained 'Tristrem Gallice' and Amys et Amilion Gallice' (Blaess 1973, 343). Since the prose Tristan is too long to share a volume, it is likely that both texts were in verse, though whether the Tristan was the version by Thomas or Beroul, or some other that has not survived, would be pure speculation. The only document that provides sufficiently precise information to identify texts and manuscripts beyond doubt is the library catalogue of St Augustine's Abbey at Canterbury. Thus, 'Romautz de per le Galois, 2o fb. et oreisons'(James 1903,373, item 1530) is confirmed as a copy of Chr6tien's romance by the opening words of its second folio (Perceval,I57). Less certain in its identification is the 'Romance de Perciuall & Gawyn'owned by King Richard II, though this too is likely to have been Chr6tien's Perceval.It appears in a list of books in 1384-5, but it had previously been recorded in the Issue Rolls of the Exchequer as having been handed over to thevalet de chambre John Rose in1379.It could have been the 'romatJrtz Perceual coaperto de coreo albo' released by command of Queen Isabella to Thomas de Useflete in March 1327 (London, British Library, Additional MS 60584, fol. 27v,line 7; Yale 1982, 50, with slightly different transcription), and it is presumably the'Perceual & Gauwayn'bequeathed by Isabella to Edward III in 1358, and inherited by Richard II ln 1377. However, far from being a 'catalogue' of the royal library at the time, the list of 1384-5 records books that Richard had already discarded (for the text of the lists of 1358 and




2000 , 211- 1 -1 : versions of th::: These are i Pt;'.


with episodes :: Vengeance Äci:.-,

abridged vers^,- rvoet (related i,-- :

All these rr;..: originals. The,-- r: France and e].: French manlls-: their own col.:- . saga appear t c, I ; Willehalru.



Texts and }Iaru>t

In considering


significant ditf.. . by comparison ,

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Library, MS Douce 215. There is some evidence that this may have been a single volume at one stage, but it was certainly in only two volumes when it disappeared from the Abbey of Sainte-Geneviöve in Paris early in the eighteenth century (Kohler 1898, xciii, item 6). It is described as 'deux gros volumes'in the two catalogues of the library preserved in Paris, Sainte-GeneviÖve, MS 952 (fol. 16) and MS 965 (p.17), and the first of these also has a note by Mercier de Saint-L6ger recording its absence, and another giving its shelf-mark as T 7 (which is what appears on the opening folios of Amsterdam vol. I and Douce 215). On the other hand, we should not suppose that all prose manuscripts were particularly large, nor that they never contained unrelated texts. It is true that no survivor is as small as the smallest of the verse, but quite a few are no bigger than more typical verse manuscripts. For example, nine of the twenty-one surviving manuscripts containing texts from the Lancelot*Grail Cycle that were in England during the Middle Ages are no more than 300mm tall (Middleton 2003, n.43). This proportion of nearly half is not repeated outside England, but there were certainly some smaller manuscripts elsewhere. The sizes given by Micha (1960-3) for copies of the Lancelot are an easily accessible guide. His list includes eight of the nine smaller manuscripts that were in England, all now in the British Library: MSS Egerton25l5 (267mm); Lansdowne 757 (225mm);Royal 15. A. xi (185mm); Royal 19. B. vii (300mm); Royal 19. C. xiii (300mm); Royal 20. A. li (275mm); Royal 20. B. viii (266mm); Royal 20. C. vi (185mm). The ninth (containing the Estoire and Merlin) is British Library, Additional MS 32125 (250mm). Smaller manuscripts of the Lancelot that were in France during the Middle Ages are: BNF, fr. 1430 (289mm); BNF, fr.12573 (280mm); Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MSS 445-D (280mm) and 5018-D (297mm); Escorial, Monasterio Real de San Lorenzo,Ms P.1I.22(289mm); Fribourg, BibliothÖque Cantonale, MS L. 310 (292mm). The dimensions given by Micha for New York, Pierpont Morgan Library, MSS M. 805-06 are in error; the library describes these volumes as measuring 346mm. There are also some examples of Arthurian prose manuscripts with additional texts (not counting those compilations with interpolated texts that have already been mentioned). A notable case is Berkeley, Bancroft Library, MS UCB 106 (ex Phillipps 3643), which consists mainly of texts in verse, but also contains the Estoire and Merlin, though there is some room for doubt whether this was the original intention. It is now in two volumes, and although the present division does not fall between the verse and the prose, there are signs that the manuscript

was at one time bound in a different order. Equally significant is BNF, fr. 95, whose Estoire ard Merlin are followed by the Sept sages de Rome and the Pönitence Adam, despite the fact that it is believed to be a companion to New Haven, Yale University, Beinecke Library, MS 229, which contains Agravain,the Queste and the Mort Artu (Stones 1996). Other examples are: BNF, fr. 770, in

which an -E,I, , , Histoire cl ()t t i i'c -'"

-. in l2B4: Arsir-..: Biblioteca Ap,:. by Garin cle \l which the -11r ,, 93J , in which Ilast had been c.' and 7), but bt . Jörn Günther Most prose r-.-: Queste is





extensive proSr-.

lavish illustrLr.i. pictures, not . :." must not, holr ;' ; type. Even an.,- :. .

assumption t h .: their more e\i...



importance. \\ owned b1, mf it. I : volumes. This :., : side-effect




Malory. N'Ir-rr; . r' thought it 113-;-. substantial lr'a. -,. ception. A1l ti.. : volumes at nt,-- : particularlr ii. E scripts of tlie I-" are relatir.el) S:-. -: and the other i :'larger manllsc:-: : reason to belr;-, = much diffictrlt., : Thomas Malc,:(Meale 1985. t rto consider ht i,, .- .


really was a rri r.:

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In France, however, the fifteenth century witnessed a new type of manuscript production, in which outward appearance was very much a prime consideration. The number and quality of the illustrations had always had a major influence upon the price, and those that could afford it might buy more than one copy of the same text if the volumes were sufficiently attractive. Older copies might be replaced by those that were newer, and plainer copies by those that were more prestigious. Kings and dukes might acquire multiple copies as a result of gifts or by inheritance, but except for the production of bibles and service books it is not until the fifteenth century that we encounter situations where the making of a particular book is more important than the copying of a particular text. This change of emphasis appears in commissions to produce a copy of a text that the patron already owns, in commissions to produce two or three matching copies of a particular text, and in repeated commissions to produce copies of the same text in different formats. The last of these categories is most obviously exemplified by the Duke of Berry and his many Books of Hours, but there are no documented cases amongst Arthurian manuscripts. For the production of matching copies we can turn to Philip the Bold, Duke of Burgundy, who in 1403 paid his agent Jacques Raponde for three copies of the Fleur des histoires de la terre d'orienr (Cockshaw 1969,no.55). One of these was for his brother the Duke of Berry, the second for his nephew the Duke of Orleans and the third for Philip himself. As an Arthurian example, it is likely that a similar commission is at the origin of the two matching copies of the Lancelot-Grail that are now BNF, fr. 117-20 and Arsenal MSS 3479-80, the first owned by the Duke of Berry, the second by Philip's son, John the Fearless. If this double commission is not fully documented, it is probably because Philip the Bold had died (on 27 April 1404) before the books were ready. The copy owned by Jean de Berry was obtained by him from the Parisian bookseller Regnaut du Montet in January 1405 (Delisle 1907, Berry no.270), but it is hard to believe that the production of these expensive matching copies was a commercial speculation. It is usually assumed that the Arsenal volumes are the book for which John the Fearless paid his (and his father's) Parisian agent Jacques Raponde in 1406 ot 1407, and this is probably so, despite some discrepancies.a The classic example of a bibliophile making new books using texts that he

already owned is Jacques d'Armagnac, Duke of Nemours, who seems to have supplied the exemplars for manuscripts that he commissioned (see below, pp. 66-8). One characteristic of these productions is that they often combine existing texts in a new way. This is especially noticeable in the case of Jacques d'Armagnac's Arthurian compilation that is now BNF, fr. 112 (Pickford I959l6}*),but it also applies on a smaller scale to the Lancelot-Grail of the dukes of Berry and Burgundy, which is distinguished by the use of the prose adaptation of Chr6tien's Charrette (instead of the usual prose version of the same story) and


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1r Suqeru '(Ot6I srullug) ZIZI ßue tseg er{} ur uorsre^ peur,(qr srqt pecnpord uorog op ueqoU ler{} slseSSns e8essed Unclgrp sql Jo uorlelerd;e1ur elqrsneld lsotrr egJ 'ZIA u\ eurtseled ur ?urlq8g perp z(1qeqo.rd oq,,lr pue OIZ,I ol §0ZI uro{ snrd,(3 ;o lue8er s?^\ orl \ etu€u leql go uos;ed eql qlr,lt peurluepr uooq seq orllvl 'prellgqtuol4l ep rerlneg uretroc e uo;1ed e se o1o^u ot sruedde (16-6379) txet slql Jo pue eql1e e8essed V'OgVt pue S9IE 'upe ez1r5f uorog ep lrogog polpc ueeq eleq o1 srueos Joqlne esog \ ' nop a.fiolsgJ ap uoutoü aZ sB ul\ouä osle alryDut!.tv,p qdaso1 esrel erll go uo4eldepe ue sr uorsre^ esord eql leql pesoddns ,(11uurrou sl lI 'uo11rJ1rl sex qdaso1 esord eql uoq,r pue .4AorI Jo .&etzr. Ieuorlueluoc eql qllzv\ elqrledruocur,(11oq.u sr ldrrcsnueru euopotr l er{} roJ elep ,(pee ue qcns 'ecuul"rodurr oruos Jo enssr uu souocoq

suorlseSSns snorJBA osoql Jo ,{lrllqeqer oq} tncco ,(eqt qcrq,tr ur slducsnuuru or{} ;og pesodord äsorl] uer{} relel ere stxe} er{} roJ pe1se8?ns se}Bp eq} Jo eruos lerl} puu 'perr.1orr.ur slxel oql Jo uorlrsoduroc eql JoJ sel?p ]c?xe ou e^uq eru 1eq1ue,r6 'snqI '002 '907,'t661) gz-gl1,l') stseSSns uueruourrls ggL'l. UNg pu€ 0€rI '{ tNfl rod 'OZ-OlZl epecep eq] sB,(yrue se eq Äetu Äeqt tuqt sr (sreded ocuereJuoc pue soJnlcel snorJe^ ur pouorlueu) sunlerupr sll ;o uolurdo teq 'ldr:csnueur ?uepoIAI er{l Jo ,(pn1s "repurrs e peqsrlqnd lou seq eqs q8noqtlv 'OZZ'g11il ,0ZZI2, o1 ue^e ß (662 '166ü ,s1ZT,l [1.ree eq], o] porJrpou .(pq8rls eq plnoc srq] 1eq1 pe1se88ns ecurs seq or{,l\ pue 'IOZZI eql ur peluled ere,l ,(eql }erl} uorsnlcuoc eql 01 errrsc oq,r '(tt1i seuols .{q perpnls uoeq e^ug lducsnuuu souue11 eq} Jo seJn]eruru eqJ 'JerTruo uelo ere (OS Str4l 'esuelsg oluunruoC ecolor1qrfl 'euepo141) uoJog ep ilogog ol pelnqrrtle Ä3o1r"11 or{} Jo slducsnueur eql Jo euo pue pp)uo7 eso.rd eql uorsre^ cqc,(c-uou eq] Eurureluoc (g€trt puu g9L'rJ UNg) Jo slducsnuuur ozlrl .(lrllqrssod snorJes € sr ereql ynq'(to1acun7 eleldurocur luql ue pue ull.Dq 'a.r1ousg eql Surureluoc) ggz 'epdrcrun141 enbeqlolqlg 'seuueg 9141 eq o1 sr e1c,(3 arp go Sulut.rns lsorlree oqJ lq8noqt lducsnueur llutg-top)uv7 uollJnpord Jo socBld puB sofB( 'ezrrsuedxe puu peleJlsnl[ [eA\ 'eflte1ete Äeq1 ielecs puer8 oq] uo pe^recuoc eJe seyqdoqqrq u.r\ou{ Jo suorssruruoc eql ruo4 ruels leq} sldrJcsnueur eqJ .s{ooq luepodur sse1,(lquqord e"re 1xe1eq1

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development to be preserved exclusively by the oldest manuscript. Even if we allow that the later manuscripts all derive from even earlier exemplars, it still implies that there were more stages between the original and the Modena text than might have been expected for the supposed time available, or that the deterioration from one copy to the next was on a much greater scale than would have been anticipated. Only if the Modena manuscript were shown to be later than 1250 could we be comfortable with the conventional view of the prose Joseph and its manuscript tradition. Another difficult case is that of the Vulgate Estoire, whose recent editor suggests a date of composition 'post6rieur ä 1220-7225'whilst accepting the date of 'environ 1220' for the Rennes manuscript (Ponceau 1997 ,1, xiv). If there were no more to it than this, the apparent conflict of dates might be resolved by taking a liberal view of the approximations involved. However, the text of the Estoire in the Rennes manuscript is partly from the short version and partly from the long version (Ponceau 1997,I, xxvii-xxviii and xxxi-xxxiii). Thus, whichever version is the earlier, the combination of the two places the Rennes manuscript at two removes from the beginning of the tradition. Only in the highly improbable event of its own unique combination being the original form of the text can this manuscript be close to the date of composition. Consequently, if the manuscript really is as early as 1220, the time needed for the development of whichever version was secondary and the subsequent mixture of long and short forms implies a date of composition that is surely no later than 1215, and probably no later than 1210. Even the mechanical copying of the manuscripts would take several years, without allowing for any delay between successive copies or for the additional time required by such deliberate editorial intervention. However, since it is also normally supposed that the creation of the Lancelot-Grail Cycle began with the expansion of the Lancelot section and with the addition of the Queste and Mort Artubefore the incorporation of the Estoire, this would place the origins of the Cycle no later than 1200-10, and the non-cyclic Lancelot would have had to have been made either at the very beginning of that period or even earlier. Such a possibility would have profound consequences, not least of which would be the possible role of Walter Map. When the Cycle was supposed to be from later than 1230, the attribution of some of its parts to Walter Map, who died on 1 April 1209 or 1210, did not require serious consideration, but if the Cycle were earlier the least that we should have to allow is that the attribution was made while Walter Map was still alive. This does not make it true, of course, but it does alter its significance. Such a date would also cast a different light upon the reference to the story of the grail in Helinand's chronicle, itself of uncertain date, but presumed to have been written not long after 1204 and certainly before 1227 (Lot 1918, 136-7). Perhaps most significant of all would be the consequences that an early date for the Lancelot-Grail Cycle would have for the

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Universitätsbibliothek, MS 526, whose colophon gives both the date and the name of the scribe: 'Explicit. Arnulfus de Kayo scripsit istum librum qui est Ambianis. En l'an del Incarnation M. CC. IIII"'. VI el mois d'aoust le jour devant le S. Iehan decolasö'(Frappier 1936, xxv). Loomis (1938, 94) prints this colophon without 'devant' and inexplicably interprets the date as 27 August; Micha (1958, 86) includes odevant' but gives a self-contradictory date: 'le mercredi 26 aoürt1286'. As it happens, Wednesday is correct, for the beheading of John the Baptist is commemorated on 29 August, making the date of the colophon 28 August 1286, which was indeed a Wednesday (given correctly in Hutchings 1938, ix). The form'ambianis'presumably means either that the scribe was a native of Amiens or that he was living and working there at the time. In either case, by this date, 'de Kayo' might well be a family name, so it does not guarantee the scribe's own place of origin (though it was no doubt derived originally from one of the several localities within easy reach of Amiens that are named either Caix or Cayeux). This point is somewhat more than academic, because the manuscript of the Estoire (with embedded Joseph) in Le Mans, BibliothÖque Municipale, MS 354 has the colophon: 'Explicit. Walterus de Kayo scripsit istum librum'(without date). This manuscript has sometimes been assigned to the second quarter of the fourteenth century, but it is in fact one of a group made in the last three decades of the thirteenth century, and there is a manuscript of the Image du monde from 1282 with the colophon: 'Explicit. En l'an de l'incarnation M. CC. IIII*' et II. I'escrit Wautiers dou Kai, foi que jou doi a Deu' (BNR fr. 14962). The similarities between these colophons (the identical wording of the two in Latin, and even the fact that they are in Latin at all after vernacular texts; and the form of the date in the two that give it) prompt the speculation that there may be connections (of family or place of work) between these scribes. There does not appear to be any connection between Arnulfus ... ambianis' and the 'Ernouls damiens'whose name appears in a colophon to the Lancelot of Oxford, Bodleian Llbrary, MS Rawlinson Q. b. 6, fol. 187v, as having written 'la branche de Galeholt'[sic, not as transcribed in the Summary Catalogue]. This manuscript was probably made in Paris in the early decades of the fourteenth century, and the hand is not the same as that of Bonn 526.The elaborate style and layout of the colophon seem to eliminate the possibility of the name's having been copied from an exemplar. Other dated manuscripts earlier than the fifteenth century are: BNF, fr. 122 (a Lancelot-Grail dated'le lundi prochain devant le jour de paskes flories en mars l'an mille CCCXLIIII' i.e. Monday 14 March 1345 rather than Monday 22 March 1344); and BNF, fr. 335-6 (a Tristan'qui fut fait l'an mille III" IIII*" et XIX la veille de Pasques grans' i.e. 17 April 1400 rather than 29 March 1399). When converting these dates to modern forms it is normally safe to assume that French documents of the period will follow the practice of the royal chancery

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MS Ashburnham I2l' (I, 372, n. 84). This is said to have been illustrated by the Maubeuge Master, a claim later repeated under the reference 'Florence, Biblioteca Laurentiana Ashburnham l2l. Roman du Graat (II,176). The oflicial shelf-mark of this manuscript in the Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana is MS Ashburnham 48 (though the Rouses are not alone in using the number 12l,for it was MS Libri 121 when owned by the Earl of Ashburnham). It contains a Queste

(rather than the Estoire that one might have supposed from the titles given), but it has a colophon stating that it was made in Avignon in 1319 (sometimes read as l3l4). Such claims are not always reliable when found on manuscripts that have passed through the hands of Libri (who had a habit of forging provenances), but in the present case the style of the miniatures themselves is confirmation enough (Stones 1996,213,215,2I9, etc., n. 59 and figs 8.5 and 8.9). For the first 100 years or so, the production of verse manuscripts continued alongside the prose, but by the middle of the fourteenth century the copying of Arthurian verse texts seems to have been almost entirely abandoned. The copying of the prose romances, however, continued unabated through the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries until print became the dominant medium. There are even

examples of manuscripts of Arthurian prose being produced in the early sixteenth century. The latest datable manuscripts seem to be the Lancelot in BNF, fr. 1427 (dated 1504) and the copy of Ysaye le Triste in Gotha, Herzogliche Bibliothek, MS 688, which has the arms of Louis de la Ti6moille (who died at Pavia in 1525) and of his second wife Louise Borgia (whom he married in 1517), implying a date of production in the period l5I7-25 (Giacchetti 1989). Other manuscripts assigned to the sixteenth century are the copies of Tristan in BNF, fr. 24400 and Ghent, University Library, MS 6; the copy of Guiron le Courtois in British Library, Additional MS 36673; and possibly the Merlin and Suite in St Petersburg, National Library of Russia, MS fr. F. pap. XV. 3. We should also remember that in the late 1520s Pierre Sala of Lyon produced a version of Tristan that survives in two manuscripts (Muir 1958). In considering how manuscripts of Arthurian romances gave way to the printed editions there is a difficulty of comparing like with like. The new printed editions were effective in producing a readable copy of the text, but despite the use of woodcuts and the provision for decoration to be added by hand, they were no match for the traditional product as works of art. In earlier centuries this deficiency might not have been so important, but the nature of book buying and of book collecting had been changing. The lavishly illustrated volumes of the fifteenth-century bibliophiles would have had nothing to fear from the new printed editions. The problem is in knowing how many plain copies of the texts were still being made, for it is these that would be in most direct competition with the new medium. The small number that survive are not of the most elaborate type, but not of the plainest either, and these may not be a true reflection of the


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probably be added to the list on the basis of its Anglo-Norman spellings, though the evidence from its script is less clear-cut. When considering the production of French Arthurian manuscripts in Italy we must first bear in mind that two of the prose lomances with which we are concerned were not merely copied but actually composed in Italy. 'fhe Prophecies de Merlin, attributed to 'Maistre Richart d'Irlande' and purportedly commissioned by the Emperor Frederick II, was in fact produced by a Venetian working between 1272 and 1279. Evenmore significant, especially for the development of Arthurian literature in Italian, was the Compilation by Rusticien de Pise. This was composed soon after 12724 by the Rustichello da Pisa who in 1298, whilst in prison in Genoa, wrote the French account of the travels of Marco Polo (Cigni 1992). We might also mention in this context the prose Yvain (part adaptation, part compilation), which is likely to have been put together in Italy, given that the unique manuscript in Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 444-D was made there (Muir 1964; Avrll, Gousset and Rabel 1984,25,n.25). The early copy of the Compilation by Rusticien de Pise in BNF, fr.1463 is one of a group of manuscripts associated with Genoa at the end of the thirteenth century (Cigni 1992, 522 and n. 25; 524 and n. 44, based upon Avril, Gousset and Rabel 1984, 25). The other manuscripts of this group are six copies of Tristan: Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 446-E; Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana, MS Ashburnham 50 (sections of Tristan and Guiron); London, British Library, MS Harley 4389; Modena, Biblioteca Comunale Estense, MS E. 59; BNF, fr. 760; Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, MS fr. XXIII; and four copies of various branches of the Lancelot-Grail: Berlin, Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, MS Hamilton 49; BNF, fr.354; BNF, fr. 16998; and Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, MS fr. XI. To Cigni's list must be added two copies of Guiron: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, MS Reg. lat. 1501 and Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, MS fr. IX; a unique Queste in Udine, Biblioteca Arcivescovile, MS 177; and the prose Yvain in Aberystwyth, National Library of Wales, MS 444-D (Avril, Gousset and Rabel 1984, 25, n. 25). Other manuscripts made in Italy include copies of all the principal prose romances. The copy of the Estoire, Merlin and Suite in Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 178 has miniatures that were probably painted in Bologna c.1270-85. In addition to those connected with Genoa there are five other Italian copies of Lancelot (or of parts of it): Florence, Biblioteca Medicea Lauenziana, MS Plut. 89 inf., 61; London, British Library, MS Harley 4419 (ltaly or southern France); BNF, fr. 767 (Tuscany); BNR fr.773 (Bologna); and Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, MS fr. XII; though probably not Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 199, which is included as Italian by Delcorno Branca (1998, 20), but whose miniatures were almost certainly painted in France. The Mort Artu in Chantilly, Mus6e Cond6, MS 649 was written for Brexianus de Salis who was


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any owners. The earliest recorded commission appears to be Darmstadt, Hessische Landes- und Hochschulbibliothek, MS 2534 (containing the Estoire, Merlin and Suite), which is said to have been made for 'le bon Comte de bloys jadis signeur de byaumont'(fol. 210). This is presumed to be Louis de Chätillon, Count of Blois, who died atCrÖcy inl346 (Schmidt 1890). Another early mark of ownership is the note (in mirror writing) on the last folio of BNF, fr.770 stating that it was lent by 'Pierre des Essars' to the Duke of Normandy. It is usually supposed that the owner of the manuscript was the Pierre des Essars who died at Cr6cy (Delisle 1868-81, I, 15; Brunel1923, xxxv, n. 1), but his career has been confused with that of his father (also called Pierre). The father held a number of oflicial appointments, but was most important as the foremost banker and financier in France. He was Argentier du Roi and Receveur de la Reine from 1320, and became Maitre des Comptes in 1336, in succession to his brother Martin. Before moving to Paris, Martin had been mayor of Rouen, and both Martin and Pierre were burghers of Rouen as well as burghers of Paris. Towards the end of his career, in October 1346, Pierre was imprisoned for alleged financial irregularities, and condemned to pay a fine of 50,000 livres. Such an enormous cash sum would have been beyond many of the highest in the land, but Pierre paid it inMay 1347, and was duly released. He died in 1349 without being restored to the king's favouE but in 1350 the Duke of Normandy, to whom the manuscript had been lent, acceded to the throne as King John II, and by February 1352 Pierre had been pardoned, and the amount of the fine was reimbursed to his heirs in October 1353 (Cazelles 1958, 23942). As implied by his title, the Argentier did have responsibility for the king's silver, but his principal duty was the procurement of all the cloth required by the king's household (Douöt d'Arcq 1851). This would have resulted in frequent journeys to the centres of production in Flanders, and constant dealings with Flemish merchants in Paris. Possibly as a consequence of these connections, Pierre was employed on several diplomatic missions to Flanders and Hainault, and by 1338 he was in receipt of a pension from the Countess of Flanders (Margaret of France, later also Countess of Artois, d. 1382, a possible owner of Arthurian volumes that found their way to the Burgundian library). Pierre's most significant mission was to Binche in Hainault in 1345-6 to assist in the negotiation of the marriage of Louis de Mäle (son of Louis de Nevers, Count of Flanders, and Margaret of France) with Marie de Brabant (Cazelles 1958,210, in contrast to Anselme 1726-33, VIII, 555, who wrongly describes the prospective marriage as that of Louis de France, second son of the Duke of Normandy, and who attributes the mission to Pierre, the son, who died at Cröcy). This marriage was a matter of considerable political importance, because it was designed to frustrate the attempts of King Edward III to create an Anglo-Flemish alliance by offering Louis the hand of his daughter Isabella, and it paved the way for Louis de Mäle (Count of Flanders after the


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tlre complet,- L PrOse Tristct;. : \ olumes of Pr, . r-rf the cop)' t-rn t -: By the eighi;; there are alsc i.. .lnce. The \ o11.. . Bibliothöque R rBarrois 183t.r. Gloucester (ri ,, nluch more sc1.,_ -





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eql 01 enlc ou elr? ser.rolue^ur eql ur reeddu ler{} suorlducsep oq} ro3 'elec euros qll,lt se lostuer{} s{oog eq} peuruexe ppq euoeruos 1eq1 segdur stq} puu ,slue}uoc rreql Jo ,$ueluns eql Jo esnBceq elurl sry} 1e .leq1e3o1 pe^leqs eJe,&\ selunlo^ o1v\l eseql ,(1qerunseJ4 '6gSU'JJ tNg mou) gg71 ur peprocor }srrJ secueruor s(uerl?llJ Jo eerr{} Sururuluoc orunlo^ eq} upqt rer{lo euou sl (9s€l .ou,0€gI storreg) .(rolue,rur eql ur ruelr txou aq,L'6692 SIAI 'Ioqlorlqrqleuorl€N egcsrqcrer -Jelso 'euuern ur Arou sr leq] sßno.tayy 3o .(doc enrssardrur eql ezru?oceJ 01 sn A\olle socuereJoJ orToJ eql pue '(§StI 'ou '0€gI sro.r.reg) (erurr ue . .' se8ue.rotr41 ep oJ^rl el, se peqrJcsop sI slqJ 'osJe^ uerJnquv Jo erunlo^.iv\ou euo sr oJorll1ng 's1xe1 eso"rd 3o em suorlrppB usrJnquv eq] IIB lsorulB t;n1uec qlueeuu erll roJ pelcedxe eq lq8nu sy '(uolpnog ap to$apo1 Jo,(doc e se secuoreJer orloJ slr ,(q elqe -Ulluepr sr ]ng.ce'I np lolecueT ep 1ue1;ed "' orurJ ue oJlrl zler^ un, se peqrJcsop sr se peleede; 'Z;II'ou sro;reg '9OL'ou Surlunoc 'ggg1 1eq1 1ou) ea.lqt-,(Urql o] uesrJ sBq ^,(roluezrur eq] ur selunlo^ uerJnrluv Joqrunu eq] ']ue^o,(ue u1 Jo 'uorsuedxe oumue8 e se IIo r se uorluzrueEro ^/\eu

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a"i I 1I,r




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Jo I€1o1 E sa rli





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eq ]qEIu su i.:'-,JOAOSurBlrr.os. (1.


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1980, 98). The complete Lancelot-Grail Cycle in Arsenal MSS 3479-80 (already

(Barrois 1Eit"t. :.

mentioned as the twin of BNF, fr. 117-20) is probably the book that features in the payment of 1406-7, and it is certainly in the inventory of 1420 (Doutrepont 1906, item 68) and that of 1467 (Barrois 1830, no. 1235). The copy of Guiron le Courtois (Barrois 1830, nos l24l and 2184-5) is now Arsenal MSS 3477-8, and the copy of Ysalie le Triste (Barrois 1830, nos 1282 and 1834) is now Darmstadt, Hessische Landes- und Hochschulbibliothek, MS 2524. These last two entered the library in the time of Philip the Good, as did the six volumes of Perceforest (now bound as twelve) that are Arsenal MSS 3483-94 (Barrois 1830, nos 1253-8, in which no. 1253 is wrongly described as the sixth volume: the preceding nos 1248-52are five volumes of Perceforesl on parchment bound in yellow leather, all now missing; the scribe who copied the surviving text of this inventory was expecting a sixth volume to complete this set, but no. 1253 is not it; this is clearly the first volume of the following set on paper bound in black leather, in which nos I254-B have the correct second folio references for the volumes2to 6 that they are said to be; the matter would have been settled beyond doubt if the entry for no. 1253 had included a second folio reference, but it does not; this is probably because the volume was not physically present at the time of the inventory, there being a note in the margin saying that it had been borrowed by Monsieur de Saint-Pol). Given what has been lost as well as what has survived, it is easy to create the impression that Arthurian literature enjoyed considerable popularity at the Burgundian court, but this is not what the evidence really shows. It is true that at

de Croy, Cour.:

its height in the later fifteenth century the collection had more Arthurian volumes than any other in the kingdom, but we must remember to keep this in perspective. After the sale of the royal library in 1425, and its subsequent dispersal, the Burgundian library was much larger than any other in France, and when this is taken into account it emerges that the Arthurian volumes (even with

the broadest of definitions) formed only a small proportion of it. The nine Arthurian volumes recorded in1420 represent 5 per cent of a total of 181, and the thirty-three Arthurian volumes recorded in 1467 represent only 4'lo per cent of a total of 788. Despite the increase in numbers, the proportion has fallen, and there are larger holdings in almost every other sphere. As for whether the dukes themselves took an active interest in their Arthurian volumes, the evidence is remarkably ambiguous. Take, for example, the expensive Lancelot-Grail of Arsenal MSS 3479-80.If this was commissioned by Philip the Bold as one of a pair with BNF, fr. ll7-20 for himself and his brother Jean de Berry, it would imply a certain commitment, but the belated payment by John the Fearless does not necessarily show any interest in the matter beyond that of settling his father's debts. In any event, it was later allowed to leave the library in the time of Charles the Bold or Maximilian, for it is in the inventory of 1,467


ex-libris (no,,i ; (recorded rn . Bibliothöque \ I Burgundian 1.: de Croy b1 \ L: book's o\\'ners speculation. E', " art than of lii;: text that \\.oLllc : it was an obiec: all the other \ ,:. Another c.1s: have commit.= produced the ', ; Yet we sholrld s: on paper duri:.: lifetime. The) .l indicated abo,, ; being at Ghe:.: .




l: -

time in the ptrs>-

mottoes and s.J that they spenr .' the histor)'oi :.., \rolumes that s --: have paintings :

so there is no c.; made into a nt ment arc not t1"; nos l24B-51 t. ,,," Earlier in tii: fr. ll7-20 (De.., (Delisle 1907 . B: Nationalbiblici:. the inventories tiom Regnaur c -. -






wäS ttr .

'preu.teg o] ]uerueples ur eru8 srolncoxe oq] ]eq1s{ooq eAU Jo euo su,^a ll9I7 ul ,ftreg ep ueel Jo r{leop eql reUV'sncse 00€ roJ srred ur }otuol4tr np tneuSeg uro.l3 ggyl ,ftenue1 ur lq8noq ueeq Surzreq se pergrceds sr rcp)uo7 eq1 '(ser.rolue^ul eql ur ;eedde seop 'suqq-xe srq srueg qcg,\,\,) t€§U Str41 '{oq}orlqlqleuor}eN lou 1nq eqcsqcrorrolsg 'euuern sr ßqt uDts!.U eql puu (ZL(,'ou,{r"leg '1961 elsqoq) seunlo^ o1(1 ur stoLmoC^\ou al uoilng e'(1Le 'ou,ftreg '106I elsrToq) SZ-1II ':; UNg Jo llDrg-top)uo7 eqt pouly\o peq Ä;reg ep ueof ,fun1uec eql ut JerTreg ']sol1v\ou ore r{crq.ll '(79-9p71 sou 'ggg1 srorreg) seuoluezlur uerpun8;ng oql ul reedde 1Bq} seuo eql lou oJe luotu uo serunlo^ Sunnrns eeJql eqJ ,(doc .rreg e.rrsuedxe oJoru B olut epeur l;eJp egl e €q o1pepuelur re^e poog eql dqrrid ler{l ecuepr^e reelc ou sr oJorl} os '(LLil'p) ptog or{1 selreqf, Jo }eq} Surrnp uo^o 1ou Älqeqord pue (Lgil'p) poog oql dlrqd Jo eurrleJll eq1 8ur:np euop lou z(yurugec oro^\ leq] s8urlured e,req (U 'E 'Ot pue III 'A'61'^ 'g '91 1e,(o11 ggry {;erql1 qsrlr.rg) e^r^rns teq} sournlo^ eerql äqJ 'pruluoglq8rurls ssel qcnu sr lueruqcred uo ,(doc JreJ erl] go Ä.lo1srq eql 1ng 'lcedxe plnogs e \ leq \ qcnru,fue,t sr srqt r(pueg ,(or3 eqt qlrzr lueds ,(er{t teqt porred iloqs eql urorg pedy 'gVLl ul qcuerd oqt ,(q ue)pl plun peureure.r feql eJor{ll\ 'slessnrg ut >lceq oJo,{\ setunlo^ eq1 gtsl ,(q 1nq 'se.rnleu8rs pue seollotu snorJ?^ pepp€ oqru eql Jo sJeqrueu IeJo^os Jo uorssessod eql ur erurl "(11ue3,(or3 eruos lueds ueql ,(eq1]eq} suees \'(g-Lglz sou '9931 srorreg) Lgvl q slessnr8 ]e sreqto ozvu eql pue (Z76Z9I sou 'ggg1 sro.rreg) sgtl ur luoqg 1e Eureq seunlo^ rnog 'ser.rolue^ur Jolel ur.leedde 01 onurluoc ,(eq1 pue '(enoqe pelecrpur se '8-€§ZI sou '6991 sror"teg) LgtI Jo,(rolue,rur eq] ur poprocer ere Äeq1 'etulleJll s,d1lqd Suunp ,irerql eq1 q e;em '6971 pue 6gVI Jo esrnoc eql Suunp .lsded uo uellrJ.r\'gerp s,ileqnv pl^ec Jo selunlo^ xrs eqJ 'snorln€c eq [IIls plnoqs e^\ ]e 'uerp srq Jo selunlo^ xrs oql olur ueqnv py\ec ,(q perdoc uorsJe eq] pecnpo.rd leq] ]xe1 Jeplo oql go Sur4ro.aaoJ er{} roJ srrns ler}ue}sqns pellrrutuoc e^Br{ lsnrrr poog aqt dryq4 qclqr!\ o] ]ceford e'1sa.totacta4 Jo 1pq] sr esec req]ouv .selgBnl?^ reqlo 0q1 IIB e{IT suorlereueE eq} u^\op pepueq pue perJolue^u eq o} onp^ go lceiqo ue w^\ tr 'epuur ecuo 'esJnoc gg 'Eurpee; eydurrs JoJ IIo.r se 1sn[ poruos e^eq plno^\ leql ]xe] eql Jo serdoc Iere^os peq fpue-r1e (egym sg.lo) eq ' century was Lc extensive collec:. even greater sig:

into the possr


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peleler i1aso1:

0t{} }€t{} {ult{J







of the new royal library that was being created at Blois (Delisle 1868-81, I,140*6; Van Praet 1831). The Arthurian items are: the Lancelot in BNF, fr. 127; the Lancelot, Queste and Mort ArtuinBNF, fr. 122 (dated1345); the same three texts in BNR fr.l23 (which was probably made in England);the Estoire and Merlinin BNF, fr. 749 (which seems to have spent some time in England); the extended Guironcompilation in BNF, fr. 358-63; and the Perceforest in BNF, fr. 345-8. The manuscripts obtained from Louis de Bruges were added to the collection at Blois (many of the volumes still bear distinctive Blois shelf-marks), and they feature in the inventories of 1518 and 1544 (Omont 1908-21,I). In most cases some effort has been made to replace the arms and devices of Louis de Bruges with those of France, but this has rarely been done thoroughly enough to cause any difäculty in identifying the previous owner. The basis of the library at Blois was the collection made by previous dukes of Orleans, and inherited by Louis d'Orl6ans before he succeeded to the clown as Louis XII. This had been at Blois since the fourteenth century, and there are inventories of various kinds from 1417, 1427, 1436, 1440 and 1442, as well as many other documents relating to purchases, commissions, repairs and other matters (Champion 1910). Amongst the Arthurian items can be found a copy of Froissart's Meliador (Champion 1910,45-6), which is often identified with BNF fr. 12557 for no better feason than the presumed scarcity of copies of such a little-known text. In 1399 a copy of Guiron le Courtois was repaired for the duchess, Valentina of Milan, and it remained hers (rather than her husband's) until it was inherited by her son Charles d'Orl6ans, the poet, in 1408 (Champion l9l},48_9 and lxxiv). A more complex case is the 'grant livre en frangois faisant mencion du roy Arthus' (a large book in French mentioning King Arthur) that was bound in red leather for the duchess in 1402. This is presumably the volume in red leather recorded as 'Les histoires du roy Artus, du saint Graal' in 1417,1427 and 1442.The two later inventories also note that it is'moult viell' (very olS andthat it lacks its beginning (Champion 1910, 9-10;Le Roux de Lincy 18434, item 71). It is identified by Champion with lhe Lancelol in BNF, ft.1430, which certainly comes from the Orleans collection since it has the note 'de camera compotor. Bles.'(on which, see Champion 1910, lxvi). This could fairly be called very old in 1427 (given that it is thought to have been written 1215-25), and it is defective at the beginning as specified by the later inventories. On the other hand, it has no Grail text, and at 289 x200mm it is unlikely to have been called a large book, as it was in 1402. When the library was moved from Blois to Fontainebleau in 1544, the future BNR fr. 1430 was recorded in the inventory under the title that is written in a sixteenth-century hand on its first leaf: 'Histoire du roy Arthus et de la Table Ronde' (Omont 1908-21,I, 216, item 1257; Champion 1910, 10). However, the inventory describes this manuscript as 'couvert de cuir blanc tout rompu' (covered in white leather all broken). Since this binding was already in

poor conditit-,1was white rllls-> still bound irt :; inventories is B \ 1910, xv). anü .. ments: it has .-



old as B\


counted as 'n-,. be the Lutc L



When Lolir. already poss-s>;,

VIII(Delisle.:French captllr: Pavia soon r i;.: inventories t-ri :.



tenArthurian...{), others inc - - -, the inventori inade in Frail-'; \\'ere made In I. (4. 908): tire >.: (A. 943). alie :.., sixteenth or Si- ; -.possible identi .

: th;

With these and Milan.



title of Bibliot:... The colleclier 1 5 60s, receir i:. : ( Balay e ß8E. j




\\.as Prigent de L

had a much


library contaiir; gathered br D:


\.arious famrli * Histoires de J" .. lir,re de Tris t i.r l

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manuscripts that have the ex-libris of Prigent de Coötivy. The Meliadus is probably the copy of the Compilation by Rusticien de Pise preserved in BNF, fr.340, with miniatures from the workshop of the Egerton Master, who worked for the Duke of Berry (Lathuillöre 1966, 60; Meiss 1967, l, 357). There is a copy of Tristan in London, British Llbrary, MS Royal 20.D. ii, but this was made too early (c.1300) to have been illuminated for Prigent himself, and it is therefore not the one mentioned in a payment to Hancelin for the illumination of a Tristan, a Lancelot and a Guiron. Possible candidates for the other two manuscripts included in this payment are the Guiron in BNF, fr. 356-7 and the Lancelot represented by groups of fragments sold at Sotheby's (14 July 1981, lot 30; 2 December 1997,lot 65; 6 July 2000, lots 23-6) and at Christie's (3 April 1984, lot 62). Both of these manuscripts have miniatures by the Dunois Master (the artist of the Coötivy Hours in Dublin, Chester Beatty, Western MS 82), but it is not certain that they were made quite early enough for Prigent's commissions in the 1440s (Avril and Reynaud 1995, 37-8). It is assumed that Prigent's library passed with his other property to his younger brother Olivier, and at least one of the books was later owned by Olivier's daughter Catherine de Coötivy, whose arms feature on a number of manuscripts at Chantilly (Picot 1897, 3 18-22), but none is Arthurian. Later in the century there was the larger and better-known library of Philippe de Croy, Count of Chimay (d. 1482), and of his son Charles (d. 1527). Their collection of some seventy or eighty manuscripts was systematically reviewed in 1486 (the year in which Charles was elevated from Count to Prince of Chimay by the Emperor Maximilian), and each manuscript was provided with an ex-libris at the end, giving a list of contents, the number of miniatures, Charles de Croy's title as Count (or occasionally Prince) of Chimay and finally an autograph signature. Other manuscripts that belonged to Charles de Croy that have an ex-libris of a different type at the beginning are not part of the same process (Middleton 1999, 58-61). Most of the manuscripts of 1486 were sold in 1511 to Margaret of Austria, Regent of the Netherlands for her nephew the Emperor Charles V (Debae 1995, XIII). These included: the verse manuscript BNF, fr. 12603; the Estoire in BNF, fr. 12582; the complele Lancelot-Grail Cycle in Arsenal MSS 3479-80; the Guiron (with Rusticien de Pise) in Arsenal MSS 3477-8; and the Perceforest in Arsenal MSS 3483-94. These last three items had previously belonged to the Duke of Burgundy (Doutrepont 1906, item 68 and Barrois 1830, no. 1238; Barrois 1830, nos l24l and2184-5; Barrois 1830, nos 1253-8). Some of the Croy mottoes and ex-libris have been erased, but they were recorded by Achille Godefroy in 1746 (Lille, Bibliothöque Municipale, MS Godefroy 93, fols 96, 7l and 44). Apparently not owned by Charles but with his father's motto ('moy seul Chimay') is the Tristan in Brussels, Bibliothöque Royale, MSS 9086-7. However, the principal owner of these volumes was Engelbert of Nassau (see

Renting et al "", jentil comte de \ A particular.'. de Graville. \\ ir,.

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tions of some ,t,. between Anne -:l Library, MS ESonce belongetl : his books to t1:; l go to Oxford 'ur, .. appears front .i -. (Bodleian Libr.:I a sheet of pap.: and in the nt.t t': agreed in subSr-:. The manner of ..' II. 116. It also ., -

written in 1-+ - 5 which induceti :' duces the colr.f .' unique date: 'le ,\ LXXV'. This l;-,. manuscript th"ti Douce also i.., Graville is indic -, inherited fronr . the Estoir€, JI c ;

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In a Bible historiale that belonged in l34l to

Herv6 de L6on (Paris, Bibliothöque Sainte-Geneviöve, MS 22) a later hand has written a list of the thirty-seven books in the owner's collection. These include: 'Lancelot du Lac'; 'Giron le courtoys'; 'Le sainct Greal'; 'Merlin et ses prophecies'; 'un aultre petit livre du sang Greal'; and 'un petit livre de la table ronde, Greal'(Meyer 1883). The Bible historiale bears the name of the libraire Geoffroy de Saint-Ligier and is illustrated by the Fauvel Master, who contributed to several Arthurian volumes (see above, p. 53, and Rouse and Rouse 2000, I, 206-7). Since the Bible historiale itself is a manuscript it has been assumed that the books in the list are also all manuscripts, but the list is late enough for some to have been printed. There is another important document from the period when manuscripts were giving way to print, but it is not easy to interpret. It is an inventory, usually referred to as the 'Catalogue d'un libraire de Tours' (Catalogue of a Tours book-

seller), which is preserved, somewhat incongruously, amongst letters and documents mainly connected with Ymbert de Batarnay, seigneur du Bouchage (BNF, fr.2912, fols 78-83). The list (edited in Chöreau 1868) consists of 185 items described as 'livres en frangois escripts ä la main, ä Tours devant l'ostel Monseigneur de Dunois' (hand-written books in French, at Tours in front of the hotel of Monseigneur de Dunors), followed by thirty-four Aultres livres en mistaires' (other books: mystery plays), nineteen 'Moralit6s' (morality plays) and then twenty-nine items described as 'livres en frangois en impression' (trtrinted books in French). Amongst the manuscripts are eleven volumes of Arthurian prose romance ('Tiistan en trois volumes', 'Lancelot du Lac en trois volumes', 'Merlin', 'Les proph6cies Merlin', 'Josephes du Sainct Gr6al', 'La queste du Sainct Gr6al' and 'Le petit Tristan'). Surprisingly, there are no Arthurian items amongst the printed books. The document has been well known for many years, but there is no satisfactory explanation of what it represents. It is treated as if it were the stocklist of a bookseller, but if this is really so, the number of books involved is quite extraordinary. The amount of capital needed to hold a stock of this size would have been considerable, and this would not even take account of the fact that the list includes very few of the titles that might be expected to constitute a bookseller's most regular sales: law books (for merchants as well as lawyers), medical texts (for laymen as well as doctors) and above all church books (theology at various different levels and service books for both public and private use). The religious texts are almost entirely confined to the plays and to one Book of Hours, followed by the comment 'et plusieurs aultres en grand nombre' (and several others in great number).It seems inconceivable that there were enough readers in Tours to justify a stock of this size. After all, in other contexts scholars are quick to stress that extensive libraries are the prerogative of the very wealthy, but if the Tours document represents a real stock, this would have been one of the largest libraries in France (267 items, some in several volumes, plus all those

not listed indir :; matched it (a ce: by Delisle 19(-r-. as counted br L: see how a bot l,:. maintain his St,.'that he had ob, -, tions, preferaL.1., few years. Thr-rs afit private lib,:-, speculative tc -:. course, if the b c represent his st,--', that remained .. editions. Failin i : we might har e : Outside Fran.; of Arthurian p: texts of the Ltit .





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wife of Thomas of Woodstock, Duke of Gloucester. The advantage of this suggestion is that there was a copy of Lancelol amongst the books and other property seized from his castle of Pleshey in Essex after his execution for treason in 1397 (Dillon and Hope 1897, 301). Since Pleshey was part of his wife's inheritance, the books may also have been from her family, and their seizure by the king presumably led to their incorporation into whatever royal library existed at the time.

In the second half of the fifteenth century the copy of Tristan that is now British Library, MS Harley 49 received the signature of Richard of York (later to be King Richard III), and the Tristan in British Library, MS Royal 20. D. ii (which belonged to Prigent de Coötivy) has the signature of 'Gorge Nessefeld' (presumably from Nessefeld in Yorkshire). Given that the Christian name George is very rarc atthis time, one suspects a connection of some kind with the 'Georges Hessefeld'(probably for'Nessefeld') who was Captain of Vire in Normandy for Henry VI in 1420 (Dupont-Ferrier 1942-66, I, no. 4834). Other signatures on the same manuscript ('G. Hermanuille' and'Elizabeth Kykeby') remain unidentified. Various other manuscripts have names in them that may or may not refer to their owners, but the people concerned remain unidentified (e.g. British Library, MSS Royal 19. C. xii and 20. D. iii; Bodleian Library, MS Rawlinson Q. b. 6). The Estoire on deposit in Nottingham University Library (MS Middleton L. M. 7) has notes that refer to a fourteenth-century bishop of Coventry and Lichfield, which probably means that it was in the diocese at the time, but not necessarily owned by the bishop himself (presumed to have been Roger de Northburgh, t322-s9). Humfrey, Duke of Gloucester, owned the Queste and Mort Artu in Brussels, Bibliothöque Royale, MSS 9627-8, though we do not know that he ever took the book to England, and the fact that it entered the Burgundian library at some time before 1467 (Barrois 1830, no. 1263) might suggest that it never left France. Humfrey's elder brother, John, Duke of Bedford, Regent of France for their nephew King Henry VI, acquired the French royal library in 1425, and it is supposed that many of these books were eventually taken to England. Information about particular volumes is almost entirely lacking, though it has been speculated that some were later acquired and returned to France by Louis de Bruges (Delisle 1868-81, L,145-6). Other evidence of medieval ownership in England comes mainly from inventories and testaments. To the list of Lancelot-Grail texts given in Middleton (2003, 220-l) may be added: the 'Tristram et Isolda'in the possession of Queen Isabella at the time of her death in 1358; the copies of Tristan left by Elizabeth \a Zotche in 1380, by Margaret Courtenay, Countess of Devon in 1391, by Sir John le Scrope in 1405, by Matilda Bowes, of Yorkshire, in 1420, by Thomas, Duke of Exeter, in 1426; and the Guiron le Courtois in two volumes left by Maud Clifford, Countess of Cambridge,


1446 (Meale ments is identit:-,

There mllsr .: : and adaptätitrr Sir Thomas \1.. Grail by Henr] L Library, MS f r Arthur; and a nLexists in Welsh. -:. teenth centur) .:. two parts : a trii r. : Perlesvaus. The:. seems to derir e :': The situation .: the numbers ir,., amongst the srii' Milan at Paviri . identified. The >Wales, MS 566--E (fol. B9), but it 1426) that gir es ; The Guiron in B: Taranto, Kins c,:in the inventori Tristan in Venicc. 64; the Tristuri .. Gonzaga bindi:.: Arcivescovile. \ I S n. 1 1). Howe\ er. identified amon i: 32); two copies copies of the Cc,.. than seven furthe. 35, 60-2 and 65->



copies of Merlrr: two volumes de=;. i

Queste (items lr.i -. Artu (items 28 cr:.; l7). A later some of which Llr. _

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the very brief descriptions: a Merlin (item 20); three copies of Lancelot (items 1, 8

and2I); two items described as Saint Graal (items 16 and 39); four copies of Tristan (items 5, 14, 18 and24); and three copies of Guiron (items 11, 19 and 28). There is also a Lancelot and Queste (item 23), and a Lancelot, Queste and Mort Artu (item 17). For details of entries in other inventories and of references in other documents, see Bertoni (1918-19) and Delcorno Branca (1998, 35-6,40-1, notes 68 and 69, and 87-8). None of these Arthurian items has been identified. In1240 the Emperor Frederick II, writing from Foligno, acknowledged receipt of a'liber Palamides', which is usually assumed to be some form of what we now call Guiron le Courtois (Lathuillöre 1973). Further evidence that manuscripts of the French prose romances were in Italy slightly later in the century is provided by what must have been available to Rusticien de Pise (writing soon after 12714) and to the Venetian author of the Prophecies de Merlin (writing between 1272 and 1279). Early in the next century we have Dante's famous description of how Paolo and Francesca had read about the kiss of Lancelot and Guinevere (Inferno, canto V), and in the course of the fourteenth century, translations, adaptations and independent compositions made the Arthurian stories available in Italian (Delcorno Branca 1998). However, the existence of these Italian versions did not put an end to the copying of the French originals, nor to the acquisition of manuscripts that had been made in France. Less well documented are Spain and Portugal, but here as elsewhere there were important translations and adaptations of all the texts of the Vulgate and PostVulgate Cycles (Entwistle 1925; Loomis ed. 1959*, 406-18). The first of these were made in the thirteenth century, and we can infer the presence of French manuscripts at an early date. More specific evidence for copies of the French prose romances comes from Catalonia in the fourteenth century. Not all the references collected by Entwistle (1925,904) are to books that are known to have been in French; the manuscripts being written for Pere III (Pedro IV of Aragon) in 1336, 1339, 1346 and 1349 (paid for in 1356) are more likely to have been in Catalan, as is the 'Langalot' sent for binding in 1.374, though the documents themselves do not specify a language (Rubio y Lluch 1908-21: II,57, doc. 59; I, 1 19, doc. 105; 1 35, doc. 127; 146, doc. 144; 172, doc. 172; II, I72, doc. 182). For those stated to be in French the earliest reference is for 6 August 13i9, when Jaume II bequeathed to his son Ramon Berenguer what is described as a 'liber de Lanqalot'(Rubio y Lluch 1908-21, 11,33, doc. 40). However, the incipit that is given as 'apres ce che maestres Gauters' identifies the text as the Mort Artu. The Meliadus in French paid for by Pere III on 27 March 1339 may or may not be the same book as the one described in more detail by the Infant Joan in a letter of 17 October 1383 (Rubio y Lluch 1908-21,1, ll7, doc. 101 and 314, doc.344). The Lancelor mentioned in a letter of 20 June 1379 as having been borrowed by the Infant Joan from the Viscount of Roda (on account of its great beauty) is

presumabll di::':


1908-2r,I. ystori at' (illt/

: ! i'-,


As well as ti.; verse, the


Prophecies tlt, -\ ! .

what later diit: Aragon, had C,,-,1 Greal en ffranC;: 'un altre libre i:.. of Lancelol th-r: we do not knt',.', copy on parchn.; from the librar., nüm. 13'in the -_, Chr6tien's Clt,i,,, fifteenth-cent Ll r., the library of G.,,

In northenr E.. Scandinavia. e\ -.-. parts were bein= evidence for at i;..

into Dutch,



chatacteristic rr.' : turned into \erS; in Dutch proSe. .,. passed to Gernt -:


prose romance



and somewhat l-..-

Evidence lbr : German-speakin. and the Mort .1, 1967) were allc, could well har e : few survivin,_e 11.:. been post-medie ' -,


MS 526, a cop.) Kayo in 1286, \: : V[ von Daun zlr r. Wirich gives a 1is: fol. 170). Given 11..:


selreqC 3ur» o1urelroqrueqc pu€ rollosunoc uoeq p€q qcrrrl11 1eq] ue^rC '(Ott 'tol uo 'uetu;eg ur) se.teel slr Jo Jequnu oql pue slueluoc slr Jo lsrT u se,rr8 qclJl \ g6rlu! uretsreqo te ue]lrr^\ olou e q'(I0sI-gM')) urotsreqo nz unBC uo^ IA qclrll$.3o,(rergll eql pere]ue 1r,(rnluec qtuee]Ju oql Jo puo eql lv 'ggzl ur o,(e;1 op snJlnurv Äq epßa eleyduroc eq1 Jo ,(doc e '9Zg SI '6{oq}ollqlqs}?}lsro^run'uuog sr uorldecxe oql'suor}rsrnbce p,,rerperu-1sod ueeq e^eq ol u.ry\ou{ äJe serJeJgrl ueurJeg ut ,uou oJe leq} sldr.rcsnueur 8um,r,t.rns zueg eql Jo euo lnq ilv 'leql oroJoq erurl eruos ro3 ,(ueurrec uI ueeq e^eq IIe^\ pFoc pue 'E(,gI ur SreqlspreH ruo.r; eruog o} uo{e} s{ooq oq} }s8uoule ere.,r (1961 pue V96I'lel 'led SSW) eueclle1 ecqolsody ecelor1qrg or{} ur nuv uory eqt pue uDts!.U eqJ 'ecJecs Jeqler sr se8y elpplru eql Suunp ,fuo1ure1 Surleeds-uerureg ur secueruo.r esord oql Jo slducsnueru qcueJd go ecuese.ld oql JoJ ecueprlg '(Z9t'g-SSt '0002 uesrepuy) slep ur relel ]erl.^Aeruos pue 'ser:1unoc Jeqlo ut uuql pelcrJlsoJ eJoru qcntu uooq e^Bq o] srueos secueuro.r eso.rd eql q lseretut sqt Jleslr Äueu.leg uI'GOZ : poraries as a cc':-' There are a n ,-. the authoritati', himself was nt-,: canon active r:^ Archdeacon ci r_ Walter himseli ;, written in the B:.:. .





Flintshirein 11: bishops witness ..son of the Emp:=. dealing with a S;:

political conneu-t. , translated \\-a 1t:: would not har e r; tradition in the C.




'peldeccu pue u.&\ou)I se.&\ se8en8u?l crllo3 or{} ur uor}rper} uellrJlr\ 3uo1 e Jo ecuelsxe eql s€ 'eygrsneldurr su pe^rocJed ueeq o^eq lou plno^\ Jleslr {ooq er{l Jo Ä;ezrocsrp eqJ 'ur}eT o}ur {ooq }uercuu s.Jelle 11 pe}elsueJ} oq leg} ur?lc srq o1 ,(1r1rqrpe"rc 1uel su6uo qslo (\ osoryy\ pue suorlceuuoc 1ucr1r1od pue Iucrlsurselcce Jo lrolqeu poo8 u pe,(oiue oq,l leloqcs eurnue8 e qlr^\ Surleep eroJereql ere e [ '§§I I q perp e^Bq o1 lqSnoqt sr eH 'Eplr]s141 sse.rdurg oql Jo uos t.ruell pue ueqdels 8u1;1 uee^\leq relsurqse a1 go ,$ee;1eql Sursseulun sdoqsrq er{} Jo euo se^\ €sI I q pue'ZSII ut pelercosuoc pue peurupro 'IgI I q erlqstulld ur qdesy ]S Jo lcolg doqsrg eperu s€zlt,(e.rgoeg .',e8en8uel qsrlrJg er{} ut uollrr.&\ {oog luercue ,(rel, e'ouo\stg er{} Jo ecJnos oql popr^oJd oq1| JlesIuII{ Jeue N seÄr 11 1eq1 ecugerd slq uI sur€lururu Äergoeg 'peepul 'pJoJxO Jo uoceepqcry te11e16 qlr^\ pelur€nbce pue'ISII pue 6ZII uee.rloq proJxo ut o^rlou uou€c ueruqsn8ny ue ,(lqeqord 'cue1c B sulrl eH 'sl€rluepeJc lnoqlr.u lou se1vr Jlosruq glnoluuol^l 3o ,(e"rgoec) '1srrg 'pelerqce ,(11crnb os 1r snlels e^rlslrroglnE egl peluer8 ser DUotstH eql qclq \ qlrrrr esee er{} JoJ suoseoJ Jo Jeqrunu € eJe eJeql 'e^r]?JJ?u I?crJolsrq e^rlelrJoglne pue Surculzr.uoc e se seuurod -ureluoc s.,(e.rgoeg Jo ]soru ,(g peldecce servr lr 1nq 'uorlclg e.rnd sr qlnoruuol l Jo ,(e;goeg,(q pyrozvt pelq8rfep pue Surlcedsnsun ue uo Sun"rds Ierroleru or{} Jo r{cntu l€ql esues eql ut trolsrq.leeJ, ]ou sr uorlrpeJl uerJnrluv eql Jo pu€Jls elcruoJgc eql 6spJupuels,(ep-1usserd,(g '$lJo^\ eseql ol JeJeJ o1pesn.(yuoururoc.selcruoJqc (-opnesd) uerrngilV ruJol oql ocuoq 'elrJuJJ€u eql elenlcund teqt scrJqnJ orurl eql o1 s>lueql lno,teg crlsrl€uue pe{Jeur e^eq osle ,{eq1 'uorssoccns crlseu,(p " snql 'uretr.rtr crUeC go ,fto1srq eql go urelled repr^\ e urqlr^\ rnr{uy Surceld go ,$errlue or{} Jo^oc serJo}sq-opnesd eql seeJer{^\ '1.rnoc s.JnqlJV qlr^\ pelceuuoc seoJer{ IeJe es Jo euo Jo seJnluelpe leuosred ori} uo sncoJ puu eJn}eu ur crposrde,(11ecrd,{l socueruoJ eq} :secueJeJJrp e^rleJJeu pue leJnlonJls snonqo uo poseq sr uorlcurlsrp sHI ,'(ggt t'r) aDluuotttg u.rn8ay ,tt.totstH s6rllnoruuotrAl go ,(ergoeg glr,l Aurleur8rro 'uorlrpeJl IecrJolsrq-opnesd e pue 'se,(or1 ep uerlgJq3 Jo sIJo ! eql eJB rlclrlltr go seldruexe uaou{-}seq eq} 'uor1rpu.rl.ecu€uroJ, B uoe&\}eq qsrn8urlsrp

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Moreover, the Historia is not pure fabrication. It draws from a range of sources, both oral and written, including all the historical sources available at the time, from the classics to the Historia Britonum and the works of Gildas and Bede. Even if we cannot accept the claim made by Geoffrey in his introduction that his putative source was 'attractively composed to form a consecutive and orderly narrative'(5), he certainly made extensive use of Welsh genealogies and king-lists (Piggott l94l). The stories relating to different kings and their parentage might well be due to Geoffrey's imagination, but the names at least were genuine, and their order of succession was roughly based on the authority of Welsh documents. In order to create the illusion of chronological coherence, Geoffrey punctuates his narrative with time rubrics which hint at the underlying indebtedness to an annalistic type of source and always refer to well-known events in world history. New and old material is interwoven; references to events and characters mentioned by recognized authorities indirectly validate the narrative of the lesser-known events happening at the same time in Britain. The material specific to Geoffrey, buttressed by this armature of respectability, is made more credible for a reader who finds the Historia to be in agreement, or at least not in contradiction with, established knowledge. By the time the truly dubious stories turn up - Vortigern's tower, Merlin's prophecies, the moving of the stones of Stonehenge from Ireland, and of course Arthur's conception, glorious conquests and mysterious end - the reader has already accepted the credentials of the Historia and is more likely to enjoy the stories than to question them.

Politically, the Historia conferred valuable prestige on the Plantagenet kings, who encouraged the acceptance and dissemination of the work; but this in itself cannot account for its extraordinary popular success. The key to an understanding of the enthusiastic reception of the Historia may be found in the opening lines of Geoffrey's prologue: Whenever I have chanced to think about the history of the kings of Britain, on those occasions when I have been turning over a great many such matters in my mind, it has seemed a remarkable thing to me that, apart from such mention of them as Gildas and Bede have each made in a brilliant book on the subject, I have not been able to discover anything at all on the kings who lived here before the Incarnation of Christ, or indeed about Arthur and all the others who followed on after the Incarnation. Yet the deeds of these men were such that they deserve to be praised for all time. What is more, these deeds were handed joyfully down in oral tradition, just as if they had been committed to writing, by many peoples who had only their memory to rely on. (5)


is clear t:-. -hopes to car c: . . .


circulating in E .. of Modena .'',:t a castle to i:;achievemellt ir acter of Arth "t: : king, presenr-. -l: active in re a ir s : maintains lar,, --... .



and ecclesiast i,


Arthur, on -. :Historia. Afte: . dominion o\ e: E, ,-,


Saxons) and

of the lives

,i. '.




once; the son , the ruling fan. are nO less ti;.: the Saxons re :-..: Britain by \ c:-:,:. his reign is r., Historia as ä 1,,, Arthur's rule is r;of the pontp .: stand out is tl ; f Essential t tr .: . Geoffrey firsr . the return to B:.:., he later proph-.. . = .




Arthur's birtir : access to the Ci.,::


surroundin,_q hts weakness, \\ i1, :. sense

in which


specifically'ur:.. rGeoffrey is here signalling a gap in the scholarly market, the existence of which is obvious because of the alleged existence of a reliable oral tradition. This lacuna is an injustice to the memory of the great departed, especially of Arthur. Walter, Archdeacon of Oxford, then opportunely comes along with his 'ancient book'.

with the genre. . tion of the Hi, whole might h.,"".


Jepun 'sleue8elueld eql JoJ olel,fueuorlnuc e se päpuolur ueeq erreq lq8rur elol{ \ e se {ro^\ eql teql lseSSns suorlurcosse yecrllod 8uo.r1s terTt iol.totsryI eq1 Jo uorl -elduroc eql eroJeq ,(e.rgoeg ,(q pelepcrrc pue uel]rJ^\ ueeq peq oe.ruo8 eql qlr.l^ pelercosse e1,(1s erncsqo pue crldrfuc eql uI'serceqdord esor{J 'Ot-OOt§§) Dt"totstH eql Jo IIA Ioog ur peprocor serceqdo.rd lecrlqod oql o1 p"re8e.r qtrm .(llecgrceds go .{1qrqer1e"r oq} ruJrJuoJ ,(lereur s}uouo^erqce s.Jnr{UV qcgr\\ uI osuos

',{ooq l[i: I -' :::' Buncsl

SItiI ' L:,-:r::;:

sI qcF{1!\ Jo


e sr eJeql 1nq 'srepeeJ Jelel s,.(ergoeg JoJ ol€qep Jo Jelleru e eq IIII!\ 'sseu4ue,lrt Ierluosso ue 'sseuleer8 s,;nquy ecuegue uorldecuoc srq Sutpunorrns secu?lsruncJrc esoql Joqlorlly|Ilu.r,\uJoJ Jo ssolunoS 'eureSa elseqc eql o] ssecJe uru8 o1 re{}O 1rrolle qcrr{^\ s8nrp Sur8uuqc-ecuuruedde q8no;ql rlurq s6rnqlrv s.reeur8us pue snrTernv Jo gleep eq] ]e Jnquv Jo ssoul€e:8 eql serseqdo.rd Je]€l eq :oq-o1-roqleJ srq pue olcun s.rnqlry teqtfl pue snrToJnv Jo uIelIJg ol urnler etll u;eSrgon o] secunouuB orllr\ plrqc-Jspuo^\ oql s? rultl socnpoJlur lsrg ,(ergoec) ,'urTrotr l ;o ern8g erll sr uorlcos u€rrnquv oql Jo Surpuelsrepun ue o1lerluossA dro18 peurlsepe.rd Jo ernu s,3u»1 oql sr lno puels ll se{€Iu ,(p.r1 1eq.,r lng 's}ue^e e}e}s ?urpunoJJns ;nopuelds pue durod oq1 Jo suorldrrcsep rlsl^el qlut 'epour crde Äylueuruope.rd e ut polunoceJ sr elnJ s(JnqlJV 'sselJnoloc ]eq/v\euos uees s3ur1 Surpeeccns 'uosuedruoc ,(q ieloqm e se D!,to\slH orll JO glxrs ouo ;err.o dn 3ur4e1 'ql8uel leuorldscxe 1B polunoce.r sr uSrer srq 'ßql ].eJ eqt ,(q pegeu8rs st ecuelrodrul s.rnr{Uv te,rerrrog 'u;e8q;on ,(q utellrg uI oDles 01 pä1v\olle e:e ,(eq1 luoluolu oql ruou luelsuoc sureuroJ suoxBs eql lsure8e e133n;1s eql lslq.^a ',(reqceerl s(poJpJoIN ueql e^rlcnJtsop ssol ou ore slceJle slr pue 'sprerrruo snurJco'I ruo{ eJn}eoJ }uoJJnceJ e sr ,(ptue; Euqnr eql urqlr^\ eguls i;o.redrue usruog e se./v\ ueleH ssecuud qsrlrJg er{} Jo uos eq1 lecuo otuog pe.renbuoc r(pee;1e e^sg snruueJtr puu snur1eg 'sJelnJ Jor{}o Jo so^r1 eq} Jo slunocce og] ur ]ueserd ore - (sueruog eqt) lnoqim,(ureue eql Sur,tep pue (suoxeg ue?ed eql sB IIe,&\ se so^r1€leJ snoJorlcueJl) urqlrn .(ureuo eql SurlsrseJ - u8re.r slq Jo seJnlBeJ luorlBs egl te^oeJoNqs118ug eqt o] sessed urc]rJg Je^o uoruruop eJoJeq sJelnJ e^le \l rer{}oue ,(q pepeeccns sr eq 'Zfg ul Weep srr{ re}JV 'ot"totstH eql ut pouorluoru poJpunq e Jo^o Suoure 3ur1 euo lsni sr '1eley euo uo tnqlry 'secueueq I?crls€rsolcce puu spuel selnqrJlsrp pue r{crnqC eq} slce}o.rd 'uqee.r stq ur repJo pue sur?lursru

^\el eH 'sorruoue elqeurluepr Surlq8rg pue s8urlles yecrqde;Soe8 crlsryuer ur elrlcu 'se1ep urupec Äq eurrl ur pexg t1seu.(p cgrceds e ot ?ur8uolog se peluese.ld '3ur1 1e^erpetu e olut peruroJsuerl sl oq sslel relndod;o oreq eq] urorg 'rnr{Uv Jo re}cu -Jeqc eql rog punorSlceq ,(1re1oqcs 'e,rr1u1uoqlne ue epu,ord 01 sr lueue^orqce s,qlnoruuol l ;o ,(ergoeg ,'(ere,r.eurng) ee3opr16 err.rlduc eql oe"r; o} ellsec e 3ur1ce11e ,(ytueredde slq8rul srq pu€ rnqlrv Surrnleeg '1u.rpeqlec €uepolN Jo llo^tqcJ€ uerJnrlpv u.4aou>l-lle,4a eql ssoulrl( 'eurrl eql 1u edorng ur Surlepc"rrc ere r rnqlrv selel e A 'uorluelt€ s.ecuerpns sq qcluc o1 sedoq lnoqe leq] ^\oDI ,(e;goeg qcgr\\ qlr&\ {oog eq1 qcnu ,(re,r. sr rnrluv 8ur; leqt ruolc sl }I s6

JI3I{1 ,(1uo P1'-, ISJO Ur



'. *


,(eqt leql q-.: s :-: eql IIE puE *: - --

eql uo IIU rrr i -t{c€o O^eq aF:E

.. -


:,ff::ili:r,, oql ur punoJ :; -Jepun ue 01 .,.: Jlssll ur srq] 111.. 's8u»1 leue8u





uorlsenb ol rrrrLieql peldecce ip' 'uorldecuoJ s. J:' Jo Eurnou eqt 'r ,(1n"r1 eql oluu : 1e Jo 'lueruaa:irsr {tUlqe}cads--:

er{J 'ule}lrg Lr, -eileu eql o]Ep1i: slueAe o] soJrr3,;. U.,!\OU{-113,\\ EurÄ1"repun





* -r-


go Ä1r"roqlnu aql



lseel le sotuELr :: ;te{} pue s8url ser8oleeue8



e^rJncesuoJ e LLi* -cnporlul srq ur i sep[O Jo s{Jtr r', le elqelre^s ssJr:' Jo eEuet E, LrroJ -





the guise of history. Arthur could then be read as a warning: even the greatest of kings will be unable to fulfil his destiny if he cannot count on the loyalty of his

kin. As a political fable, the Historia failed to have much impact, but it gained swift and almost universal acceptance as history.5 From the moment the Historiq was published, it became the definitive history of Celtic Britain. Moreover, it offered a fund of stories and anecdotes, fully crafted in elegant Latin and attractive to a wide audience. Above all, Geoffrey turned Arthur into a respectable historical personage, rather than a figment of the imagination of frivolous story-tellers. These elements combined to make the work an instant best-seller; over 200 manuscripts are still extant. IFLSI


In 1155, an outstanding French verse translation of Geoffrey's Historiawas completed by Wace, a Jersey-born cleric active in Caen, one of the most important intellectual and political centres of twelfth-century Normandy. Thought to have been born around 1100, Wace was already an experienced writer when he tackled Geoffrey's immensely popular work. He claims in his later Roman de Rou that he was the author of a wide range of poetic works, and from his earlier period we still have three hagiographical poems translated from the Latin.' La Vie de sainte Marguerite, La Vie de saint Nicolas and La Conception Nostre Dame; these early works chart the progress of a burgeoning career. Having completed his education, probably in Paris, but possibly in Chartres, the young Wace gained a reputation which won him the support, first of local religious establishments, then, for the Conception, of local secular patrons and, finally, for the Roman de Brut, of the greatest lord of Normandy, the King of England. The Brut was an immediate success, both as a scholarly endeavour - Wace's work was to become the French version of Geoffrey's Historia, eclipsing previous attempts at recasting the British material in French6 - and as literature, influencing amongst others Chr6tien de Tioyes. Henry II rewarded the poet with a prebend at the abbey of Bayeux, in Normandy, where Wace probably died some time after tt74.1 Some thirty-two manuscripts of Wace's

Brut are still extant, of which nineteen are complete or near-complete. In the two oldest manuscripts, both AngloNorman (the late twelfth-century Durham Cathedral, MS C. iv.27 and the early thirteenth-century Lincoln Cathedral, MS 104), the work is copied alongside Gaimar's Estoire des Engleis and Jordan Fantosme's Chronicle, providing the reader with an overview of the history of Britain from the earliest times; the poem was clearly read as history. Later manuscripts, however, and particularly

r L-

those protl

"- = -

romances. ir::. - -:

of fiction rt, it;: The tert c': ..- Wace'sfun.l -. .-: .




whilst addin S -: : the work 1\\'. i to have used : that he \\ isl- :

fiaffative. O', =: reign of Ar::. through the ,,-'.r- : . ation su._q.*qeS,S . -.

(I do not Y, :. sometltiri g ,


Even a sliglii :r- tive) materia. .

Brut as a u h,: .: The pasS.l --; Welsh, u,hici =French u,as

r. - .

was addressitexpected



to r;-

: :.,

cedure of ir: adaptations

: -

the French \;:r- find an expl ; .: ensuring thui -- ' way that his . .: persOna he Cr;-: :

his knowledg; almost becor -; :


ably trivial




eql Jo ,(1rroq1ne eql leql llnser egl qll.e\ oelnl€u uI I€cluqcel ro 1era,rr1 Ä1qe -rJelur sr 6u^\ouI lou, uolleruJoJul oq] tene,loll 'urslJeuu€ur B seruosoq lsoruls

11}€q] ,(11uenbe.Ig os sJncco (uouY 1ou op 1) 6les eu, uorsserdxe eq1 'e8pelmou{ sq Jo slrurrT eril lnoq€ prpuec ,(13ur.reepue pue .(1.re1oqcs qloq sI soleerc eq euosred e^rleJJuu oql 'pezruo.r1ed,(ynpun IeeJ lou plno.^A ecuolpne pepuelur srq leql.&.u e r{cns ur lnq 'poolsrepun oJo,&\ secueJe3er ,(lereltl Jo IeJn}lnc ,(ue lur{1 Suunsue '>po,r slg Jo lurll pue ,(1uoq1ne u.,r\o slg t{loQ Sunu.lUJE Jo ,(uivr }tct1dxo uB pug ol peq 'eJoJeJerll 'ecep1 sJeuels{ Jo sJepeeJ Kel w perure JelnceuJe^ I{cueJd eq} ur {Jo \ € JoJ elqu}Ins }ou set\ uoISJe^ }uBIJeA er{} Jo JolcepeJ eqt .(q suorleldepe eruos qlrl\ peuruleJ pue Äerggoeg ,(q peldope uol]€plle^ llcrldulr Jo ernpec -ord eq1 'serlrJoqln€ ur1e1 Jo seogce Jo 'o1 secueJoJeJ ezruSocer o1 pelcedxe oq 1ou plnoc fi1es;eq eutelmby Jo roueolg 'pe,reqeg eq ol sI uoueÄe1 lsod qsl8ug eql JI 'pu€ '1rnoc 1eue8e1ue16 egl Jo sroqureu ,(e1 eqt) Sulsserppe sen ecely[ ecuerpne eq] 1eloe.lotr41 '8uru.ree1 Jo runrpeu e se pe^recJed ]ou se1r\ qcuoJc 'uorlrperl uellrrl\ 3uo1 e qlr,t e8un8u€l e Jo .(1r.roq1ne eql pe.(o[ue qcFll( 'qsle \. e{[un 'sruelqord cgrceds 8ur.rq peepul prp qcuorg o] ulte'I ruorg e8ussed eqJ 'eloq^\ e se lnt{ eqt Jo Älgrqrpe.rc eqt pue reloqcs e se Sutpuels sq ezlpredoellq8tur ler"reluru (ent1 -rsuas,{llecrfgod pue) oJncsqo,{lsnouolou sII{l Jo uotlulerdreJulsru 1q311s e ue,,rg ros o1

qxutou pruo^ r ltt tatdtarur ol iloq i4o*t


(ZV-etSD'erärrrp olurnc lsng eu rs en§ oroJpln^ ueu oJIp ueIJ OlnN

=,#;ä'iniä:i"#:R :lxe1 srq;o fiuoqlne erl] glllr,r selr\ uJocuoc uleru sr{ }eq} s}se88ns uoI}B -ueydxe€7vyserceqdord eql Surureluoc {ooq oJllue oq} Jo uoISSIuro eql q8no.lql 'pecnper ,(lqe.reprsuoc sr 'q8noql 'ut1.retr41 3o ecuepodwl eql 'JntlUY 3o u8le.l oql 01 polo^ep eru'999'y1Jo I€tot e Jo lno 'seuq ctgugÄso]oo 000', re^O 'e^IleJJeu s,,(srgoegr Jo lsoJ eql uegl luolxe rsleerS mJ e ol ser;rldure eq qclglrr 'suotlcos uerJnglJv eq1 ur elqrssod se uolleruroJul gcnru sB opnlcul 01 poqsll\ eq leql slseSSns sq1 ilxel.re11ng 'urrro q,(ergoegr pue uoISJo^ luelre1 eql qiog pesn o^?q 01 s.reedde ece11'uqrel I Jo selceqdord eql.relgy '(nxq-l'886I upe 1qEt.t16) {rozlr eII} o] euo] I€Joru pue lecrEo8eped erour e Sunnpo.rlul pue sllelep,treg e Sutppe lxel eql seler^erqqe Äpq811s qc5llt\ 'ot.tolsrg s,,(ergoeg go 8ut1u,le; snoru,(uoue ue o,uorsJoÄ eql uo peseq sr 'urpe141 go serceqdord eql o1 dn 'rueod stq luerJ€A, '.le1ndod pue ,(1;eloqcs qloq 'aSpeyrrou)l le.reue? Jo punJ s6oceÄ\ 3o ged lsrg erlJ ruo{ suorlrppe qlr^\ DltolslH eq} Jo suorsJe^ o1!\} sourquoc lntg eI{} Jo lxel 0rll '{ro^\ pcrro}sq luepuedepur ue uerl} JogleJ uorlcrJ Jo {Joa € w peoJ sB.&\ }r plJol!\ uerrrJoN-ol8uv eq} puoÄeq ler{} Eurlecrpur 'secueulo.r u€rJnglJv qlrlrl. rutg eql eurquoc o1 puol '1ueur1uo3 oI{} uo pecnpord esoql

,(1;elncruud F,::,' eq] lseurt tsl. * oq] Eulpl \rr-rc, ' l eprs8uolu p:r.: rllme eq] plrr,' _:

-o1Euy qtoq


'{ -

ueeleuru rlJiLi \'


Jeue eI.Ul] :tli,_-,! eql le pueqsr;. : lsEuoue Sunli:*

te sldruattu s:'


etUOOeq 01 Stl i,. ,;

u€ se.&\ :Lil_ ap uotuour aql j,._ 'slueulqsrlqEls: s peuru8 oJ€A ,-ill: peleldruoc 3ur '.r' iaumg ofiso^\- ;t atA 07 :uIwll,:1. JerlJee sFI nror noY ap uDLuoY i; oq u3r{A\ r0}rr \\ I

o1 1{Enoq1 '(pu. -podurl lsolu eL;.

se^\ ouolstH s..,;

002 rolo l;e1i:s-'sJelle]-Ärols sn.\' IecrJolsF{ o[qE ].1:. e o] s^rlc€J]}e pL:, peJeJJo

]l ta roe-r,:

s€,ry\ Ot,tolstH eLIl UI^\s peure8 tr tn_

slq Jo ,(tle,(o1 3L; Jo lseleerS eq] rr;"






narrator is actually enhanced. Where scholarly detail is provided, one notices a principle of pedagogical inclusiveness at work. For example, his frequent, lengthy discussions of linguistic change and its effect on place-names show off his knowledge, but they also create a link with the everyday experience of members of his audience, who would have been well aware of problems of language 'corruption' in an already multi-cultural country. Greater stress is also placed on events relating to religious history. For example, Wace introduces an entirely new story about Taliesin, who is mentioned only fleetingly in Geoffrey's Historia, though he is one of the main protagonists of Geoffrey's later Vita Merlini. Wace turns Taliesin into a British Isaiah, prophesying the birth of Christ and responsible for the British responsiveness to the good news of the Gospel. This added vignette is also good story-telling, designed to entertain under the guise of instruction. Wace's readiness to add details and anecdotes to make his work more accessible to the general reader or listener gains momentum in the poem, reaching a climax in the Arthurian section. Wace's most striking addition is the mention of the Round Table, borrowed directly from popular oral tales:












T€COlttlt t ti




Wace dt;: . them credib.. Round Tab'l- : the forceflil ;. * .

fainöant (, r-against Rort:; Kay (Keit. B:* -

stature \\-a c; ; : Geoffret' oi l', I followirg th; P virtues of pe -: - :


Pur les nobles baruns qu'il out, Dunt chescuns mieldre estre quidout, Chescuns se teneit al meillur, Ne nuls n'en saveit le peiuq



rabte (e7

47 -52)

(Because of his noble barons, each of whom thought himself superior to the others, each of whom considered himself the best, without anyone knowing who was the worst, Arthur made the Round Table, about which the Bretons tell many a tale.)

The point of this, says Wace, was that it put an end to quarrels arising from seating precedence, as the table had no high or low end. The creation of the Round Table is even given a date: it took place when Arthur returned to England after conquering Scotland and Scandinavia and settled down to a glorious peace that was to last twelve years (9730). The stories circulating about Arthur and his knights are presented as a record, albeit imperfect, of this protracted period of peace: En cele grant pais ke jo di, Ne sai si vus l'avez o\, Furent les merveilles pruvees E, les aventures truvees Ki d'Arthur sunt tant recuntees Ke a fable sunt aturnees: Ne tut mengunge, ne tut veir,

Ne tut folie ne tut saveir. Tant unt li cunteür cuntö E li fableür tant flablö Pur lur cuntes enbeleter, Que tut unt fait fable sembler. (9787-98)

(It is good able to irtri:, -'. perfontt k r: -'

This little Sp-;acts as a cor:arole of coun.'" -. * succumb to



the mention .,- : of events of t:-.; . .

and battle


SCit. - -

luxury of st.r:; courtly poet. T . and victor o\ ;: British soil anc .

elaborated t tr

.: . ."

furtherthepc-.:.-that Wace \\ s :. handlirg of t:.; Lt.


eql suo>lBe^r ,(l.repurrs ere^eulnc pue perprol tr Jo sJolcsreqc egl Jo Euqpueq s.ecuÄ\ '{oollno ut Ie}ueulluoc oJo{u e^I}eJJ?u eq} e{eru ol8ur,ft} sel\ ece71[ leq] uorlecrpul ue se,( '1erJe1etu s,,(e:goeO) ol lueJJncJopun IBcllllod oqt requnJ euruJepun ol eJrsep e se pele.rfuelul eq ,(eur srq; 'luelxe leor8 ,{ue o} pe}eJoqele lou or€ Jnquv p3qlnoÄ eql Jo re,uod Jo uollepflosuoc Eutnsue eq] pue IIos qsI]IJg uo uorle^Jose.rd-g1es ro; e18Enr1s eq1 ieruog Jo snlcnT ;oredruE Je^o Jolcl^ pue ecu?rC go ro.renbuoc eql s€,l\ ecely\ pertdsut lsoru


rnquv eq;

'1eod ,(1}rnoc

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:3J 1': ,:

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]sBI O] SE.\\ 11':

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punoY 2lll .ti'''. Luolltt

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k t-




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sgrdure sred


e1 1se


:ocueruoJ.(ue ur eceld go lno eq ]ou p1nolrr leq1 surJol ur'eceed Jo senlJl^ orli JoJ oleco^pe ue opslu sI uIeAneD tnquy ol lunlelullln u€Iuou eq18ur,r,ro1oJ 'ge,luro3 Jo rope3 qtl^\ eEu€qcxe polreoq-l{8q e uI 'q}noruuol tr Jo ,(e.lgoe5l ur pedrelunoc srq ueql eJnleu Jellue8 letl^\eiuos e qlIA\ s^\opue eJe7y\ eJnl€1s croreg esoglr\'(ure,l1e16) uru^nuD .(ylercedsa pue (.reopeg),rrpeg '(1e;) Äe; sB qcns sJelc€Juqc uBrJnqlJV lueururo;d punor8erog o] ece N s,lrofl€ eruo5 lsute?e u8redurec s.rnquv Jo ]unocce eql '.peepul 'ecuetuoJ 1o (?utq qnau) ,lve?rneJ ror, ,ivropeqs lerl,&leruos eql puB ,.(ro1stq, go ro;enbuoc ctle8reue puB InJocJoJ eql uee.&\leq lserluoc og] sezqeuotler eceed go porred e Suunp eceld lool elqel punog eql Jo soJnlue^ps orll lBrll }c€J etlJ 'elull uI Iueql sroqcu€ pu€ ,(lqlqtperc uleql eq :Jlesurq rnqlrv roJ plp Äergoeg tel!\\ sel€t uelrnquv roJ seop ece a1

po,ry\oJJoq '31q,_'I 'L:,-

SuteE JeuOlSrl


pue slre]ep pp,' peuErsep '3ulll:eql o] ssous \rs:: -qdord 'qeles I :, Jo slsruo8utor; ,(1uo peuorlu3LL: 'elduruxo JoJ 'i*,



taql qsllpqwa ol stdwatru

ilaqt u! 'uo!rua^m atnd ary1 waas Smqtin^a apou.t ad.nq [aqt ruql 'salqot [uout os patunüat a,roq suto,t lo uauulds aqt 'safq tu?ru os ppt a^oll sn11a7-tto7s aqJ 'utopst^r 11tt tou t11ot lp Dqllau 'anq lft rcu 'sall ilD tou :saft otm paufit uaaq a^Dq tary toql tua$a aql ot 'ffiquv fioE) plot ualp os an wtll pacuauadxa aDil satruua^pD aqt puo pailn»o stua^a snotpuon aql to ptoaq ad,oq not tt ^tou4 tou op I -pauouuaw a^Dq I acoad Toat8 to aury slry u1 sou 11) wry -


.uotldnJJoJ. :F,':sFI Jo sJoqlusrl: -^\oDI Srrl Jo \.,,,Qt8ue[ ']uen b:*.E, SoCIIOU








political dimension of their treason, motivating Mordred's usurpation of Arthur's bed and throne by a long-standing secret love harboured for the queen (11179-89), rather than by the lust for power implied by Geoffrey of Monmouth's account. More so than in the Historia, there is a distance between the narrator of the Brut and his material, which is seen most clearly in the aside relating to Arthur's death: Arthur,

si la geste ne ment Fud el cors nafrez mortelment; En Avalon se fist porter Pur ses plaies mediciner. Encore i est, Bretun l'atendent, Si cum il dient e entendent

De la vendra, encor puet vivre.

Maistre Wace, ki fist cest livre, Ne volt plus dire de sa fin Qu'en dist li prophetes Merlin; Merlin dist d'Artur, si ot dreit, Que sa mort dutuse serreit. Li prophetes dist veritö; Tirt tens en ad l'um puis dut6, E dutera, 9o crei, tut dis, Se il est morz u il est vis. (13275-90)

(If the story is true, Arthur received a mortal wound to hß body. He had himself carried to Avalon to have his wounds tended. He is still there, the British are waitingfor him; they say and believe that he will return from there, he may still be alive. Master Wace, who made this book, will not say any more about his end than did the prophet Merlin. Merlin said about Arthur, and he was right, that his death would be doubtful. The prophet spoke truly: it has been doubted ever since, and people, I believe, will be forever uncertain whether he is dead or alive.) There is little doubt that this passage is meant to be humorous, poking fun both oBretun'and at the foolish the opaqueness of Merlin's prophecies. This superior attitude gives way to open contempt for the Welsh descendants of the ancient British in the closing lines of the poem, where the narrator states: Tuit sunt mu6 e tuit changi6 Tirit sunt divers e forsligni6 De noblesce, d'onur, de murs E de la vie as anceisurs. (14851-54) (They have completely changed and altered, they are totally dffirent and have degeneratedfrom the nobility, the honour, the customs and the lde of their ancestors.)

(I went tltr,', findtltern.





The world c't' : untrustu.orri.'. : believe in thc l ;

condemnätirr - core of hiSt tr r. - .. fabulous asp--: -


Whilst nru.:.:. of the later .\:: respects: (i) .,.. -, * and the Rol::. * form; (ii) his ' -


and expansitrt.: writers. The E genre. [FLS]

In view of ti



composed be:,-: referred to es : many. The inr: ishes as time S . texts, inspireti ;.. : in a dry, ann.: -:: or even to the _i' fied by Wace .,: .

The Verse Brut T The verse Brt,: : -and early thirr.-:have been eCi r; * tr

Whereas Geoffrey was writing his Historia from the assumed perspective of an insider, wace clearly approaches his subject-matter from the outside, and with an

amused distance. This attitude is particularly evident in Wace's later Roman de Rou, a verse history of the dukes of Normandy, in which he mentions the disappointment he felt after avisit to the famed forest of Broc6liande in Brittany:


the survivirg r:, .. ßruts, the sur\ t', .r-


6sJoqlne or{} Jo eopr poo8 € 0^I3 o} q8noue e8Jel eJe suor}Jod Suu.r,trns eqt,srutg ,(e1;eg puu pÄo11 eql 'sosec oArl ls€el 1u ur ',{relueur8e.lg eJ" slxol Bur,rn;ns eq] ge qEnoqtyV ;(VAg lurrg-ueruuq) peqr"rcsu€rl tseel ]B ro polrpe ueeq eler{ qclq \ Jo e^u 'pea.llrns o^3rl ol u1(ou{ eJ€ slxe} xs 'serJn}uec qluooulr{1 ,(Fee pue qlJle ,u elel oql Jo s>lJo \ go dno-13 fieurs e Jo s]srsuoc uorlrpeJ] rutg osßL er11-


rrl,{8r asJa^


'serre.rodrueluoc sq Jo oce fq peg 11 -rd,(1uor1ype;11ecrqde;8ouo1srq eql ol ueqt apruotqS uoxog-o17uy eql quolo ro sJelcruoJqc crlsBuoru eql o1 eJoru e,/v\o o1 Suueedde puB e1,(1s crlsrleuue ,,ftp e ur uellrJ.&\ 'suorsJe^ esord re1e1 oql pue 'ot.tolstg s,,(e;goef) Äq ,(11ce.rrp perrdsul ,s1xe1 lntg asßL r(lree eql ueo1!\]og ecuoJoJJrp lcurlsrp 3 sr oJorlJ 'uo sooE erurl s? soqsr -uprlp 11le.reueE ur qSnoql 'so8uuqc urry ol elnqrJll€,(eql ecuulrodur eq1 ,(ueru Suoure 3uq euo se rnrllJv luese.rd ßeq1'rutg s.oc?1y[ elI-I.vnq sB 01 peJJeJer ,{11ereue8 oslu ere serJn}uec glueeunoJ eql pu? g}Jlolu og} ueet\loq pesoduroc urelrJg Jo serJolsq JelnceuJo^ nrqlo ' s.ecBÄ\ go ,(luepdod eqt Jo 1r\or^ uI



eql uI rnqlrY

:,(uul1uB -desrp oq] rr . ap uDLLtoY J:t: ue qll.,!\ pur? ':1. ue Jo o,\rlJ3i:*: tuo,{ palt)t

S x-r





luercus Oql JC, : rorredns slql s: qloq unJ 3ulti.'r .tala palQtlr)ft



'looq s!q1 apr:.,

[St.{]'aruo? eql rog Ä eqt pezrud ]1 lnq 'ecueruoJ uerJnr{}Jv ue }ou sr ruq eql.sJe}rJ,4a ^\eu oJnlnJ ro3 e1u1duel e pepr^ord sepour f,1}rnoc pue crde eql ur suorsuedxe pue suorldrrcsep .(1eurq srq (rrr) isea,rlu.rreu xeldruoc pue ,(ql8ue1 .rog leldnoc crqe11,(s -olco eql Jo sseuelerJdoldde eql pelBJlsuoluop scrleod pe1;urc-11e.t\ srq (rr) lru"roS uellrJ^\ ul Eu»pome; .ftere1r1 01 Jloslr luol IerJeleru slql ,elqeJ punog eql pue Jnrllrv Jo serrols 01 rllnJl Jo leureI u Jo uorlnqrJlle sq Jo llnsor e se (r) :slcedse.r ursru eeJql ul ruFI ol pelqepul eq III^\ qcF{1Y\ ,secueuloJ ueunquv rol3l eq} Jo rosrncerd E sr rutg s(ecBd\ trolsrq sSuldderl er{l Sulurelureu lsurl^\ .snorJos, 3o ,se1e1 '1eod eql,(g ol psqrrcsqns or{} Jo slcedse snolnquJ IUls sr eroru eql pue 'secueuloJ u€rrnquv Jo ilueq oq] }e serl ]eq] qlnr] Iecrro]sq Jo eroc eql uee \109 tntg eql uI uorlcurlslp erlJ 'lerrel?Iu usrrnrluv Jo uo4€uruopuoc le{uelq e qll^t Surpep }ou oJ? e.,n iepueqgcoJg ur saV{ p ocueserd oql ur e^o[eq 01 sseurpseJ srr{ ur serl ,,(11o;, s(oc? \ 1eq1 ,(qporll,elou sr }l lng ,(quorvrlsn.rtun puz u8re;og qloq Sureq sB perJrluepr ,{prrrg sr ecueruoJ uo}oJg Jo plJo.& oqI tou ptp

I nq's1arnru rclpa'oot l

:puDr aqt



@AL1til 'pp I IoJ'cuu,ol ue,ur 1og 'r€^oJl seu sreru'srnb sellra JoIAI 'grJotr el I^ o lsoJoJ el r^ 'er.renb sellre reru


puo {ns ,iat1J

ol palLtD)



S,JnqUV of 6uitreql Jo JolurrEu ; 'IUnOCCE S.LII:

'(68-6 Lrrl ) ue:: s,Jnquv Jo uorlr

olrele e1



,r.'iiiiitiE ..,irtiä i ,::i:

: :tj,t

.,,,' i ,.-. ',.i








t ,,,,



intentions. The tradition divides naturally into two branches according to prosodic form; the majority are in the standard narrative form of octosyllabic couplets, but two are in the less usual, though not unique, form of monorhymed Alexandrine laisses. The Royal Brut consists of 6,237 lines in octosyllabic couplets and translates approximately one third of the text of Geoffrey's Historia, from just after the beginning up to the conception of Arthur. In BL, MS Royal 13. A. xxi (late thirteenth-century) the Royal Brut, composed in the twelfth century, replaces the beginning of Wace's Brut (Damian-Grint 1996). Also written in octosyllabic couplets is the 254-line Harley Fragment, which has been considered as a fragment of the same version as the Royal Brut . But there is no overlap of material and the evidence is insufficient, although it is not impossible from a stylistic and linguistic point of view.10 The Royal Brut, naturally enough, does not refer to Arthur at all; references to Arthur within the Harley Fragment derive very closely from the Vulgate text of Geoffrey's Historia (Damian-Grint 1994,91). Also in octosyllabic couplets is the Munich Brut, which, unlike all the other verse Brut texts, is of continental origin:11 it appears to have been composed in or near Flanders in the early thirteenth century, and thus within the flourishing vernacular historiographical tradition which also produced several versions of the Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle (see Spiegel 1993). Some 4,180 lines of this text survive in a single manuscript, Munich, Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Codex Gallicus 29,but only the early part of Geoffrey's Historia is translated, and again

Arthur does not appear.lz A separate branch of the same tradition is represented by the Harley Brut, which consists of five fragments totalling 3,359 lines in Alexandrine monorhymed laisses. The five portions of the text cover just over a quarter of Geoffrey's Historia, translating with some gaps from the death of King Lucius up to Arthur's campaign against (coincidentally) the Emperor Lucius. One section of the text, the prophecies of Merlin, is also to be found in two other manuscripts, where it is interpolated into copies of Wace's Brut at the point at which Wace himself declares that he will not translate the prophecies from Geoffrey.l3 It has been suggested that the text was composed by Claraton, an English writer known to have translated Geoffrey into French verse, but there is no compelling evidence why it should be this text which should be attributed to him, rather than any of the others, or indeed some other text which has not survived (DamianGrint 1999a,634). The 136-line Bekker Fragment, which describes the moving of the Giants'Dance to Britain by Merlin, is also in Alexandrine laisses; it is very close stylistically to the Harley Brut, even to the extent of sharing a number of lines, but the precise nature of the relationship is unclear. The Harley poet's choice of prosodic form is intriguing. Although AngloNorman literature of the period is notable for its extremely wide variation in verse

form (ranuir.: : and fronr crr -..'


couplet is titt -: narrative t-o rt-, :




Alexandrine .rearly Sectirrn > generalll be-t

.: Arthurin:;:constraint s a,:


Brut version . Latin, consic;. ' and general .: .":rshows slight '. . ' .


Aurelius anc L -cation in des.: .

*-. All the ter:: half of the l'.' ; .Franca, z lon:

hard to inräS.: appearance i,: moment of i.: :- - ambitious Ir:-, : -' Geoffrey's L.r .. sons), the ctr: . ; ',r', same len,_ut it -- ) regarded in .11,' : version of Ge,--. -The reastrlr:

Geoffrey's IJ however, the i --, -. '

wouldexpect:-'" general agreen.;. ards. In his ec.:

journeyman in - ' vigorous and c. - however, the t,, -

dictated the




peurÄqJouour o^er{ o^\ sy 'rutg ,(epeg er{l Jo eleg ,fue-le1rl oql pete}crp e^eq osls ,(eru uuog Jo eoror{c eqJ 'ocel(\ q}r.r\ uosrJ€duroc € looJrp oo} ruoU 1r e €s ,(uru uuog crposord luoJeJlrp ,(1e1e1duoc e sosn ]l leql loBJ erl] te,te,troq i(Vg 'e666t turJg-uerrueq) teod lueledruoc e ,(q ,ryolr o^rlcoJJe pue sno.ro8rl e, s lntg ,(epeg eql 'pusg Jor{}o oti} uO '.eced\ qlr^\ uosrJ€duroc ur ueurr(ou:nol e, Jo {ro^&r eq} sr }l }Br{} (^rx) se}e}s IIeg '7ru9 le/,oa eq} Jo uor}rpe sq uI 'spre -puels s.ece \ ol dn seJnseelu slxel crgell,(so1co orll Jo euou leql luaureer8e ye.leue8 sI eJegl'pourecuoc e"re sureod or{} Jo serlgunb,ftu;e1q eql se J€J sV 'enlu^ polprll 3o ,(1prn1eu s ouuafs ra 1ueurn8.r€ ue pue 'uorlerurogur qcns puu o] lcedxe pFoly\ euo eJorl.& 'senSoyde pue sen?o1ord rreql Sulssrur ile eJe slueur8erg oql to^e,laor{ ieSeuo:1ud luecrgruSrs p€q oABr{ o} u.&\ou{ sr eced[ ß1uo 'o1,ro7st11 s,,(erggoeg Jo sJolelsuerl .(rnluec-{lJ{e.lrr1 eq} IIe JO 'snorrul ore srq} JoJ suoseor eql ,fun1uec qlueelrrq] eq] olur lem peldoc,{yrelnEer Suleq p1s ,(e"lgoog Jo uorsrel JslncuuJol,(po eql s€M rlcrq.,\r'1xe1 s,ece11o] sl€^rJ se esues 1eer,(ue ur pepreSe.l eq louuec ,(eq} 'suorsuele;d .to 'suotluelur .sJoqlne Jreq] Jeleleqzvr 'sse1eq1rea.e51 '3uo1 seurl 000'0I tseel te Tntg ßepepl eqt pu€'rn"tg s,ecellyse q13ue1 eures

eql lnoqe'seuq 669'9I ]sourp ueeq e^€g plnoc 1eßoa elelduroc oql'(suos -uedruoc go lseq8no; eq1,tyuo,(yuesseceu) tozroc,( ur1e1 s,r(e.rgoeg go uorpodord eq] ol uorleleJ ur ezrs Jroql uro{ Sur8pnl :slcelord snorlrqwu go e8e1ce.r.lrr er{} oq o} reedde slxel lse8uol eerql eqJ 'uor]€crTQnd s1r Jo ]uoruou eql uro4 ,{lrrepdod snoruJoue pe,(oiue qcHr!\ '1.lo,nr s,,(ergoeg go ecuereedde eql Sur^\oflog,(lelerpeururr s.ree.( oql ut,(1r,rr1ce Ärerelq go ,ft"lng e eur8urur o] pJerl lou sI ll oq] Jo s;eeÄ ,(1:ee eql .{lqrssod ro ,(rnluec qUIe,,\A} oq} Jo JIeq puoces 0q1 ruo4 o1ep uorlrpen rutg esro^ ueruro5l-oy?uy er{} Jo slxe} eqt ilV 'JnouJefl 1e uoryrrud slq Jo uorlducsep ?uo1e 'ecuB.rg ur se^rJJe JnqUV ueq,,t" 'seprzrord pue u8ruduruc uJoqgou srq JolJe uoolJoeC ur Suuesm-u.rrroJc s,Jnr{}JV uo seleJoq€le oH 'oJII unoc Jo suorlducsep ur uor}Ec -U{dure go ee;8ep ureiloc e Jlesurq Sultroge Jo }ue}xe eq} o} toqln pue snrlerny snrsorqruv Jo esoql ur ueql rnqtJv 3o ern8rJ eql uI ]soJolul e"rour.{11q3rls s1y\oils Jor{lne eq} }3r{} polou eq ,(eru 11 'seSueqc ,r\oJ rl}r.4A eror{ pocnpo.rde.r sr le.reue8 pue 8ur4-rorr;e,l qz(e"rgoeg pue '(1er.le1eru oq] go ,(lrxsldruoc eql Suueprsuoc ,ur1e1 eq1 o1 InJqllBJ ,(lqeqordur lsourl" sr urTretr l 3o serceqdord eql Jo uoßß^ rutg ,(e1.reg oql) -(lesolc ,(1qe4"reue.r selelsueJ] roqlnu er{t 6er}eru eq} Jo slurertsuoc eql ue^rD z(ergoeg ur sreedde eq se,(11cexe s;eedde rytg ßepe11eq}uI JnqlJV 'ru-rog crde.(lelereqryep e su pep"reSor ueoq,(ypreue8 setl ]l eJeq.&\ 'at1cot1uV,p a.4otsg eq] pue noü ap uou,toü s.eceÄ\ go suorlces ,(pee eql 's1ro.r.t.1ecrqde;Sorrolsrq Jeqlo o1(l q punoJ s assrul peru.(q.rouoru eurJpuexelv eqJ 'uollclJ-uou se se^lesuoq] lueserd qclg r osonrl oslules su qcns 'sur.ro3 e^rleJJeu Jeqlo puB,(qde"r3or-rolslq Jo sJor{}ne 3o.{lrroleur eql roJ ruJoJ uesoqc eq} sr leldnoc crqeg,(so1co eql '(sourl Jo sporpunq serurloruos Jo sassrul o1 sleldnoc tuo'r; pu€ 'seuq olqell,(s-ueegnog o1 se1qe11,(sexoq s.uoBrll ep eddqrqd urou Sur8uer) uuog


ul uoljT,';*,-o18uy qinrr -. -


Jo Jequrnu E i ,. Ären sI ]I :re! i. '' Eurnour oqt s:i -u€Iulec) p: .':'ue{} JeqlBrLl: . EuqledruoJ


relIJlY\ qsr18u3


: .

1I e r,(elgoeD ::: qCIqA\ ]e lrlltrü -nueIu J3qlo '--'


Jo relrenb E *: eurrpuexel\- :: 'tnt{ Ae1-reg :urc?e puu'p--1,--

xepo3 '{ori ltr i . }xe} sF{l lo s::: :



\ Iri;

Eurqsunol+ arlJo uI pesodtut-r I r0rllo 0q] :I IIU ' '( Ic Ä1eso1cÄ;err\i*; o1 JeJeJ ]OLr S:


cr1sr1Ä1s rr



Ierraletrl Jo dr:1:= -?e4 e sE per::: crqe11,(so]3o eql secelda.r

I 'i: Li

-rlr{} e}BI) Ix\ \ eql JeUe 1s1t I r.: se]?lsueü puE s peulr(qJouotu l,--, ctqegÄsolJo Itr ol EurptoJJE s;





Alexandrine laisses were used in other works of historiography of the period, but it was not a common nor, apparently, a popular form (the Estoire d'Antioche is preserved in only two manuscripts and no medieval manuscripts of the Alexandrine sections of the Roman de Rou survive).ra No less important is the portrayal of characters, especially Arthur. Wace's Arthur is a courtly figure, while the Arthur of the Harley Brut and the Harley Fragment is essentially Geoffrey's Arthur, a very different king; little effort is made to produce an Arthur closer in character to the figure of Arthurian romance. While it can be argued that this is simply the result of a lack of imagination on the part of the Brut poets, it seems more likely that it was a matter of deliberate choice. All the authors of the verce Bruts present their texts as estoires, works of historiography and not fiction, making heavy use of historiographical terminology and consistently stating that their texts are trustworthy because they are translations of authoritative Latin sources. In keeping with their general strategy of translation, in which close, even literal, word-for-word translation is the norm (Damian-Grint 1999b), their presentation of Arthur as military leader, rather than courtly king, corresponds closely to that of Geoffrey's original, with only minor variations (Damian-Grint 1994, 3534). But this dry, 'historical' Arthur does not seem to have been what their audiences wanted. The Prose Brut Tradition The traditio n of Brut texts in prose is considerably more complex than that of the verse works. The very first version, produced around 1300, used a variety of sources, probably including both the verce Brut tradition and Geffrei Gaimar's Estoire des Engleis.lsImmensely popular, the Brut text was added to, abbreviated

and adapted, the different versions surviving in more than fifty manuscripts. A complete history of the prose Brut tradition, and even of the different versions and the relationships between them, remains to be written. Some of the prose Brut texts were commissioned by important patrons - the Petit Bruit is dedicated to Henry de Lacy, one of the most eminent barons of Edward I's reign - but they cannot be considered as 'courtly'works. Their style is often dry and annalistic, their construction schematic and their grasp of chronology sometimes unsure. They are presented as the history not of Britain but of England; some versions start with the division of England into five kingdoms and the reign of King Egbert, and attention is frequently concentrated on post-Conquest and even contempofary history. No longer the outstanding figure of British history, Arthur, when he appears at all, is not even the primus inter pares; he is overshadowed by such kings as Havelock, Edgar and Edward the Confessor. From here to the somewhat inadequate Arthur of Middle English tradition, the Arthur of The Avowing of King Arthur ot The Awntyrs off Arthur,is a short step.

Gaul, as dt-r;: .. : is still a loc.. . tantly, perh,-i1.. ' chevalerous J.; : genterie qi ei. -spoke oJ ltt' ' Some prose rB' . : by name. bu: . - : and chir alrr ." ' Arthur is 'tirr -.' thus takes h.s r .all the other :; - : " prose ßrut t: : ., portrait. tpnc

ical statemeit .


the writing ü: : chronicles an.

" "

askeystoan -..-in that pasr. .- Monmouth's *:COnCernS abc-.





The politrc -, work were te:.>: : Prophe cies






He had desiSl-: : -

his lifetime

it , ..

Stephen. So



preted as a \\ .::t, l (Tolhurst 1 99: ) all of them caf -: ^ of giving supp,,-,

onGeoffre)s.:work it would :.

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throne of Elizabeth I, for whom these strong female rulers would have offered both models and precedents. On a different level, relations with France were problematic. As Duke of Normandy, the King of England was technically a vassal of the King of France. A history in which kings of Britain repeatedly defeat the French with insulting ease would have been useful propaganda. Wace's Roman de Rou attests to an ageold antagonism between Normandy and France, a situation exacerbated by the marriage to Eleanor of Aquitaine of the future Henry II, who thus controlled more territories in France than the king himself. There is, therefore, an ideological divide in the way Geoffrey's image of the past would have been perceived, depending on whether the reader or adapter belonged to the Anglo-Norman or the ile-de-France spheres of influence. It was in the interests of Paris to view the Historia as an amusing collection of anecdotes from a distant past, devoid of any connection with the present day; hence the tendency in Continental manuscripts of the Brut to link the text with romances rather than histories. Conversely, one observes a keen interest in the material as history by English poets and historians of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The Anglo-Norman kings were also at a disadvantage compared to their French counterparts, in that they had no Charlemagne. Theirs was a relatively new dynasty and its coming to power was founded on William the Conqueror's forcible subduing of his future subjects. Geoffrey's new history provides Britain with a figurehead equal to Charlemagne, modelled indeed on Alexander the Great. Arthur is not a Norman, but neither, crucially, is he English, and through the putative Tiojan ancestry of the British he is made the equal of any hero of classical antiquity. Moreover, through Arthur's blood ties with the kings of Brittany, Geoffrey allows for an alignment of the Celtic, pre-Anglo-Saxon population of Britain with William the Conqueror's Breton allies, who by the late 1130s would have become good Anglo-Norman barons. For Continental writers this dimension would have been secondary to Arthur's entertainment value; but Geoffrey's Anglo-Norman audience was quick to perceive the new legitimacy offered by the character. Geoffrey's work had political overtones for another section of his readership: the Welsh. The Historia gives the Britons a long, successful and cultured past at odds with the image of the boorish Welshman current at the time and immortalized by Chrötien de Troyes's uncouth Perceval. Moreover, Geoffrey's underlying warnings against dissension would have taken on particular resonance within the context of the struggle of the Welsh princes against the Anglo-Norman kings in the early twelfth century. Outbreaks of revolt occurred in different parts of Wales, firstly in 1116, under the leadership of Gruffudd ap Rhys, then in the years following the death of Henry I. The figure of Arthur, under such circumstances, could be viewed as a threat to the Anglo-Norman rulers (Gillingham



ti.; . '


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. r:


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\\ -- - .

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neglected by readers

of all periods interested primarily in the figure of Arthur) results in the loss of some of Arthur's eminence in the Anglo-Norman prose

h;: '. condensed r c::


Lincoln Catl:;-

The change in the balance of cultures in England during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries eventually led to the abandonment of Anglo-Norman French as a medium of ideological expression, in favour of English. By the end of the Middle

Ages French had become a foreign language, overwhelmingly employed on the Continent and therefore reflecting a different world-view; there the material of the Historiawas perceived as scholarly, rather than political, as the history of the distant past of an alien people whose interest is subordinated to other narratives. The political Arthur must therefore be viewed as a British phenomenon, for in Britain there was a vested interest in exploiting the prestige and potential for precedent of this paragon of kingship, an interest which ensured that the 'chronicle' strand of Arthurian literature retained much of its political charge well into the Tudor period (see Bryan 1999, especially chapter 7). Fr,sl


12 13


The tu

,;, -r-






- -.-



For nr,:: - -- : xxv-xxvi. Th; :: (BNn Duchei.-.: 16

On the



'Geoffre)' oi \1

Arthurian \1.:.


Geoffrey of ]1,-,nrr.

1 For a discussion of the date

of the Historia, see Wright edn 1984, xi-xvi. dedication to the Historia (Thorpe transl., 51); all introductory from Geoffrey's Quoted English translations of the Historia are from Thorpe. 3 A photograph of the Modena archivolt is reproduced in Loomis ed. 1959*, between pages 60 2

and 61.

a Geoffrey's Vita Merlini, composed in Latin verse some twelve years after the Historia, atlests to an enduring interest in the character of Merlin, but also presents a very different vision of the prophet. The wonder-child is now a hermit, a wild man of the forest aspiring to salvation. See Geoffiey of Monmouth: Vita Merlini. ed. and transl. by B. Clarke (Cardiff,1973). 5 William of Newburgh (1196-7) was one of the few to see through Geoffrey's narrative strategies, but his violent rejection of the Historia could be the consequence of his personal anti-Celtic agenda.

6 Gaimar tells us in the prologue to his Estoire des Engleß that he had also composed (probably in the 1 140s) at Estoire des Bretuns, now lost. 7 llT4beingthe date of the latest Bayeux charter in which Wace's name appears. On Wace's life, see Holmes 1967, Blanchet 1959 and Burgess 2002 (Roman de Routratsl.), xv-xxl. 8 This, however, offered the cue for manuscript compilers to include Arthurian romances alongside the Brut, e.g. BNR fr. 1450, in which the five romances of ChrÖtien de Troyes are inserted into Wace's Brut, althe point when the twelve-year peace is mentioned; see Chapter XI. e There is some evidence for the existence of a number of olher Bruls that have not survived (see Arnold edn of Wace's Brut,l,xcviii). It is also possible that the book Gaimar claims to have used as a source for the earlier section (now lost) of his Estoire des Engleß may be Geoffrey's (Short 1994,

327-8,33740). 10 See Bell 1963, esp. 201. For Harley Brut,ftagment 5, see Blakey edn; fragments 1-4 are transcribed in Damian-Grint 1994. See also Damian-Grint in Short ed. 1993 (esp. 94-5). r1 Grout edn. See also Bell 1939; Grout 1985; 1988. On the language of the text, see Jenrich 1881.

(Cambridg< -' La

Geste du



Monntoutli-The Histor'.t'


Gaimar L'Estoire des E. York, 197 I



Wace Wace, Rontutt ,i-- -

La Partie artltt,, Wace's Rotnttt: edn,20021,


Geste du






Monmoutlt. T. -. ' Arthurian se ,.



Le Roman de Ä, WAce, The Rt,ti;.,, I{otes by Gl ,: > r .

The Brut Traditi,-,n Bekker Fragmen:


l'Historia Rt {.,,

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Brute d'Engleterre abregö. Ed. by E.


Anonymous Short English Metrical Chronicle (London,

Short, I.



Brutus, Li rei de Engleterre, Le Livere de Reis de Engleterre. Ed. by C. Foltys (Berlin,1962).

Harley Brut,ftagment 5. Ed. by B. Blakey,'The Harley Brut'. Att Early French Translation of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britannine' , Rom, 82 (1961), 4+-70. Harley Brut,fragments l-4. Transcribed in Damian-Grifi 1994, Appendix II. Harley Fragment. Ed. by Damian-Grint, in Short ed. 1993, 87-104. Munich Brut.Ed. by P. B. Grout, Ph.D. thesis, London, 1980. Rauf de Bout, Le Petit Bruit. Ed. by D. B. Tyson, ANTS, PTS 4 (London, 1987). lPetit Bruitl. Floyal Brut. An Anglo-Norman Brut (Royal 13, A.xxi). Ed. by A. Bell, ANTS 21-2 (Oxford, 1969).








323_/3 Spiegel. G. Centttt'.t' Britcttttt





Tolhurst. F .--' British Ep.. .. Centuries' . ,'

Studies Bell, A. 1939. 'The Munich Brut andthe Estoire des Bretuns', MLR,34,321-54. Bell 1963. 'The Royal Brut Interpolation' , Med. Aev,32, 190-202. Blacker, J. 1994. The Faces of Time: Portayal of the Past in Old French and Latin Historical Narrative of the Anglo-Norman Regnum, Austin, TX. Blanchet, M.-Cl. 1959. 'Maistre Wace, trouvÖre normand', MRom,9, 149-58. Bryan, E. J. 1999. Collaborative Meaning in Medieval Scribal Culture: The Otho Lajamon, Arrrr

Arbor, MI. Burch North, S. ed. 1988. Studies in Medieval French Language and Literature Presented to Brian Woledge, Geneva.

Busby, K., and N. J. Lacy eds 1994. Conjunctures: Medieval Studies in Honor of Douglas Kelly, Amsterdam. Crisafulli, A. ed. 1964. Linguistic and Literary Studies in Honor of Helmut A. Hatzfeld, Washington

DC. Damian-Grint,P. 1994. 'Vernacular History in the Making: Anglo-Norman Verse Historiography in the Twelfth Century', Ph.D. thesis, London. Damian-Grint I 996.'Redating the Royal Brut Fragment', Med. Aev, 65, 280-5. Damian-Grint 1999a. The New Historians of the Twelfth-Century Renaissance: Inventing Ver

nacular Authority, Woodbridge.

Damian-Grint 1999b. 'Translation as enarratio and Hermeneutic Theory in Twelfth-Century Vernacular Learned Literature', Neophil, 83, 34947 . Dean, R. J. 1999.'Chronicles', in Anglo-Norman Literature:


Guide to Texts and Manuscripts,

London, l-51.

Flint, V. L J. 1979. '-lhe Historia Regum Britanniae of Geoffrey of Monmouth: Parody and its Purpose: A Suggestion', Spec, 54, 447 -68. Genet, J.-P. ed. 1997 . L'Histoire et les nouveaux publics dans I' Europe mödiövale (XIIP -XW siöcles) , Paris.

Gillingham, J. 1990. 'The Context and Purposes of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History of the Kings of Britain', ANS,13,99-1 18.

Grout, P. B. 1985. 'The Author of the Munich Brut, his Latin Sources and Wace', Med. Aev, 54, 274-82.

Grout 1988. 'The Manuscript of the Munich Brut (Codex Gallicus 29 of the


Staatsbibliothek, Munich)', in Burch North ed. 1988, 49-58. Holmes, U. T., Jr. 1964.'The Anglo-Norman Rhymed Chronicle', in Crisafulli ed. 1964,231-6. Holmes 1967. 'Norman Literature and Wace', in W. Matthews ed. Medieval Secular Literature: Four Essays, Berkeley and Los Angeles,46-67. Jenrich, K. 1881. 'Die Mundart des Münchener Brut' , Ph.D. thesis, London. Loomis, R. S. 1959. 'The Oral Diffusion of the Arthurian Legend', in Loomis ed. 1959*,52-63. Piggott, S. 1941 . 'The Sources of Geoffrey of Monmouth' , Antiquity, 15, 269-86.

Zatta, J. 199: Britanrlir -:.





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Although the Tristan legend is not always thought of as Arthurian, it belongs to the Celtic mati\re de Bretagne which provided important source material for French Arthurian romances. What were probably, in their original form, the longest versions of the legend in Old French verse, those by Beroul and Thomas, both allot a small role to King Arthur, whilst the thirteenth-century prose romance (see chapter VIII) represents a massive combination of the Tristan legend with that of Arthur. The early French Tristan material in verse has survived in the form of two fragmentary romances and some shorter, episodic texts. Whether these now diverging remnants derive directly from a once complete and fully developed Urtext (original version), or are evidence of an expanding and constantly diversifying body of stories, has been a matter for scholarly debate. Attempts to complete the surviving fragments, at least notionally, have to rely on the evidence of the more complete adaptations of the French romances into medieval German, English and Norse. Nowadays, critics prefer to concentrate on the aesthetic and ideological qualities of the extant works, rather than to speculate on their origins. It has been traditional, but by no means mandatory, for scholars since Bödier to divide the surviving Tiistan texts into two groups representing two versions of the story. The 'version commune', or popular version supposedly performed by jongleurs, is said to be exemplified by Beroul, Eilhart von Oberg and the Folie Tristan de Berne;the 'version courtoise'is primarily exemplified by Thomas's romance, the Folie Tristan d'Oxford and foreign adaptations of Thomas: Gottfried von Straßburg's German Tristan (c.l2l0), Brother Robert's Norse Tristramssaga (1226) and the fourteenthcentury English Sir Tristrem. More recently, however, the epithets'Öpique'and either'lyrique'or'cl6ricale'have been employed to describe the versions by Beroul and Thomas respectively, whilst the later prose romance has more accurately been called a'version chevaleresque'(Payen edn, vii). The following discussion will treat the influential longer verse romances by Beroul and Thomas, followed by the shorter episodic verse texts, all witnesses to the popularity of the Tiistan legend within French Arthurian literature.

The fra..unre:: 2171 . sup: .. edn, 126E. 1-the work. t c, : -. = ' attribution 1: : Patrice to .1 'ri : comes to itje:.:. ' ient label lbr : = its broad cL-,rr;:l 'commune' rFr.:r way of objec:.' lacks both a b-: 1965) the ti.r S : ..



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Inorafl EII






the king to catch the lovers inflagrante delicto, though Tristan escapes punishment by leaping from a chapel and then rescues Yseut, whom Mark had delivered up to the lust of a band of lepers as a fate even worse than burning at the stake. There then ensues a long period of outlawry in the forest of Morrois with only the aid of Governal (Tristan's mentor), Husdent (a dog who hunts without barking) and a bow rigged up to kill game. During a chance meeting, the hermit Ogrin fails to convince the lovers to repent and return to Mark. The latter, tipped off by a forester, finds them in the forest, but noting Tristan's sword lying between his nephew and wife, who are fully clothed, he shows mercy towards them, exchanging swords and rings and leaving his gloves to protect Yseut from the sun. Unfortunately, the lovers interpret his ambiguous signs as hostility, and flee. One day the love potion (which Beroul seems to imply was the cause of their love, yet it appears to last for only three years) wanes, and the lovers return to Ogrin to seek reconciliation with Mark. Tristan is banished, but Yseut returns to Mark until his barons convince him to procure further proof of her innocence. As a result of an elaborate ruse set up by Yseut and witnessed by King Arthur, the queen is able to swear that no man, apart from her husband and the leper who carried her across a ford at the Mal Pas, had been between her thighs. The leper, however, is Tristan in disguise. After Yseut's verbal defence, the barons continue to spy on the lovers, who meet secretly, and the Beroul fragment breaks off just as Tristan and Yseut have taken their revenge on two of the barons, the dwarf having met his death earlier after revealing that King Mark had horse's ears! Despite a sometimes extravagantly judgemental narratoE who seems to take moral issues as cut-and-dried (though not necessarily according to conventional values), the poem represents a carefully and sensitively articulated exploration of the conflict of appearances and reality, the problems of reading signs and the challenge of how to access moral truth, all three issues, of course, being linked. The fundamental structure of the work is based on a dialectical opposition which offers a moral paradox. On the one hand, notwithstanding their constant characterizationas 'felons', the barons appear to be loyal and acting in accordance with their feudal duty by 'advising' Mark of the adultery between his wife and nephew; conversely, the lovers seem to be totally disloyal in continuing, whilst at the same time denying, their adultery. On the other hand, the barons'true relationship with their lord is shown not to be one of loyalty: they threaten to withdraw from his service and make war on him, and their treatment of Frocin, the dwarf, is both dishonourable in itself and disloyal to Mark; instead the barons are motivated by self-interest, for they wish to rid themselves of Tristan, out of jealousy for his prowess (7734). They remain totally indifferent to their monarch's reconciliation with the lovers, mediated by Ogrin, who seems to recognize the moral justice of such an arrangement, and the barons continue to demand, by extortion, the exiling of Tristan. Against this, the lovers, who have


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This mismatch of surface appearances and deeper moral reality leads us to the third theme of the poem: the problem of gaining access to that reality so that it may be recognized. Although to all appearances the lovers are guilty, Beroul implies that the moral reality is different. The crucial element here is the potion. The potion and the concomitant suffering and deprivation it inflicts on the lovers are a disaster: in Yseut's words, 'ce fu pechiez' (it was a terrible misfortune, l4l5), not only for the lovers, but potentially for Mark, since the straight fact of adultery, however induced, makes Mark's position precarious in the extreme. It follows that it must never be publicly revealed or confirmed. Accordingly, the hermit Ogrin agrees to tell a white lie ('par bel mentir', 2354). He has been forthright to the lovers and tried to insist on repentance, but such a step is of no avail when it comes to suppressing the 'honte' (shame) and 'mal' (harm) which would befall Mark, whom Ogrin has every right to protect. Yseut is intelligent and principled in rejecting the notion of repentance, since neither of the lovers bears the slightest responsibility for the potion. How or why, then, should Mark be expected to suffer? Given their limited free will, the lovers are blameless and hence recognize no moral imperative to confess to the king. Beroul's strategy is rendered more complicated by his remarkable innovation of limiting the potion's compulsive power to three years. The moral paradox, or opposition of the barons'disloyalty and the lovers'loyalty, risks being annulled. Beroul's decision, though paralleled by Eilhart, can only have been conceived as an attempt to subject the lovers'subsequent behaviour to moral evaluation. Once the effects of the potion have worn off, Yseut tells Ogrin that she and Tristan are no longer having sexual relations (2329-30). Is she telling the truth? Though Beroul provides us with many examples of beneficent deception, he does not depict lying. On the one occasion when there is an unambiguous case of lying, Brengain's pretence that she has fallen out with Tiistan, the narrator draws attention to it and indignantly brands her a liar (519ff.). Lying has never been a very productive literary device, whereas the exploitation of ambiguity can have fascinating moral and narrative ramifications, as in the case of Yseut's two ambiguous oaths. The cynical interpretation of the post-potion sequence in Beroul is that the lovers continue to enjoy sexual relations, thus reducing to a lie Yseut's protestation of chastity (2329-30). This interpretation is largely based on an inference, namely that since the lovers'continued meetings are clandestine, the lovers must be guilty. The counter-argument would be that the clandestine nature of the meetings results from the lovers'continuing persecution by the barons, who do not recognize the reconciliation with Mark and continue to seek the banishment of Tristan, come what may. The lovers simply cannot afford to be seen together by such obviously malicious royal advisers. Against this background the narrator's judgements, favourable to the lovers, hostile to the barons, critical of Mark, will thus bear more penetrating scrutiny

than has hi:..;: cannot be ,.'', ;




ultimateaut:-.-. moralll'







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of failed con :r-


On the lir=r-:-

first part

oi -


Summaries ,ir-- *

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1985). In neither Beroul nor Thomas is there any depiction of ennobling love: Beroul depicts persecuted love and offers a robust defence, emotional and moral, in which even God is implicated. God and the saints are constantly invoked in the poem and Tristan's successful leap from the chapel is attributed to His intervention, an attribution accepted by Ogrin. The vitality of Beroul's account proscribes any association of love with death, and triumph seems always to be within the lovers'reach. Tiickery and transgression are assimilated to the idea of moral justice in what is seen as an unjust world, depicted in all its crudeness and violence. Thomas, on the other hand, whose account is much more static, depicts a self-destructive love in a psychological sphere from which God is largely absent; he depicts in fact a much bleaker universe than Beroul; the moral landscape is emptier and it is one in which the lovers renounce life. Neither poet can be said in any way to celebrate love or portray its joys. ITHI


The Tristan of Thomas (the form 'Tristran'is frequently encountered in the manuscripts) is represented by ten fragments (three of which perished in 1870) drawn from six manuscripts, for the most part Anglo-Norman, totalling 3,298 lines.a It is estimated that this total constitutes about one quarter of the complete original. The earliest manuscript, Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS French d. 16, which contains the two 'Sneyd'fragments, dates from the end of the twelfth century. The Cambridge, Turin, Strasbourg (now lost), Douce and Carlisle fragments were produced in the thirteenth century. From the textual point of view the copies themselves are disappointingly mediocre, though for the most part beautifully written. They furnish, completely or imperfectly, six narrative episodes from the last third of the romance, the location of which is best indicated by the chapters of the Norse Tristramssaga (indicated here by the siglum S), which was based on Thomas and offers the only complete version of the story to survive. The text of Thomas covers the following episodes, four of which survive in single copies: (i) the lovers'exchanges after drinking the potion and the marriage night in which Brengain is substituted for Yseut (S chapter a6); (ii) the lovers'meeting and valediction in the orchard (S chapter 67); (iii) Tristan's reflections on the idea of marriage to Yseut of the White Hands and the wedding (S chapters 69-70); (iv) the Hall of Statues (S chapters 80-2); (v) the Queen's Procession (S chapter 87); (vi) the concluding sequence of events which contains the quarrel between Queen Yseut and Brengain and the latter's interview with Mark (S chapters 89-90); Tiistan's visit to the court in disguise and his refuge in the manner of St Alexis (S chapters 90)); Thomas's digression on his treatment of the story and his fidelity to a poet called 'Breri'; Tristan's and Kaherdin's revenge on their


enemies. k... (essentia



:" : '

and their .:.:,' injur-r'(S cr.-,: .: his aid (S ,-.:r Yseut oi i:. ; '."', of the lor ;:. \ The d,.t:.:. : 1150s (r,,,, links tt-r l-tr ;:' stylisticall', - ' datin._u. L,..: places. iri-. -. - provides i.: to love. T:-. . glorifies i ;: ments: onc.r "" clerical lt.,:.-(Hunt 19:. Concer1le.l ' ' velit and :'







Equallr J,..---

believed. . fragment. . .-. .: thus becon.; - :-

l. l2l9). H.




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the tale in . versions. F{.




and coLrn.: : Cadivor. . - -: Davies 19. -

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eq puno\\ 3-.'lntg s6eJE \\ -:


A\oqs qJrq \\ ;: i Euol eq] ul sl' -:. ou spulJ 'i11r': : '1nesa ueanö e SI eJef{} SJtlT-"i-. 'uo oE of u.\\rr S. -sod ou ur sr ::, Jo soxopzJed :.:

0 sDA pa)ttat t.


:sureIAJ ssrlslrr'.B 'Lr}'-s

IIe Jo u3q1 sfiec tr1e1o]r1-:


'euecs pJEQJJtT





eq] Jo oposrd:

'oot,t-tes eEer-tJt]t-:.

Jo ÄurouoJe aLL:: eJoru ou ur p3z. plnoc eluqep 3 \.. (seuq 8LI) t{riri: -nlls crgrceds aL. eq] ur uorlrsod " o1 '(ssauappt/').:

eql o1 speel s[i Äq pezlrogoJ sl p e rlyzlr sur8eq r1 e}€qep IeJoru 3 \r -cossrp lecrEololi




this tale, against 'change', 'tort', 'paine', 'dolur'and 'engins d'amur' (mutability, wrong, travail, suffering and the ruses of love). These are all key terms exploited in the body of the poem and suggest that Thomas wrote his version of the Tristan and Yseut legend as a negative exemplum, in something of the same spirit in which Heinrich von Freiberg completed Gottfried's poem at the court of Wenzel II a century later.5 Whether or not it is agreed that Thomas wrote his poem as a consolatio, recording those trials and tribulations inextricably linked with love which are best avoided, it cannot be doubted that he was a cleric, who had studied logic in the schools, and who wrote in the contemptus mundi (contempt for the world) tradition. His rhetorical virtuosity is remarkable and rivalled only by that of Chr6tien in his neo-7ristan, Cligös. In both, arduous logical reasoning is depicted as ironically unproductive. One critic justly observes of Thomas: The language of argument dominates the poem. Abstract terms, learned syntax, and syllogistic reasoning contribute to a general impression of detachment, of intellectual analysis. Multiple repetitions give almost pedantic emphasis to problems and conclusions. (Crane 1986,150)

In Thomas the use of antithesis is disjunctive and analytic, whereas in Gottfried it is conjunctive and synthetic, an instrument in the German author's transcendental, mystical conception of unity in love. In Thomas opposition tends to duality, towards an isolating style, rather than the unifying one aimed for by Gottfried. Technical devices of repetition and amplification in Thomas follow the example of Wace's Brut and the romans d'antiquitö, but in a more sustained form. The constructions Thomas exploits unremittingly are parallelism and antithesis: 'Fuir deport et querre eschil, / Guerpir joie, sievre peril' (flee enioyment and seek out suffering, leave joy and follow pain, Cambridge,2T-8); parallelism between different speeches: Tristan: 'Tel duel ai por la departie, I Ja n'avraihait jor de ma vie' (I am so upset at leaving that I shall never more be joyful, Cambridge,29ff.) and Yseut: 'Tel paine ai de la desevranche, I Ja n'avrai mais, amis, deport' (I suffer such pain at parting that I shall never, my beloved, experience pleasure again, Cambridge, 43). In Beroul the lovers appear most frequently together; in Thomas they are usually apart.In the opening debate on marriage there are three parallel rösumös (Sneyd 1,213ff.,297ff., 349ff.) representing the technique of interpretatio,frequentatio or expolitio. The various figures of repetition (annominatio, traductio, anaphora, anadiplosis, chiasmus) occur with a striking density and the use of contrast (contentio), especially in dialectically framed monologues, recalls the Roman d'Eneas. Thomas also makes use of logical markers, such as pur go, and the figure of conclusio. These techniques are common to both the characters'speeches and the narrator's commentary, which sometimes seem stylistically indistinguishable.

Whilst B:: .. plot and it-. .;.


more retleC..- ; anxiouS ttr j.... calls desi i'. ,:: . *


The Folit''







locations a',- .': Tiistan has :;-:' the queen ;J-, When he .1::.' reach the r,--'". the manne: . shared \\ it i . :

eventualh i prlvate rtr c' .l-. , Tiistan crrn:. ., -. : some initiir" ::- . In the C,-- .- . : advanced S..: -: -



explicitin: -:, Mains). Tit; .disguised 1i;:.

In the DtrL.-;


legend, the . Heinrich \ trr. F,

what distir.:,. wealth of al -.:


substance t-ri :..: Notu,iths. -: .

Anglo-Nonr..:dating frorti :. : MS l)ouce c fragment oi l[


slr rrt punoJ uIBBe sI auag ap uotspq atlol eq1- '(ecueuror s(seruoql 3o lueur8er; Suoy e sureluoc qc1lr!\ ldrrcsnuetu erues ogl ur ,(1]ueculu8ts) 9 'p ecnoc SI I 'ßmtqrluurelpog 'pro3xg :.(rnluec qlueeiln{} or{} Jo JIeq puoces eq} uro{ 8ur1ep 'ldrrcsnueur el3urs e ,(q pelueserder sr. p.tolxg.p uots!"U aryol uevrro5i-o13uy

oqJ 'slxel eleredes olu

eJe eseql ',(lrulgg? snol^qo .lteql SurpuelsqlllvrloN 'J?J Os ,fuo1s eql

qclql\ 'ß,telueuru eJE,



JO esn Se{?ru o ,(11ecr1cel€rp ur

-!lede.r Jo sern8lr

eql Jo r{Jnru lepeer ro ecuolpne oql roJ pue ueenb oq} roJ qloq 'e1o,re qclql\ 'lnesl qlLv\ poreqs Äysnourerd oq oJII eq] 01 oreq eqt,(q epeui suolsnlle Jo qtluo^\ eql sl slxel Jeqlo oseql ruo4 srueod aryof qlue1{ o1r\} rno seqstn?ullslp }Bqzvr ]ng 'looJ e go esmS eql ut,(lesrce"rd uJnleJ s6uelsl.l; Jo IIol (8;eqte.lg uo^ tIcIruIeH pu€ rurerlrnl uo^ qclrln ,{q Srnqge"rls uo^ pol.r;l}oC Jo suollenul}uoc eql 'pue8el egl Jo uorsre s,geqpE) s{roAr uEIuJoD Jo reqlunu e pue tedel e se pestn8stp ]nosÄ slrsrl uelsrrl 'eydruzxe .ro; 'ureod s.s€wogl go lueur?er; ecnoq eql uI

e r{}l^\ Jnsco (-i

JO ocuBlsqns

'eruegl stql uo suoIlBIJe^ oql Jo euo lsni sI slql pue '1nesa oes o] o.leq pesrn8stp eqt ,(q suJnleJ Jo reqrunu e slueserd lurod stql 1€ Ielrel€ru uelsl{ eq; '(sute141 seqcuelg xne) lnesa puoces eql 01 polrrulu 'tseel ]e aqol ureg aql ur 1rc11dxe ep€ru sr se 'pue 'urp;eqe;1qlllv\ pelelcossu 'Äue11tJg uI sI uelsl{ :e8e1s pecue.tpe Ä1.r1e3

e 1e eceld so1el eposrde srql pue8el uelsl;1 oql Jo }xo}uoc oqt uI

'ro^ol req sl IooJ or{} leq} e8peyvroulc? o} elq€ st'ocuelstseJ I€I}Iu otuos relge '1nes1pue -reqleSol oJII JeruJoJ Jleql ol suolsnlle eäeru ol senulluoc uelsl.t1 'ecuese.rd s,uoenb eql uI 'Joq ol IooJ eq] uolutuns utu8ue;g seq 'tuoo.r elentrd roq ol8uur1er rege 'lnesl peqJnlslp fpreld eql ellq,/y\ '1unq ol go seo?,(genlue.te 3ur4 eq1 ,t1r1uepr orul srq ezuSocer o] req dleq plnom qctq.,n ueenb eql qll.lA peJer{s ser{ oq oJII er{} o} socueJeJer sesuodser slq olut sgesul }nq 'looJ e Jo Jouueru eq} ur sre^\sue pue {J€IAI 8ur; Äq peleSorrelul sI uelsl;; 'e.req1 '}rnoc 1u,(o.l eq} qceer o1 elqe sr eq (11en1uele lnq 'urq lcoru eldosd eql 'ge,luoJ uI se^IJJe oq uerl1[ 'looJ e ;o esrn8stp eq] ldope ol puu Jeg lISh ol soplcep uulslr1 oure?e ueenb oq1 ees ol snorxuv '>IrBI tr 8ut; ,tq pep;en8 Ä1eso1c '1e,tru.ro3 uI sul€rueJ lnesÄ ls[q A ',(ue11ug ur erull oruos roJ 3up.11pu€ unoJ s.{retrAl uro.r; pelledxe ueeq seq uelsl{ 'orJuuecs uoruruoc B eJegs 'slducsnueru lu€lxe elelduroc oAU oq) Jo suollscol eql Jo esneceq porueu os'ptolxg,p uolsuJ auol eqlpue aung ap uDtsyq alptr eq;-

eq] Eurlueserda: eEetrreur uo


,(1luenbe"rg lsoLri

a)uabtadxa 'pal,


'slgur fB,ttß JJ Ef 'pI[o{ aq orottt lleq reltfi,u €f rusrlollerud :(g-_ ruawr(ofua aal')


pu? rusrlellu"rec peurelsns eJour




Äq roJ peture at: 01 Spuo] UoIlIStr -ue3sueJ} s6JollI

pelJJ}loo u} sLr:eue;3)


'srs,(1eu€ -o11,(s

Ient3J- :

puB 'rpr::'

-uoJr se


uer]?rq3 Jo ]Erll -peJl Qtl,tou atll

Iezuoa Jo uno,1 ur lurds erues :L u€}sr{ er{l Jo Lr q pelroldxe slr.rr: 'tqllqotnLu) 6rnLLr

lHll'unnru Jo Iorluoc Ienlce[e]ur eql 01 qtoq lcefqns 01 pu€ 'nsap s11ec eq SurureeÄ pele^ele eJoru eq] ano4 (ua1o,t) ecuecsrdncuoc qstn8ullstp o] snolxue 'erroy lnoqu luepg1p.(1lereue8 pue lecrldecs 'elrlcedsorlut '1s,(1euu eAIlceUeJ oJolu e sr seruogl 'scrlsnl Suursep pue su8rs Surpee.r Jo Isel eql olul relue pue 1o1d eql qlr1| dn deel lltr 'sedoq eq'oqrrr ecuerpne perrB^ B o1sJolec Inoreg lsFI1$.

eql ut ct8ol p3lp: ete r{crr{,\\ 3 'r 'oryDlosuo) e sr

olouSts s oy uttrslnl epnts auaru uorstrtl lrutaaraq3'uo1s7r1 s?llol aqI :slxol uulslrl clpoqdg aq1







entirety in just one, early fourteenth-century manuscript, Bern, Burgerbibliothek, MS 354 (Rychner 1984), but a fragment of sixty-one lines found in Cambridge (Cambridge, Fitzwilliam Museum, MS 302), which describes the fool's arrival at Mark's court and the early allusions he makes, has also been published (Dean and Kennedy edn); editors now draw upon this fragment to fill lacunae and to correct certain errors in the Bern manuscript, which is universally acknowledged as far from perfect. Modern editors have also inevitably had to concern themselves with the relationship between the two poems. Bödier (1907, vi-vii, 82-3) deemed it possible either that one of the two poems had imitated the otheq or that both were independent derivatives of a lost poem, but he was firmly of the view that the Bern Folie reflected knowledge of the material in Beroul's poem (or, at least, a poem very similar to Beroul), whereas the Oxford Folie drew tpon Thomas. Hoepffner (edns 1934 and 1938), seeing no need to envisage the existence of a common archetype, suggested that the Bern Folie was directly inspired by Beroul and that it was then followed and imitated by the Oxford Folie, which incorporated material drawn from Thomas. Lecoy (edn 1994,10), however, while recognizing the similarity between the two texts and supporting the view that one was inspired by Beroul and the other by Thomas, was reluctant to commit himself further on the issue of a possible common source and on the question of composition. Demaules, on the other hand, emphasizes (edn, 1313) the closeness of the two poems to Beroul and Thomas, but revives the idea, on new but rather insubstantial grounds, that both poems are representatives of a lost original, recast independently by their authors. Whatever the exact relationship between the poems, it is nonetheless important that the two texts should be judged on their individual merits; they may share the same scenario, but there are appreciable differences between them. In the Bern Folie (Fb), the allusions to earlier events do seem to have been inspired by Beroul's poem (B), by a version close to Beroul, or, at the very least, by the version commttne, the 'non-courtly'Tristan texts. In support of this view, one can point specifically to incidents recalled by the 'fool'which are not found in the version courtoise: for example, when Tiistan finds himself alone with Yseut, he alludes, in quick succession, to the 'Saut Tristran' (Tristan's Leap), the handing over of Yseut to the lepers and her liberation from their clutches, and to the hermit Ogrin, a significant figure, but only in Beroul's version of the legend (Fä, 457-75). Other minor details might also be invoked: Dinas figures here (Fb,33), but not in Thomas's poem, and the reference to Saint Sanson (Fb,28) recalls the scene in Beroul when Yseut is restored to Mark and is received at the church dedicated to that saint (8, 2973). Moreover, the d6nouement of the poem, where the dog Husdent is joyfully reunited with his master (Fb, 496-528), is again strongly reminiscent of the scene in Beroul in which the dog, released from captivity, joins the lovers in the Forest of Morrois (8, 1541-8).

.. In sonre : -- -- r in which t i-.: ,- --

;, 1934. 1[l r :






allusions. r.i: : tion inr t-,i', =- -. -' -


undoubtec.Bern Ft,ii, -, ,


identir'.. ' against apt;-:I



growins p.:.-.. call on e\ -r-.. ; material. b-.: .: sions fail :,: * -

andprodu;..:ti -,: lAt 99E l : =-

by Yseut

(Fo) contin



Thomas s r'- :-. -: *

757-62) anu -: this versior.. -include as :--: more methc; phrases SLr.--. -:. (surely )'ot/

, \1 ','--


amplified . order of er e--. .: -

and his erile .- : for the read:: the way in ',,, . - '

of th; -- ment of the i..; : source

greater diSt re : : Only when Tr-.:


tation, is Yse Lit -- I If the conre:.. an example t1^;];

Jo roqlne orll 'seu{ xrs-ftJg lsrg eql 'oEessed,fuolcnporlur eq],(lereur elduexe ue se e{Bl o1 'e1,(1s eql sr s,(em oruos ut os 'suuroql Jo luecsrufiueJ sr ]ue]uoc etl] JI 'Je ol JerI ezru8ocer ol elqe lnesÄ sr 'uopel -seJluuru 1ucrs.(qd Jeqloue 'ecro^ IeruJou srq ol ilo^eJ 01 seprcep uulsr{ 'p€ep lrrou sr Je^ol Jog lerll sruJguoc ecuophe srql l€ql3ura,er1eq 'sse"rlsrp relee.r8 ue^e sleeJ 1nq '8urr oql Jo uorlcnpo:d eqt ,(q,fir1uepr s(uelsrr1 Jo pecuhuoc }ou sr 'G-266t,(eugeg) lnoq8norqt ern8g Eurpueqs.rdruocun ue '1nes1 'olel orl] Jo tueru -enougp eql l€ erols ul esrrdrns ouo eABq seop roqlne oql 'suorsnllu e{l Jo ocrnos eql SuzruEoceJ ur e;nseeld 3uo1e1 01 sploJun e^rleJJ€u eql gcrql!\ ur ,{e.u eql Surrerlocsrp ruoq Urrls 1e,tr,(eru,fuo1s eql Jo lseJelur eql ecuerpne Jo JepeeJ egl JoJ leql oJII lsed ,srezrol erll Jo uorleco^e s1ql sl q8noroql og ,(ue11rrg ur elrxe sq pue uorleredes Jrer{} o} pel qcF{.,!\ .taZnt. oq} ut }nes^ qlrA\ Surleoru eq} q}Le{ Surpnycuoc pue (99-6(,8 'og) eposrde ]logrotrAl eql qlrm Buluur8eq'pue8ey eql ur sluo^o Jo ropro lec6olouorqc eql ol esolo sr ler{A\ ur etuoc secueJeJeJ s(ue}sr{ tezroeroy4l 'pegrtdue ,(leleudorddu sr 1nq 'Äzrvre urvrorql ,{ldrurs sr ocueJeJeJ ou pu€ '(taqu,outat nort Qatns) 6llep ue sn^ JeJqruoru, pue (ltaqutau.tat no{ op) (üsnl eJqruour, se qcns sese.lqd ,(q pelenlcund,(pepSeJ lxol egl L1t4lrl.'allof urefl eql ur usql, lecrpoq]oru eroru qcruu e ut poluese.rd eru suorsnlle oq] ilV 'uuc eg se secueJeJer ,(ueru sB epnlcur ol pue earsueqerduroc oq ol Eul,tuls eg ol luoos soop Jor{}ne eql pue 'uorstezr srq} o1,(lerrrsnlcxe Euoleq qclq,lr Jo IIe'(9s-€V6'o[) nznt oq] uI euecs eq] puu (Zg-tSt 'og) lueptcul gr3-tltod aql'(gZ-gIL 'og) yegcseues eql,{q pe11rururoc,fueqceerl eq1 :eJu eJerl pellscoJ seJnl€eJ eql'asrcuno) uols,Dtt pelles-os eq1 'ecueuror s.seluoql slceuer p0{o^3 lerrotBrrr sql }nesÄ qlr^\ peJer{s seq 0q oJII 0q1 ur s}ueprcur ol sepnfle oreq eq] uorlllt lnq 'spulep Ierluosse s1r ur euq-,fto]s orues eq] senur]uoc (ol) proßO,p uDts!"tJ allof, erg'aqog uteg eql se 3uo1 se ecunl Ä1tueu 'seuq 366 1y dep eqt sur,l,(1eug uelsrr1 t€qt tnesÄ [q uIFI ot uorr.6 8uu eql pue luepsnH Jo urroJ or{1 ul ecuepr^e pcrs,(qd socnpord pue ,(o1d lueregrp B uo s{Jegrue eq ueq^l,(po sl }! puu '1nes1 oculzl'uoc o} IruJ suors -nlle eql :redsep Suldolezrep s(uelsr{.(q pe1e1crp,(lSurcuuruoc euo }ng '1uuo1eur 3o e;nsodxe pelupclec pue Iooc e lV 'W lou sr sql 'ecuept^e lleu-Jele uo [ec ol ue^rJp sr eq pue sJee JBep uo IIeJ secueJeJeJ srr{ se ped srq uo crued Eumor8 sI eJeql 'se8ueqcxe lerlrur eql JoUV '[BuorleJ ,(lsnolzrqo oo1 Euueedde ]suru8e

pren8 lsnru eq IooJ e se esrn8srp slg ur leql lnJpulur Bururetuer lslgl\ tlrluepr srq Jo lnesÄ ecut,ruoc ol Suqees sr uelsr.r1 'puFu ur euroq eq ol seq osle aqol ußg eql Jo lxoluoc cgrceds oql uil{}rl\ secuoJeJeJ eq} Jo rure eq} 1nq 'pqu,l,(pelqnopun ere slurod eser{J 'suorsnfl? eql uo peceld srseqdure ?ur.leglp eql pue pe^lo^ur uor] -|leder go ee.r8ep eql 'pocnporlur ere ,(eqt qcrq,r. qlr,tr ssouenbsnrq eql 'suorsnlle esoql rlt ;epro lect8olouorqc ,{ue go {cul oqt o1 pelurod e^€q scr}rrC '(Ot'VE6t upe reugdeog) pe,(o1due ueoq ue^e s?q (qc1odqc1oq,fteurp.loe.l1xe ue) (oJreurp -ro€rlxo elgu-eygd un, eserqd eql :pelueserd ere txe1 eql ur suorsn[€ eq] qcqly\ ur ,(err eqt rog,(1qe1ou 'pezrcrlrtc Ägsreq ueeq ser{ aqol vroqeq} sregenb oruos uI SZI


rrrou peseel3.r ' urc,Ee sr '(g;a-* eJer{A\ 'urood :,. qcJnr{c 0q} 1r' : eql slleoer ( 8; '(€E 'qi) orarl s: 'qi) pue6o1 :- ]lulJeq eql tr 1 : Jo JeAo EulpL.:-ur 'sepnlle 3u '- uoßDl 3rl1 rr, ; -. lurod uEJ ali,:' ttOtSD(t eq] 'ia. '-. Äq pe;rdsu r :.:: uJeg eq] rrl r:-: eql eruqs (uru '.: ,



'leurEuo ]sol r" }nq .\\3 Li -.


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perrdsur Ältcerll -lstxe aq] e6uSr '^ uodn a !i, ^\oJp to) uleod s.lt1t-rii eql 3o Ä1ur-rr1 Sir"

ro leqlo oLIt p;(s-zs '[^-l-\ '-, , -ule{} uJocuoJ ,., peEpel.&\oulJe ';' o1 pue oeunJLrl


ueeq) poqsllqnc lE, [eL[JJe S,IOOI


eEpr;qureJ ur D 6>leqlolqlqreSrn





the Oxford Folie,in the style of Thomas, repeats the same idea in successive couplets (Fo,3740), he moves between an observation on an individual character and an assessment of human behaviour in general (Fo,43-56), and he may repeat significant rhyme words: guarir and murir are twice juxtaposed (Fo, 5-6, 15-16). Such similarities have even led editors to suggest, not unreasonably, that Thomas himself was lesponsible for the Oxford Folie (Hoepffner edn 1938, 35-9: Demaules edn, 1315). Certainly, when compared with the Bern Folie,this text has a greater literary sophistication. The description of the castle of Tintagel (Fo, 95-140), strongly influenced by Wace's Brut and by other conventional descriptions of towns (Hoepffner edn 1938, 15-18: Demaules edn, 1330-1), and the extended metaphor in which Yseut's love is compared to a dried-up stream (Fo, 701-8) suggest a writer fully conversant with the artistic production and practice of his day. It is also important to point out that the relationship between the lovers is different from that in the Bern Folie. Tristan remains in control, especially in the latter stages, playing a cruel game with Yseut (Curtis 1976) as he accuses her of being disloyal and of feigning love (Fo, 351-6). Similar charges of deceit, pretence and disloyalty are laid against the queen after Husdent is brought upon the scene (Fo, 933-8), and it is only when Yseut is in complete disarray, believing that her lover is dead, that Tristan reverts to his normal voice and permits himself to be recognized.It is not recognition that is wrested from Yseut in the first instance, but a demonstration of her continuing loyalty to Tristan. Yseut has had to undergo a test, and it is only when she has passed that test and shown that she is loyal to her loveq even beyond the grave, that Tiistan reveals his identity and allows her to recognize him. The Folie Tristanstory can be described as having a happy outcome, but for the lovers this happiness is only fleeting. The same is true of the situation in Marie de France's lay of Chevrefoil,where the lovers'pleasure at meeting must be related to the essential tragedy of the story, as indicated at the beginning of the lay (8-10). Tristan has spent a year in exile in South Wales, his homeland according to this text. He decides to take the risk of returning to Cornwall and to attempt to see his beloved Yseut. During the day he hides in the forest, at night he takes refuge with local people, until he learns that the king and his court will be spending Whitsun at Tintagel. Knowing which road the members of the royal party must travel along to reach their destination, Tiistan plans a meeting with the queen. He takes a hazel branch, squares it off, writes upon it and then places it at a spot where Yseut will notice it as she passes. We are assured that a similar ploy has worked on a previous occasion, and it turns out to be successful again. Yseut separates from her escort and is reunited with Tristan in the forest. But soon, after Yseut has suggested how Tristan might rehabilitate himself and return to court, the lovers must sadly part again. At Yseut's behest, Tiistan composes a new lay to commemorate the occasion. If we wish to set this story at a particular

point in th: . :at an ear.t;: -r-.= mention r-,. .- . -remains .i .- - :- of the Ber,-- -- the actir i::, and Hetttr:r.:.


amoUntrri- 'what Trist.:. -.. (with hi: i;i". cated br .r : -- - -compollrlc;: : The conte :r:. written on :. : and Yser,li -: r; survival. n.-.:. -:.

SArrZ VLIS:' 1 ,r.

77-8). Linr :

beentaken: .-. seems diltl; -. Surfaces rr. . -

(Cagnon 1 e difficult tas.. .: ' Suggests tXr;



'summe de -'=. - -

of the r--r escrit aS rer';.. 'ence


Ii :.'


name On tl:; .symbolic enc-,i There is .i .-,"" a new la). ':-. : likely to be r .; meeting (Spi --; earlier meSS;l: hazel and the -


presented in

i. ;

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and wdtes it down in rhyme, in accordance with the task she set herself in the prologue she produced for her whole collection. Quite exceptionally for her, Marie seemingly claims to have drawn not only upon an oral, but also a written, source for the /ci: 'Plusors le me unt cunt6 e dit / E jeo l'ai trov6 en escrit' (Several people have told me the story and I have found it written down,5-6). Or is Marie using trover with the sense of 'to compose' and stating more predictably that she has set down an oral work in written form? Notwithstanding the difficulties in interpretation posed by the lay of Chevrefoil, it clearly suggests within its narrow compass much of the spirit of the legend; it is a distillation, a synecdoche, a summe of the whole Tristan story. Although regularly associated with the other episodic Tristan poems and included with them in the major collections, the Tristan Rossignol story differs from the two Folies and from Chevrefoil in that it has no independent existence, but is found only as part of a larger poem, the Donnei des amants. The Donnei, surviving in a single manuscript and Anglo-Norman in provenance (Legge 1963, 128), tells how in the spring the poet enters an enclosed garden and there eavesdrops on the conversation (the donnei of the title) of two lovers. So impressed is the poet by the arguments and counter-arguments brought forward by the lady and the lover that he decides to pass on what he has heard for the general benefit of all. In lines 453-683 of the Donnei, in a bid to persuade his lady to risk all for love, the lover tells the Tristan Rossignol story, an illustration of what Queen Yseut was prepared to do for Tristan. He relates how the hero returns secretly from Brittany to visit Yseut, and, at night, in a garden, imitates the song of birds, including that of the nightingale. For Yseut, the birdsong is a signal with its own private significance, just like the bastunin Chevrefoil. Yseut reacts to the sound by leaving the marital bed and makes her way through the guards set to watch over her by King Mark, who are fortunately all asleep at this time. However, she makes a noise as she attempts to open the door and alerts the dwarf. The ensuing commotion awakens the household, but Mark insists that the very boldness of the queen's behaviour indicates she had nothing untoward in mind. Yseut is then free to join her lover in the garden. This incident is not recounted elsewhere in any of the extant Tristan material. The same is true of the particular modulation of the folie story then related by the lady, in which she describes the humiliation Tristan was prepared to endure for the sake of Yseut. This serves as a riposte to the lover's story and brings this section of the Donnei to a close. The Tristan Rossignol episode is unusual also in that, as Gaston Paris noted long ago (1896, 536), it is diflicult to know to what point in the legend it should be attached: the return from Brittany suggests arelatively late stage, but the involvement of the dwarf argues for an earlier position. At the same time, the material seems decidedly familiar, and one may well have a sense of coming upon a collection of commonplaces. Tristan stations himself at

night. in ; j-, -: episode rr: .-: i misjudgeS t.-; the truth B -€XCttl'Sll: a':..-: which bre-::.: *: material ,:: - :


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the emotional impact of the story is very much lessened, because the material is scattered over a large number of lines, and there is no attempt to evoke the whole of the legend through the banter of the disguised hero (though a convenient minstrel near the beginning does rehearse Tristan's past experiences, 3614_/.4). But the action is triggered off, as in the Folie poems, by Tiistan's desire to see Yseut again,even though he then travels to see her, not as a solitary figure, but as part of alarge group. His first meeting with Yseut leads to the usual refusal on the part of the queen to recognize him: his voice may be Tristan's, she admits, but, unlike her lover, this figure apparently no longer has both his eyes. The second stage of the story, typically enough, finds Tristan in the main hall, where he plays the lay of Chevrefoil upon his small flute. After some brief soul-searching, Yseut acknowledges that it is her lover who stands before her, her 'loiax amis' @092); the playing of a composition describing a meeting between the lovers has inspired another meeting. There is a little more. Gerbert must break off from his account of the tournament to present the lovers'customary fleeting moments of pleasure (4199-4207), and, towards the end of the tale, King Mark is persuaded by Gauvain, Yvain and Perceval to cease his antagonism towards Tristan (4736-68). The reconciliation which is hoped for in Chevrefoil actually comes about in this text.lGBl






Texts and Tra n. Early Frr,:


. )



. .

ti I'.


Beroul 1939. 1v-

Böroul, Tr:. de Lage.



Beroul, Tlt, ,rl Beroul, Tt'i :. . 1127-11 '



Thomas Les Frugtti,,'


I See Ze Purgatoire de saint Patrice por Berol, publiö pour la premiäre fois par Marianne Mörner (Lund. 1917). p. 63. 1. 884. 2 For the suggestion that Tlistan, as in the prose Tristan, perished at Mark's hand, see Adams and Hemming 1973. 3 Throughout this volume, the following name forms will be used for characters in all versions of the Tristan legend: Mark, Tristan, Yseut, Yseut aux Blanches Mains (Yseut of the White Hands). There is, of course, an element of arbitrariness in these choices from a selection of variant forms. a Some of the 154 lines of the Carlisle fragment are essentially editorial reconstructions; see Benskin, Hunt and Short 1992-5. s See Jackson and Ranawake eds 2000*, 130, 139. 6 References to the lay of Chevrefoil are to the Ewert edition. Unless otherwise stated, references to the other texts considered in this section are to the Marchello-Nizia edition.



Kelly 1992*,177.

Reference List

Le Rotnzti tic


Le Ron'tcut tic Le Rontzn Jc



by F.




The Folies Tri'r La Folie edn,

cle T,


edn, 211_4:



Les Deux P(,,,"

La Folie Tt'isr.., Les Deux Pt,ti','The




Anglo-\, ,';' .


The Rontortt', For items accompanied by an asterisk,


the General Bibliography.


(Harmonds,,'. ,. The Birth o./ R ;:



Bibliographies Shirt, D. J. The Old French Tristan Poems: A Bibliographical Guide (London, 1980).

J. Weiss


Le Roman de


Ed. by F. Lec.



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Dean, R. J., and E. J. Kennedy. 1973. ',lJr, fragment anglo-normand de la Folie Tristan" MA,79, 57-72.

Chevrefoil Marie de France, Lais.Ed. by A. Ewert (Oxford, 1944;repr. with introduction and bibliography by G. S. Burgess, Bristol, 1995). Marie de France, Le Lai du Chövrefeuille lwith French transl.l. Ed by M. Demaules in MarchelloNizia edn, 213-16 and 1287-1309 (text and notes). Les Lais de Marie de France. Ed. by J. Rychner, CFMA 93 (Paris, 1966). The Lais of Marie de France. Transl. by G. S. Burgess and K. Busby (Harmondsworth, 1986).

Tristti,;' . : Dannenb., -::'






I --- j -:Frappier ---- \ --



P .--l--: Grimbert. I I Halvorsen. ..I Gaffnel.

Tristan Rossignol

Le Donnei des amants. Tristan Rossignol [with French transl.]. Ed by C. Marchello-Nizia in Marchello-Niziaedr,,96'l-73 and 1566-9 (text and notes). Paris, G. 1896.' Le D onnei de s amants', Rom, 25, 497 -541 -


Heinzel.R .'-Hunt, T.

Gerbert de Montreuil, La Continuation de Perceval, Tristan Mönestrel [with French transl.]. Ed by C. Marchello-Nizia in Marchello-Niziaedn,975-1010 and 1570-5 (text and notes). Gerbert de Montreuil, La Continuation de Perceval, vols I and II. Ed. by M. Williams, CFMA 28, 50 (Paris, 1922,1925);vol. I[. Ed. by M. Oswald, CFMA 101 (Paris, 1975).

Hunt l9-9 i '" Hunt 1981.'1.. Hunt 199S 'E;

Adams, A., and T. D. Hemming. 1973.'LaFir.d'u Tristan de B6roul', MA,79,449-68.

Adams and Hemming. 1916.'"Chövrefeuille" and the Evolution of the Tristan Legend', BBIAS,

27,204-13. Adams, T. 1999. "'Pur vostre cor su jo em paine": The Augustinian Subtext of Thomas's Tristan', Med. Aev,68,278-91. Baumgartneq E. 1987. Tristan et Iseut: de la lögende aux räcits en vers,Paris. Benskin, M., T. Hunt, and I. Short. 1992-5. 'IJn nouveau fragment du Tristan de Thomas', Roz, 113,289-319. Berkvam, D. D. 1989. 'La"Y6ri1ö" d6placÖe dans le Chevrefoil , Neophil,73,14-22. Bromiley, G. N. 1986. Thomas's Tristan and the Folie Tristan d'Oxford, London. Bruckner, M. T. 1981-2. "fhe Folie Tristan d'oxford: Speaking voice, written TexI" Tris,7,47-59. Bullock-Davies, C. 1966. Professional Interpreters and the Matter of Britain, Cardiff. Burgess, G. S. 1987. The Lais of Marie de France: Text and Context, Manchester. Busby, K. 1983. 'Der Tristan Menestrel des Gerbert de Montreuil und seine Stellung in der altfranzösischen Artustradi tion', V R, 42, 1 44-5 6. Busby 1989a. 'Le Tristan de B6roul en tant qu'intertexte', in N. J. Lacy and G. Torrini-Roblin eds Continuations; Essays on Medieval French Literature and Language in Honor of John L. Grigsby (Birmingham, AL, 1989), 19-37. Busby 1989b. 'The Donnei des amants arrd Courtly Tradition', MR, 14,181-95. Cagnon, M. 1970. 'Chievrefueil and the Ogamic Tiadition', Rom,91,238-55. Calin, W. 1994. The French Tradition and the Literature of Medieval England,Toronto. Cormier, R. J. 1980. 'B6dier, Brother Robert and the Roman de Tristan',in Etudes de philologie romane et d'histoire littöraire offertes d Jules Horrent,Liöge, 69-7 5. Crane, S. 1986. Insular Romance: Politics, Faith, and Culture in Anglo-Norman and Middle Englßh Literature, Berkeley.



Hanoset. \

Tristan Menestrel





and K.




EmderttL-:-: Illingworth. R. '. Jodogne.

O --:

19,103-." Johnson. P.




Kjrer, J. 1991




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Reid 1912. Tii, Ribard, J. i 9-> Rychner, J.




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Bibliothöque de la Bourgeoisie de Berne', in Memory of T. B. W Reid, London, 187-218.

I. Short

ed. Medieval French Textual Studies in

Sandqvist, S. 1984. Notes textuelles sur le Roman de Tristan de Böroul,Ltnd. Schaefer, J. T. 1993. 'Specularity in the Mediaeval Folie Tristan Poems or Madness as Metadiscourse', Neophil, 77, 355-68. Spitzer, L. 1946J,'La "Lettre sur la baguette de coudrier" dans le lai du Chievrefueil', Rom, 69, 80*90. Telfer, J. M. 1952-3. 'The Evolution of a Mediaval Theme', DUJ,45,25-34. Värvaro, A. 1972. Beroul's Romance of Tristran, transl. by J. C. Barnes, Manchester. Walter, P. 1990. Le Gant de verre: le mythe de Tristan et Iseut, La Gacilly. Weston, J. L., and J. B6dier. 1906. 'Tristan Mönestrel: extrait de la continuation de Perceval par Gerbert, Rom, 35, 497-530. Wind,B.H. 1960-1.'El6mentscourtoisdansBÖrouletdansThomas', RPh, 14,l-13.

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The Author As Hunt has pointed out (1986, 9), nothing is known about Chr6tien, except that he was very well known! The full name 'Chr6tien de Troyes'(Chrestiens de Troies) appears only in the prologue to Erec (9); the other romances refer to him simply as 'Chr6tien'.3 He may not have been born in Tioyes itself, but his French does show some Champenois traits (Woledge 1986-8, l, 1749). The prologue to the Charrette states that he wrote the romance at the behest of Marie de Champagne and that she furnished him with its matiere arrd san (1,-3,21-7); these terms are generally taken to refer to the plot's source and its informing idea or context. The epilogue claims that Chrötien entrusted the task of completing the last thousand lines or so to an otherwise unknown, but apparently skilful versifier, Godefroy de Lagny (Charrette, 7102-10). Chr6tien did not complete his last romance, Perceval. According to its prologue, Philippe de Flandre gave Chr6tien the 'book' that he then rewrote in French verse (60-6). As Philippe died during the Third Crusade of 1189-92 (Diverres 1990,23-32), loss of patronage may explain its incomplete state. Or Chr6tien, as Gerbert de Montreuil claims in his Perceval Continuation, may have died before completing the romance. Several scholars have questioned these biographical statements. They argue, for example, that Godefroy de Lagny is a fictional continuator of a romance which Chr6tien himself completed, and also that the Perceval is in fact complete, in the sense that Chrötien either did not intend to effect closure, or that it is structurally or thematically complete as it stands, despite the absence of a conventional d6nouement (Dragonetti 1980; Hult 1989a; Zemel 1996). The validity of these interpretations depends on Chr6tien's biography, about which we know no more than what is claimed by authorial interventions in the romances. Marie de Champagne's patronage of the Charreue is the most credible of these biographical allusions. The apparent idealization of Lancelot's love for Guinevere is consistent with the justification of adultery ascribed to Marie de Champagne in Andreas Capellanus's De amore (but see the reservations in Benton 1961), where the patroness of Chr6tien's Charrette argves that there is no necessary conflict between adulterous love and conjugal affection. Chr6tien's connection to Philippe de Flandre is less clear. Beyond the perhaps coincidental link between the incomplete Perceval and Philippeb death in the Holy Land in 1191, their only other possible contact, itself dubious, occurred during failed negotiations in the 1180s for marriage between Philippe and Marie de Champagne, after the death of her husband. Philippe's patronage of the Perceval, it has been suggested, came


about dun:.-: S.--. .



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'dse'g1y'III'€96I elozzegirgg'196l uolueg) suotletlo8eu LET

osoqt Sur"rnp lnoqe

Sury Tnoqo) (S




introduces a major figure whose identity and significance emerge as the plot progresses and whose name gives each romance its usual title or titles. Certain figures reappear from romance to romance; the most common are Arthur, Gauvain, Kay and Guinevere. Women are less often named; of noble birth, they inspire love and usually marry the titular knights. More importantly, they are the willing or unwilling source of the crises in the plots (Lefay-Toury 1972; Krueger 1993* , 35; Paupert 1995). In what follows, each romance is briefly summ arized in order to identify the major issues raised in its plot as well as any novel features in its narrative composition.


Count O:.-.-


Erecssp-;....Their ,i -.: : Erec parc,-- .. : she again r-Mabon&Sr.:.:-

another r...: torious. .\. :. " :. Brittanr.


Thecr:>.: Erec et Enide

The first part of Chrötien's first Arthurian romance interlaces two adventures: the Hunt for the White Stag and the Sparrow-hawk Contest. Each adventure serves to identify the most beautiful woman. Erec does not take part in the hunt. Instead, he acts as escort for Guinevere and encounters a discourteous knight, Yder, who insults the queen by allowing his dwarf to strike both her companion and Erec himself. Being unarmed, Erec follows Yder to a town, where he obtains armour from an impoverished knight and meets the latter's beautiful daughter. He challenges Yder in the Sparrow-hawk Contest and defeats him; the daughter receives the prize. Erec asks for her hand in marriage and goes with her to Arthur's court, where all agree that she should receive the Kiss of the White Stag. When Erec marries her, we learn her name: Enide. After a tournament, the couple departs for Carnant, the court of Erec's father King Lac. This ends the first part. The second part relates a crisis in the marriage. Because Erec neglects tournaments for his beloved wife, almost everyone accuses him of recreantise (failure to act as a knight should, 2462-63, 2551). Enide is deeply troubled by these complaints, fearing that she has caused him to lose his honour, and reveals her concern to her husband one morning in bed. The change in their marriage is dramatic. Although Erec admits that he must do something to rectify the situation (2572-73), he does not embark on a round of tournaments. Rather he sets out'en aventure' (2763) with Enide. Erec does not repudiate his wife. However, although he may treat his wife correctly by the standards of the time, he no longer seems to regard her as his beloved: she is still his feme, but no longer his amie (Sargent-Baur 1979-80). He orders her to remain silent unless he grants her permission to speak. During their quest, they meet and overcome violent threats to both husband and wife. While Erec is always victorious in combat, Enide does not obey her husband's injunction to remain silent when she sees danger. Finally exhausted, Erec collapses, to all appearances dead. A knight with the sirrister name of




martial pi,,- ,' :' to that ca .t : in the Hi.: :


H. :.:in their r;


victories .:.' does not ,:f I :









The first p... Constantr-




in Brittani. .-* =

to Englli r- -


Alixandre . -l (Nolting-H -. .give voice : mutual deC -; . * After tir; -: elder broth =:

Alixandre . .: marry, So ..- -. Fönice,




she is uou .. Thess ala. i. - - .

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mid-point of the text) with a potion that causes him to fall asleep each night and merely dream that he makes love to his wife; in this way F6nice will not give Alis an heir. Whilst the Greeks are returning from Cologne, the Duke of Saxony tries to abduct F6nice, but Clig6s rescues her. Later, after triumphs in tournaments in England, Clig6s and Fönice confess their love. F6nice again enlists the help of Thessala, who prepares a potion that makes her appear to be dead; Clig6s will free her from the tomb and take her to a secret hideaway. However, sharp-eyed doctors from Salerno see through the deception and torture F6nice to make her confess. But a band of women defenestrate the doctors and F6nice is entombed. Clig6s rescues her at night and the lovers lead a life of solitary bliss until, unexpectedly discovered, they flee to Arthur's court. Alis dies of jealous rage after learning the truth about his unconsummated marriage. Cligös and F6nice marry and are crowned. Succeeding emperors, fearing Alis's fate, establish the harem. Deception and treachery are rife in Cligös; Angr6s betrays Arthur and, in order to capture it, Alixandre deceives the defenders of Windsor Castle. Alis breaks his oath never to marry, but F6nice, refusing to give her body to both her husband and her lover, retains her virginity through deception. When she does 'elope'with Clig6s, she still insists on secrecy. But they are betrayed, and she and Clig6s become exemplary of secret adulterers.

Durins :-.; :,Guine\ er- r-- : -: 1. 3660. t



her honLrll: B . -. -

Lancelot. .' . -' forgedleti=. - :.

chooseiri.>:--*" his jailer'= , -ment. tire i -... ' 5654). th;:-. . :maidens ',," -:.' return ttr l'r--


it ;t r :

The Charrette


Prior to the Charrette, the relation between love and prowess in Chr6tien's romances has been problematic. To be sure, Erec fights better in the Sparrowhawk Contest because of Enide, and Cligös, inspired by F6nice, wins her partly by his prowess. Yet absorption by love to the exclusion of prowess causes problems. Erec is accused of being reueant, whereas Clig6s in effect abandons


knighthood in order to love F6nice in seclusion. By contrast, love in the Charrette

is superior to knighthood, because, in this romance, love itself inspires exceptional chivalric achievements. An unknown knight, later identified as Meleagant, boasts that he holds many of Arthur's subjects prisoner in Gorre. To liberate them, a knight must defeat Meleagant in a combat for which Guinevere is the prize. The challenge is taken up by Kay, but he is defeated and the queen is abducted. Gauvain and an anonymous knight follow her. In order to learn of the queen's whereabouts, the anonymous knight rides in a cart", a shameful act usually reserved for criminals; as a result he receives the name Knight of the Cart. Gauvain chooses to proceed to Gorre by way of the Underwater Bridge, whilst the Knight of the Cart takes the more dangerous Sword Bridge. Numerous adventures mark the knight's progress (Gauvain's adventures are not narrrated), until he finally crosses the Sword Bridge before the castle where Guinevere and Kay are prisoners.


the queer. ."': Meleaglllr. : .. Court ana . .: mountinI . -: qUeen. L.: - -. lr = bed. N'Iel:-,:-- '





qUest. L.,l'. - once and :-. The the : .:

What is r:r : extraordu-.,. episode ir. reasonabrl;



::t. - -

over Reas,:':-

only achie',.\ ' 'from dron ... ' accomplisl.:. ;Yvuin

At the begu.: Marvellor-rs F


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had been directed to this marvel by a gigantic herdsman. Pouring water on to a stone next to the fountain, he unleashed a violent storm; after calm returned, the defender of the fountain, Esclados le Roux, took vengeance by defeating Calogrenant in combat. His cousin, Yvain, vowing to avenge him, hastens to the fountain. Mortally wounding Esclados, he pursues him into a castle but is trapped in a gateway. In return for courtesies he once showed her, Lunete, serving-maiden to the lady of the castle, gives him a ring that makes him invisible, and Yvain thus escapes discovery. He sees Laudine, Esclados's beautiful widow, and immediately falls in love with her. Lunete senses this and, unbeknownst to Yvain, succeeds in interesting her in him. After the marriage, the new husband defends the fountain against Kay. Gauvain advises Yvain to avoid uxoriousness by embarking on a round of tournaments. Laudine agrees to a separation, provided Yvain returns within ayear. Yvain fails to keep his word. His wife withdraws her love. Grief-stricken, Yvain goes mad and leads a savage life in the woods. Latel a maiden recognizes him and, using a magic ointment, restores him to his right mind. He rescues a lion from a dragon (mid-point). The lion becomes his companion and Yvain assumes the name Knight of the Lion (4285). In his many adventures he assists women who are in dire straits. On each occasion, the lion assures his victories, except in the final combat against Gauvain (the plot of Yvain is linked to that of the Charrette by Gauvain's role in both; see Yyain 3706-11,3914-23 and 4734-9). After fighting Arthur's nephew to a draw, Yvain returns to the Marvellous Fountain, where he unleashes storm after storm against Laudine's lands and castle. Lunete tricks her into reconciling'the Knight of the Lion'with his lady. Yvain turns on the ambiguous relationship between love and prowess. Yvain keeps tourneying beyond the year allotted to him and thus neglects love for the very tournaments Erec avoided in favour of marital bliss. Yet it is by destructive storms unleashed from the fountain, and by Lunete's deception, that he wins the right to return to his wife: Lunete does not tell Laudine that the knight she must reconcile with his lady is her own husband Yvain. This problematic ending (Chr6tien calls it a jeu de veritö'play on truth', 6624) is, in fact, a deceptive play on words. Perceval Because

The \ ox.ll: rYetasnrilir-J--he appeArs -i: \.


and hunlc],.: : 'mother's ,:c- -; lover. the C):: a kni-uht u :. -



.- .

phenolllen;. ; -. -: and enjolS -;r : proceSSitrt: .. .:

questions r ,. .- ' . the lance r.;; -

Fisher Kin: th; ----. Grail ques:. :' thereb) c., --: ' name. Pe:-; honour. hc the sno\\ i: leaving





complerti':them in {,-,-'-t -. smiling llt,: -: ' '.-n,

- -'



F.--widor,l-ed. .-,:' *' knight \\ ii. * ; effects

after fir e '. ; -- r . hermit \\ h,--' saved hinr . distress (6:.' :" SerVeS the i. . , Confessicn -: .

l9l0*,131 --it is incomplete,

Perceval poses unusual problems

of interpretation. The

first part begins in the Waste Forest where the Widow Lady has raised her son, 'Beau Fils'. She wanted to keep him ignorant of knighthood, since her husband and two other sons, all knights, perished because of violent conflict. But a chance encounter with knights awakens in the boy the desire to become a knight. As he rides off, his mother faints, but her son ignores her. We learn later that she died grief.



of . .,

defend hin.:: manches äg-..:'


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kingdom of Logres (6092-7) (here Chr6tien inserts Perceval's Good Friday episode). However, Gauvain's subsequent adventures contain no reference to either the alleged murder or the Bleeding Lance; at the Castle of Ladies he survives the test of the Perilous Bed and discovers Arthur's mother, his own mother, and his sister Clarissant. He must, however, do battle with Clarissant's beloved, Guiromelant, who believes his own father and brother were murdered by Gauvain's father and by Gauvain himself. At this point the narrative breaks off abruptly.T

This complex, yet inconclusive, plot offers no clear choice among competing ideals. The principal characters are accused of serious wrongs, although their guilt is never absolute. Perceval causes his mother's death, yet this sin is unintentional. He progresses as knight. Indeed, Perceval relates a sort of learning process, an Entwicklungsroman in which Perceval matures as time passes and his experience grows (Kellermann1936,138;Frappier in Loomis ed. 1959*, 190;Köhler 1970*, 250)t1974, 286-8). Gauvain, for his part, encounters hatred almost everywhere. He is accused of murder (on Gauvain as murderer, see Le Rider 1978,226-7). The knight Greoreas seeks vengeance because, as punishment for rape, Gauvain forced him to eat with the dogs for a month with his hands tied behind his back. The sharp-tongued damsel, the Orgueilleuse de Logres, mocks him, hoping that he will kill her. These open-ended plots provide the impetus for later continuations, adaptations and interpolations (see Chapter VI). Problem Romances Because of the specific thesis each romance was thought to illustrate, earlier scholarship tended to treat Chr6tien's romances as Thesenromane (Foerster 1914, 43*45*); Chr6tien would thus be an author engaged in promoting specific social and moral ideals. But since the ground-breaking work of Vinaver there has been a tendency to move away from ascribing a firm social or moral thesis to the romances. Instead, scholars have begun to identify the problems they raise and to relate these issues to audience reception (Vinaver l97l*,30-1; cf. Nolting-Hauff 1959,17; Baumgartner 1992,19-20,73-9; Pickens 1977; Kay 2001). To be sure, there are statements enunciated by the narrator or by a character in the plot that evoke a definite moral. For example: Molt

est qui ainme oböissanz, Et molt fet tost et volentiers, La ou il est amis antiers, Ce qu'a s'amie doie plaire. (Charuette,3798-3801)

(He who loves is very obedient, and when he is wholly beholden to his love eagerly does whatever may please her.)

However, Gauvain argues, as if in rebuttal, that great devotion to a beloved wife can make a knight less worthy (Yvain,2484-90).

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contrasting ideals become alternatives, even irreconcilable solutions to one debatable problem. 'Like so much of Yvain', this ending 'is designed to produce debatet' (Hunt 1986, 82; his italics). The views Chr6tien chooses to illustrate in a given romance set a context for interpreting the adventures that make up the plot, like the choice between prowess and love for Erec and Yvain, between leason and love for Lancelot, or between Yseut as model and F6nice's adaptation of the Tiistan model in Cligös. Individual episodes may also turn on dilemmas, such as Enide's debates as to whether to speak or not, or Laudine's on whether or not to marry the man who killed her husband. Combat can illustrate jeu parti. The martial game becomes unfair if several knights attack a lone knight, as when Yvain fights Laudine's seneschal and two others. Enide herself exclaims, in respect of a similar confrontation: 'N'est pas igaux partiz cist jeus / D'un chevalier encontre trois' (Erec,2832-3) (one knight against three is an unfair match). Might one not say the same of the choice offered to Laudine between destruction of her castle and reconciliation with Yvain? Scholars have read Chr6tien's 'problem romances'by looking for solutions to problems such as these. Solutions there have been, including some secondguessing of Chrötien's intentions, but there is hardly any real consensus. Bruckner (1986*7) confronts this issue head on, by asking why there afe so many interpretations of Chr6tien's Charrette.e Why, indeed, are there So many interpret-ations of all Chr6tien's romances? (Maddox 1973; Shirt 1978; MÖnage 1980; Maddox 1980-1; Williams 1983; BertolucciPizzorusso in Cigni 1992,9-20; Pensom 1993; Döffinger-Lange 1998). Bruckner's question focuses on the Charrette, where Lancelot's love for Guinevere makes him the best knight in the world. The narrative makes the case for this claim in exemplary fashion as Lancelot overcomes great obstacles, even if his love seems at times to shame him or make him appear ineffectual or ridiculous. For example, when absorbed by thoughts of his love, he may become oblivious to dangers that rise up before him. Yet Lancelot triumphs again and again, finally achieving his quest because of his extraordinary love (Chönerie 1986*, 379-8I; cf. 394-7 and 573-5 on Lancelot's voluntary and heroic recreantise). The shame of riding in the cart is seen as a fault, not only by some of the characters in the plot but even by the queen herself. Her rebuff perplexes even her unquestioning lover (433941), since, he reasons, nothing arising out of love can be called blameworthy (4354-60). The issue rebounds when the queen herself regrets her mistreatment (41974207); Chr6tien models her repentance, contrition and penance on standard religious topoi (Payen 1967 ,379-82). Lancelot later learns that Guinevere faulted him, not for mounting the cart but for hesitating to do so (4484-9). For her part, the queen atones for her earlier rebuff by receiving Lancelot into her bed. Clearly the love ideal and its illustration

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romances is discussed, including ways in which medieval audiences might have heard or read them. Finally, the contexts are examined within which Chr6tien sets the norms and poses the problems of conduct illustrated by his romances. These

three factors mark his achievement and define his legacy for the tradition of Arthurian romance in French and other languages.

Chr6tien's Art of Writing Romance The investigation and reconstruction of presumed sources dominated Chr6tien scholarship until the mid-twentieth century.l0 Then came reaction leading to closer reading of his romances in order to appreciate their composition. In the 1970s, modern theoretical approaches reintroduced source study in new contexts, such as intertextuality (Bruckner in Lacy, Kelly and Busby eds 1987-8*, I, 223-65; Wolfzettel ed. 1990*, l-17 Watanabe 1990) and mythopoetic readings (Walter 1 98 8 ; Vincensini 1 996; Watanabe 2002). Intertextuality comprises a number of different models that explain relations among texts. It differs from most earlier source study by taking into account the process of adaptation in rewriting sources. The new author perceives a potential inherent, but not yet realized, in an antecedent work and rewrites it in his or her new version (cf. Marie de France's notion of adding the surplus of meaning to an earlierwork; Lais,Prologue, 16;cf. Köhler 1970*,52-311974,61-2). Antecedent' can also refer to motifs and themes already used by the same author in one or more of his or her own earlier works, as in the return in Yvain to the love versus prowess issue found in Erec. Such 'analogical composition' (Lacy 1980, 110) within this broad sense of intertextuality (which therefore includes intratextuality) may operate by virtual repetition, by greater or lesser resemblance or by contrast; for example, the tournament episode in the Charrette reuses features of the entire romance (Bruckner 1993*, chapter 3). Two aspects of intertextuality must be distinguished: (i) the relationships between texts perceived by the author, but of which the public is unaware (for example, aLatin model adapted for a vernacular public), and (ii) the relationships which audiences are expected to perceive, such as Chr6tien's reference in the prologue to Erec to other versions of the tale, or the allusions to the Charrette contained in Yvain. These relationships reflect the art of romance and the reception of romance by the reading and listening audiences. The prologue to Cligös locates Chr6tien's art and writings in a scholastic tradition going back to Greece and Rome, but surviving, he believes, in twelfthcentury France. In books whose age makes them authoritative and trustworthy he proclaims that we can learn the marvellous deeds of bygone peoples, deeds that reveal the significance of chevalerie and clergie; these two poles of a common


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to refer to his rewrites. No he retells or sources, an antecedent version or versions of the story source for any of Chr6tien's Arthurian romances is extant, but we do know that the source for the pre-Arthurian Philomena mentioned in the prologue to Cligös was a tale in Ovid's Metamorphoses (Marques de Rome, a thirteenth-century prose romance, contains an analogue to Cligäs).In Erec he alludes to a conte d'aventure (13), which he says story-tellers are wont to dismember and fragment (corrompre and depecier, 19-22; on these meanings, see Kelly 1992*, 125-9). agreed that Chr6tien uses the word matiere

This reference gives us a glimpse of itinerant jongleurs, who, more or less successfully, hawked about a well-known tale for the pleasure of the high-born. Chr6tien refers elsewhere to a'lai de joie' (Erec,6179-81) and to another lay about Landunet (Yvain, 2153-5; cf. Foulet and Uitti 1983-4). Accordingly, the expression conte d'aventure corresponds both to the written conte abott Clig6s, which Chr6tien claims to have found in a Beauvais manuscript (18-23), and the book which Chr6tien claims to have received from Philippe de Flandre (Perceval, 64-6). Furthermore, all Chr6tien's romances express a san through narratorial interventions, such as the explanation of Lancelot's obedience to Guinevere's wishes quoted above (Charuette, 3797*3801). Similar interpretative statements by characters in the narrative include diverse rules for knightly decorum in Perceval, structural contrasts such as that between the knighthood of Lancelot and Gauvain in the Charrette, the issue of love versus knighthood in Erec and Yvain, and the choice between consent and submission to marriage in Cligös and Yvain. Chr6tien's allusion to a conte d'aventure in Erec implies that adventure is the subject-matter of his romance plots. Adventure in this sense is whatever happens, whether it comes to a person or a place or whether a person goes out seeking it. It includes the play of chance, fortune and destiny in adventures encountered (M6nard 1991; Kelly 1999b). An adventure comes to court in the opening episode in the Charrette, when Meleagant challenges Arthur to seek the release of the prisoners in Gorre by making Guinevere hostage for their release. More commonly, however, a knight goes out in search of adventure. This activity takes two forms: wandering about (errances) and quest. Calogrenant illustrates the former in Yvain. As he puts it: Aloie querant aventures, / Armös de toutes armeüres' (I went in search of adventures, fully armed, 177-8). Later he tells the herdsman that he is seeking adventures to test his prowess and his courage (360-1). Adventures are, therefore, encounters that test a knight's mettle. On the one hand, the knight merely roams about exposing himself to challenges; on the other hand, a quest has a specific goal or purpose, such as the Knight of the Cart's search for Guinevere in the Charuette (on the common features of Chr6tien's quests, see Kelly 197L, 3343; on Erec's intentions, see also Zaddy I97 3, l-I4; Lacy 1980, 3945).




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importantly, they single out the extraordinary and unusual knight or maiden who confronts them. All these factors point to the second feature of marvels: their role in defining a context for the person who achieves marvellous adventures. painne and antancibn Chr§tien receives matiere and san in the sense of source matter and meaning, by what art does he conjoin them in a romance? In the Charrette Chr6tien discusses this aspect of his composition. Although he insists on the primacy of Marie de Champagne in the invention of the work (21-3), he says that he has rewritten her matiere and sanusing his 'thought', a notion that he clarifies as follows: Sans,


Matiere et san li done et livre La contesse et il s'antremet De panser, que gueres n'i met Fors sa painne et s'antancion. (2G9) (The countess provides him with matter and meaning, whereas he undertakes to think, for he brings to the task nothing more than his effort and his intention.)

The termsp ainne and antancibn together describe the writer's concentrated effort, or penser, to achieve a predetermined goal (Köhler 1970*,90-111974,105). Marie de Champagne's 'command' ('comandemanz', 22) to write a romance (2) containing her matiere and san designates that goal. The artist contributes his 'sans'and 'painne' (23) and his 'painne'and 'antancion' (29), i.e. his skill as artist (on sans and antancilon as binomal synonyms, see Buridant 1980). What skill or skills does Chrötien use to write matiere and saninto his romances? When Erec reacts to Enide's criticism of his alleged reueantise, both his men and Enide herself wonder why he begins to arm himself: Li serjant

et li chevalier prenent tuit a mervoillier Por qoi il armer se fesoit (2649-51, my emphasis, cf. 2676-82) Se

(The men at arms and knights all beginto wonder why he had himself armed.)

Similarly, many wonder why Guinevere receives Lancelot so coldly, including Baudemagu, Kay and Lancelot himself (Charrette, 3947-9, 3982-5, 4074-5, 433741). When Lancelot later asks her why she did so (4472-5), the queen provides a surprising answer: because he hesitated before mounting the infamous cart. Her action is extraordinary, as is her explanation. Both are examples of the marvellous as source of extraordinary adventures that also reveal narrative meaning. As author and narrator, Chr6tien too interrogates marvellous matter. The marvellous in Chr6tien's matiere introduces a questioning mode consistent with the problem romance and conducive to oppositions such as those in jeux partis: the mind'wonders', as in 'I wonder why', an expression also current in Old French (see the example of se merveiller por quoiin lines 2650-1 quoted above).



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'euo snoJorue ue pue ruJou crJle^rqc e 'eposrde uec eql Surlenlezre JoJ sruJou o,l1 s1se33ns u.ucd naf lenltrt srgl 'os op o1 3ul1e1 -rsoq JoJ ,(gsreq rurq seSpnf eJe^eurnc 'ls€Jluoc ,{g 'gec eq} pe}unolu eq esneceq ,(lqerno,regun lolecueT e8pnir(ueur seJnluolpe luenbesqns uI 'sg€c ut aprJ lou op slq8rul elqernouoq tlSurproccy'[e^\ sB petuuqs ,(lcqqnd ]nq peqsrund eq Äpo lou ppoqs reprnru Jo uos€er1 3o ,(1pn8 osorlJ 'erurl u,t\o sFI ul .fto1pd e ur Ieur -IurJc e Sursodxe 01 erurl s.]olocusT ur UBc e ur Sulpr.r sue{ll uor}?Jrl3 ,z(lpuoceg 'luerql e segru8rs ,(lEurprocce Uec eql igec e ?urees uer{ \ Jleseuo ssorc plnoqs euo ounuoJsrr[ pro^i\? ol JepJo ur :qre,rord lueJJnc e solrs eq ,1strg .(pv17g) yec eql o] peqcelle eruer{s sql 'secuerpne ,(rerodueluoc JoJ 'uruydxe o1 suosueduroc o.rU sesn uerl?nlC 'O-Vtt '9961 rerddetg iyy-pgz '6t61 srurool) atlailoq) egl elrrlr o1 uerl?Jrl3 riclr{^{ uo aovou,t 0q} Jo ernluoJ € ueeg erreq leuvr ,{eru ^\eJp uuc orlJ 'lsenb s.lolecueT ur eJnlue^pe IercnJc srq] ol Surueoru se,rr8 ueylgr{C .&\oq ees


ol atp.tfiq) eql ur eposrde lrec eql SEAOUJ ECI

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(Köhler 1960). Chr6tien underscores the importance of custom in his first romance, when Arthur proclaims that he intends to uphold the Custom of the White Stag because his ancestors did so (Erec, 1800-10). Similarly, Lancelot submits to the Custom of the Cart for the sake of Guinevere, no matter what the consequences may be. Maddox has proposed a threefold typology of custom (Maddox 1991 , 35) . There are customs 'that King Arthur must observe', such as the White Stag Custom in Erec, and there are also those 'whose abuse the hero

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ends, but which nonetheless continue to exist' (Maddox 1991,36), as when Yvain is reinstated as defender of Laudine's fountain. There are, finally, customs 'that



implied tr

are permanently abolished', like the custom of holding inhabitants of Logres in Gorre or the Joie de la cort episode in Erec. Although the odd and therefore marvellous features of customs may well derive from Chr6tien's sources, their definition as custom explains them in a twelfth-century legal context, as when Chr6tien compares the shame of riding in a cart to that attached to the pillory. Chrötien's transformation of Celtic marvels into medieval customs can be troubling. In Lancelot's case, we may ask whether love justifies, and indeed honours, a lover who willingly 'pillories'himself for its sake. Even more problematic is the custom of Logres, which allows the knight to take a maiden by force if he defeats her escort in combat (Charrette,1302*16).In Yvain the custom of the Marvellous Fountain provides a disturbing d6nouement when Yvain seeks reconciliation with his wife by force, unleashing violent storms on her realm, whilst relying on Lunete to trick Laudine into becoming reconciled with him. The disturbing, yet original, way in which Chr6tien treats these features of his matiere brings contrasting norms into opposition (cf. Haug 1979;Cheyette and Chickering 2005). Similarly, the incognito combat between Gauvain and Yvain shows the problematic union of matiere and san in composition. In this episode, the combatants' armour hides their identity as they duel. According to the narrator, Yvain and Gauvain appear to love and hate each other at one and the same time. Chr6tien explains the anomaly by describing a house in which Hate occupies the front room, whereas Love is in a back room, far removed from the action (6023-36). Informing images like the Love-Hate dwelling are present wherever Chrötien conflates matter with meaning. The conventional separation of heart and body in love provides the occasion for a 'scientific'digression on the impossibility of such separation in Cligös,2774-2808. This is, of course, as obvious as the digression on the cohabitation of love and hate in the Yvain-Gauvain combat. But, as a metaphor, it shows two hearts that share the same desire. Its very artificiality underscores the metaphorical character of the image, especially for Chr6tien's unschooled aristocratic audiences, more so perhaps than for Latin-educated audiences. He wants them to understand the sense of loss created by separation from a loved one. Having insisted on the impossibility of the heart's physically leaving the living body, he can affirm the metaphorical value of the image, and

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eJoH 'elsel peq Jo s>lof peq s6Jer{}oue sr lm s, lsnleq uec ecuelsrp lerodruel euo iplap rut sawtul 'saquqil4 sap p1ap no ant'yecse4 ese;qdu;ed o1 'ped u1 i,(q16 'pepueJlo oJe sJeqlo puu q8nel sJeqlo oruos so{uru Jnorunq orues lslql\'eprus illls er{} eJeq \ ',(lurrlrsues pue esuodseJ enssr oql pesrcJ seq drqsreyoqcs Ienprlrpur Jo pe^or 1celqns luoceJ oJoIAI 'eq uec Jnorunq stq] e rsnle pue xelduroc 'ollqns oqt ot seqceordde osro^rc '(*0002 telnog i6661 re4ued.ruq3 ^\oq pue gqcnog igg61 'pe ]eurnoJnq ul pr?u?I4 i6161 uee:g ig-79 'dse'(,161nple1g. i6961 preugry 19961 npre11) secueuror s.uerl?rq1 Jo uos crl€ruelqord to snon8rqtue uolJo ueq.[ lunocce o]ut ue{el eq Äprugec lsnu r(uo.rr pue JnorrrnH iy ;sldeqc eq1 Surlenle^e



7661 nulruSurneg

'986I lunH) uorldecep qcns o1 puodse.r o1 se^lesueql roJ eprcep ]snru ^\oq sJepeeJ 'u1ota Jo pue eql lu eurpne.I oIrT 'pue secuerpne sq qlr^{ eue8 eues eql qcruu s,(e1d uerlgrqJ '(gg6l 'pe leurnoJnq u1,(gey ees 'spro,rr uo ,(e1d enlldecep se ?ilt?^ ap na[uo) seruuu uo pue spJol( uo,(eyd e,rrldecep n'q4qt ap na[e osle sr 1r lselrec:ed JIesJer{ eurpneT se 'eleqep eydurs e lou sr r\nd na[ erql lng'\nd nafe dn 1es seq eleunT '1ceg u1 '(slseqdue .(ul i 1-9611 'sprorrr uo ,(e1d o qryA eut de4 o1 lno a"ru no[ 7ot4t )tulttl D , alotod o znety eru IS / 'saq1nn7n,ut nt enb sr,\e ]se6ru :Äro1cn Jo uolleJelcep eldurs e uerll onssr lB sr oJoru leq] sezru8ocoJ eurpne.I 11,

aqt paloalap sDq auo aqt uaqtur 'r(quon atouu st uotutdo mo{ u1 tt)ltlnt


slqSluy ou1'#:ä1,

(blASD lsrnbuoc erlne6l e sun r1 luen§ 'ollrel xenu rnb snoa, zerprnc xernb r1 6ollreleq ue seruJe se nuo^ elqruesuo luos sJerle^oqc 'rr' luen§

pue 'eEeurl arlt .Ä11ecrsÄqd s.111-':: : uolleJedes iq pi -'': pelBcnps-urlr'l * -

s6uerl?Jr{f Jol 'i. ",' ,(lrlerclJl].ru i:: ', . e sB '1nB ']tsqrl:,- l uorssorElp erlt s ,r{ons go Ä1r1lqlss,--, ur ,(poq puu



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sruJou Eurls?Jlrrc,r ' ]e,('3ulr.:

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B 'srnouoq poeplr,

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{ro1pd eqr ot p: UoLIA\ sB ']xolut-r



;re{} 'secrnos s"ri: eJoJeJer{} puu pp,-. ut serEoT Jo sluI'-:, leqt, sruolsnJ 'ill,,:-. uleA^ ueqa sE '( 9: oJeq eql esnqB 3S,r, s€ qcns ',eAJOSQt-r ts tuolsnc Jo ÄEo1t c' eq] 13q^a Je]]?tu t-' L: ]olecueT 'tlltelrru r eql ruolsn] 3qJo ur urolsii .

:sJe^&\sue pelldurr ozvu qll,&\ euo 1nq 'uorlsenb lecrJolerlr e Jo uJoJ eql u1 ul€^ ro3 luedde lsrg Jeq se>1etu eleunl 'uorldecep ro Äre>1cr.r1 lseSSns qcFll( Jo lsour 'uor1e1ndrueur leql o1 JeJeJ o] suorsse"rdxo snorJe^ sosn JIosJeq eurpneT 's8urloeg s.eurpne-I go uorlelndruuru s.eleunl .(1qe1ou 'srslce.leqc puu Joqlnu ,(q pesrlce.rd (8uor1s oo1 lou sr pJoA\ oql) uoll€lndrueu eql ur se tsrea.orluoc pue Jepuo.i!\ 'osuedsns 'esrld;ns e>1ozr.o.rd rtec uDS p:oe aa!rcLu Surleyncrge ut uo.puDlurl s(uer]gJrl3 ßovn- geev' (, 6-882il puelSug '

ur S?EII3 r{u1K eq o} eldoulluelsuo3 ]Jel seq ueeq rer{ }eq} sturelo ecru?C uer{^\ Slestl s??tD ur rotel ]ng secu€uroJ Jer{}o q Ä1uo }ou {purznou{ }r esn oJ enul}uoc §§I





Such interpretations underscore the fact that neither option available in jeux partis may be desirable. Nor is there reason to suppose that they actually express the authors'personal views, or that they were any more sure of what they really thought than is Laudine in her debate with Lunete (on jeux partis between women, see Doss-Quinby 1999). Jeux partis recalling analogous situations in Chr6tien's romances make their ostensible san more problematic than authoritative.13 The principle of the leu parti implies judges in the audience, whose views on the conflict are not reported in the poem. In Andreas Capellanus's De amore arbiters resolve debates; among them are identifiable historical names such as Marie de Champagne. Similarly, in Chr6tien's romances, exemplary content illustrates meanings that, by emphatic restatement, provoke reaction, and ultimately audience or individual judgement. Such reception may well be a factor in romances relying on oral recitation, rather then on private reading, a situation that seems to have prevailed in Chr6tien's time. It is corroborated by a number of his interventions addressing audiences (Gallais 1964,483-93). Moreoveq audience response is not confined to occasional commentary or debate at the time a romance is read. It occurs when a writer rewrites Chr6tien. For example, Hartmann von Aue rewrites the reconciliation between Erec and Enide: whereas in Chr6tien Erec pardons his wife, in the German adaptation he asks for her pardon. Both authors articulate the same issue, but evaluate it differently. Correction by rewriting is a standard feature of topical invention and of the jeu parti itself. Subsequent chapters in this volume and the other volumes in the series show that Chr6tien was frequently rewritten, whether such rewriting focused on the narrative, on the meaning of a whole work or on specific motifs or themes. Bele Conjointure ts Roman Chr6tien states that he is drawing from a tale of adventure a very beautiful 'conjointure' (Erec, 13-14). The term conjointure has inspired diverse definitions and applications, as scholars seek to explain the word by identifying its sources in ancient and medieval poetic commentary, or by extrapolating its meaning from analysis of his romances (Kelly 1970; Hilty 1975). The combination of two or more entities is a conjointure, a fact easily understood, even by audiences unfamiliar with the scholastic tradition from which Chr6tien's term conjointure may well derive (Kelly 1992*, chapter 1), but entirely conversant with the word's usual meanings in twelfth-century The Erec passage fits this meaning when Chr6tien says that he draws his conjointure from a tale, thus suggesting that he is lifting parts from the tale or from a number of different versions of a tale, and recombining them in a new version. Although the noun is a hapax in its artistic sense, analogous instances of conjointure, such as conjoindre orjoindre, are attested (Buckbee in Kelly ed. 1985, 51-4; Kelly 1992*, 15-21). These examples refer to

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go senEolelec IeruJoJ osegl sorrz.rodureluoc slq Jo esoql ut s? ilo.& s€ secueruoJ scuerlgJr{3 ur leuor}uo^uoc sr s6eprua sB r{cns ,$neeq euIuIIueJ 3o uorlducseq 'uorl -uelur puB purru crlsrus uz ,{q 1old elelduloc pue elor{A\ e o1ul psuroluoc Sureq ro]1etu luopecetue elerlsnil selduruxe esoql '(gOOt lolequog) 1{3ru1 Surlsenb eqf ,(q reqleSol ploq seposrde's;r.,t esrelrp Jo uoneuelscuoc e ere slsen§ '(VSyZ) sepnfie uerlgnl3 rlcglr\ ol punpuo7 ap ru1 K;srt eql sdeq;ed trreg urelunoJ ? lnoq€ Jol{}oue qll1!\ urelunoJ sno[e^Jeru 3lnog€ elBl € eurquoc,(eur motl'eldutBxe Joc 'suorleurquoc Jelrrurs lseSSns socueruor rer{}o s(uer}qJq)'(Z1IOI'gL6I xoppel/{ lc :g-s6l '016I ,{lle)),fineeq elqou pue sse.,lrord f,pq8rq Jo serueq} eqt q8no;ql po{ug eJe }eq} se1e1'am|qofuoc nteu slq Jo uor]ces lsJrJ erl] ut sel€] o^U Jo Suruurrl -re1ur xeldtuoc s.uell?JqJ se shi eql o1 ecueJeJeJ eql lsrdrelur u?c e.r ',luetu8es o^rleJJeu, osle ]nq lreru lou soop 1r q8noqtp '(ecueuror eqf go) (ued lsru, sB pelelsueJl uoeq uelJo suq uorsse.rdxe sql '(OfSt).sJo^ sureJeule.ld, s.ecueruoJ egl spue eJer{ leq} socunouue ,(11dn.rqe Jo}?JJBu erll 'ilnoc 1€ ueluo,v\ lnJr]nueq lsour

lsru eq] ttl peleJlsnlg ,(1Euql;1s sr a.tntmo[un apq erl] Jo crleqlsoe querl?rr{3 ' elelduroc '.ueu u ur Surueeru puu Jelleru suroluoc 1r osneceq .lnJllneoq, sr a"mtutofuo, srq Klug 'amtulofuoc 1o osn srq ol apq uorlecggenb luelrodur eql peppu uerl?rqC Äqlr lqnop ou sr leql 'a.m4urofuoc e ilr]s sr uorle -urquoc elrlceJop e 1nq i(araldwocut) ,ndrtorroc, pue (paruawZo{).elcedep, ere suoISJo^ eseql leql surelc uerlgrrlJ 'uees eleq sV 'sunoc qEIq ul peleler se ole} otrres eql Jo suorsJe^ Jor{}o q}rl\ ole} s.uerl?Jrl3 s}seJluox )atl o1 enEolord eq1 '(t(, 'Ig6t plegsdol) Ierlnou ,(gucrleqlsee Jyeslr ,{q pue ;o ,sr ,Eurluro[. qcns tea.elroll 'req1e8o] peluroi;o peurol oJE ecu€uoJ e Jo sged ereqtr seceld SEÄOUJ ECI



JeJeJ saldur:-'lr




cllslue stl ul \:' j:-puu 'rlnl e IC s:-,,': sl eq Sulis:.-. ]eq] Eurue:ur s: -. uor{1Y\

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the parting in her golden hair and the groove and feathers in the metaphorical arrow shot into Alixandre's astonished eyes. As Alixandre, in his mind's eye, follows her physical beauty down the arrow shaft, his gaze stops abruptly at her hemline, which leaves him wondering about the hidden part of the arrow shaft and the arrowhead. Elsewhere, Chr6tien contrasts physical beauty and ragged dress in his description of both Enide and the amie of the Orgueilleux de la Lande in Perceval; Laudine's conventional beauty, again from hair to hemline, incites Yvain's love at the very moment when, grief-stricken by the death of her husband, she lacerates that beauty by scratching her face and tearing her hair (1146-65,1466-94; Accarie 1979;1998, 14*15; Liborio 1982,773-5; Press 1987, 15-18; Ferroul 2000). A bele conjointure is also a medium for transmitting knowledge (Erec, 15-18), the credibility of which depends on the structural coherence of the plot (Haug 1992, l}l_311997, 101-3). Description provides that coherence. The art of description is topical invention, a skill acquired in the study of the trivium. This 'questioning mode' finds answers in 'its proper place in a sequence of coordinated occurrences'(Vinaver 19634,488; see also 490-5; Zumthor 1972,352-61; Burns 1987-8) such as a quest or the usual stages in courtship or seduction (gradus amoris); the writer's training in this skill formed 'a habit of mind' which, becoming ingrained, 'could easily become a habit of conception' (Vinaver 1963-4, 493). By topical invention, therefore, Chr6tien identifies 'places' (loci, topoi) inhis matiere where he can develop a coherent, albeit problematical interpretation of it(san). A brief discussion of scholastic topoi will clarify their use in Chrötien's descriptions.15 Topoi as used here are common places. Technically, such 'places' are'common'to persons, things or activities (Haidu 1972,14-15, uses'symbolism' and 'sign'in an analogous way). The scholastic tradition identifies the places which are common to persons as the following: name, nature (including native language, native land, age, family, sex), way of life, fortune, characteq goals, appetites, judgement, luck, exploits and speech. The author selects the places which are useful for describing a given person (Faral 1924,77-8). Take, for example, the chevalier errant'knight errant' (ChÖnerie 1986*, 103-6). A source may contain a tale about a man's adventures. Chr6tien, the author, invents or identifies this person as a young man (age) of noble birth (family; see M6nard 1984,61*3; Schmid 1986; Kullmann 1992; Bruckner in Kelly ed. 1996*), who has a fortunate encounter (luck) with other men identified as knights (way of life). Although he is Welsh (native land) and uncouth (way of life), the encounter awakens in the young man a desire to become a knight himself (appetite). One sees here a plausible, historically credible illustration of the invention of Perceval. Moreover, since the young man is not named until after his failure at the Grail Castle, we see the naming topos being brought into the invention of the person




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or orchard, a spring, stream, tomb, cemetery or chapel (Ziltener 1972; Liborio t982, 175-7). Such places are beneficial (amoenus) or malevolent in the chivalric context of each romance. They also have a potential for restatement, not only in Chr6tien's own rewriting, as with the different descriptions of the fountain setting in Yvqin (Baumgartner in Dufournet ed. 1988, 31+6), but also for original or novel rewriting in the epigonal romances that rewrite Chrötien. The quest has common places besides time and place. For example, the adventures encountered may be an obstacle or aid to progress. In Chr6tien's romances we should not expect to find, says Ch0nerie (1986* 216-17), a pre-established code of chivalry, for such a code is created by the behaviour of the hero and the value of the code is made absolute by the repetition of this behaviour (cf. Lacy 1980, 27-33). Different matieres may, by topical invention, exemplify diverse norms. Hence, a Lancelot is not an Yvain, even though the quest of each knight includes defence of wronged women. Places are common to all these narratives, yet as topoi they are differently enunciated and evaluated in the divergent conduct of knights in the same romance or in succeeding romances. For instance, the decisions made by Gauvain and Lancelot in the cart episode, and the choice of the Underwater Bridge or the Sword Bridge, illustrate different conceptions of knighthood and articulate divergent norms. Chrötien's last three romances raise interesting questions regarding their conjointures. Sargent-Baur (1987) has proposed reading the Charrette and Yvain as two parts of one romance (cf. Bruckner 1993*, 90-41.te She bases her suggestion on two features of these works, both found in Yvain. First, it lacks a prologue; there are only digressive 'opening signals' (Uitti in Kelly ed. 1985, 199-204) praising the courtesy of Arthur's time, whilst condemning the villainy characteristic, the narrator argues, of his late twelfth-century world. Secondly, Gauvain is absent in Yvain because of his quest for Guinevere and because he accompanies her back to court, events that are narrated in the Charrette (Yvain, 3702-13,3914-23,4730-9). The potential conjointure of the two works includes a third component: the last 1,000 lines of the Charrette claimed to be written by Godefroy de Lagny. The incomplete Percevai is similarly problematic. Although there seems to be a relatively coherent progression in Perceval's development from ignorant youth to knight worthy of asking the Grail questions, a rationale for the extensive Gauvain narrative, itself incomplete and seemingly fluid as to its potential dönouement, has eluded consensus. Gauvain's goals shift, from his initial promise to relieve the siege of a maiden at Montesclaire (4636-50), to his defence against Guingambresil's accusation that he murdered his father (4705-26), to, finally, the quest for the Bleeding Lance (6122-7\ and his wanderings, after his departure from Escavalon, in quest of that lance, which is, however, not mentioned again. These features of the incomplete romance raise a number of important, but a clearing

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further references, see Kelly b|b. 1.97612002, section Fb). There is a relation between the plan of the work, identified by Chrötien as bele conjointure, and the articulation of that plan, not only in the conjunction of parts and topical description of persons and actions but also in the quality of the language employed that, sentence by sentence, line by line, and even rhyme by rhyme, articulates meaning. Rhetoric, an oral and written art, is fully realized in romance performance.

Performance: Orality, Writing and the Manuscript Zumthor's studies of orality in medieval works (1984;1987) fired interest in the ways Chr6tien's romances might have been read aloud or recited (see also Vitz 1999*); the narrator in the work, as distinguished from the author who wrote it, may connote the narrator as reader to an audience. Orality comprises a wider range of phenomena within the medieval context than that of jongleur; it is a factor in Latin education, in philosophical reflection on the word and in private reading (Zink 1981; Stuip and Vellekoop 1993). Llke jongleurs, clerics were active in the secular world; some clerics became minstrels arrd jongleurs, such as those criticized by Chrötien in Erec (Faral 1910). In all these cases they may have read to, or improvised for, diverse audiences. The casual story-teller also transmitted material, either as a latimer serving as conduit for tales from one language to another (Bullock-Davies 1966) or as someone with a good memory for a stock of stories that could be related informally in prose (Chönerie 1986*, 515; Gerritsen 1995; 158-61). The ability to tell stories was valued in the courtier (Roussel 1994, 234).In romance, knights relate their adventures at court, much as Calogrenant is obliged to do in Yvain. None of these possibilities resolves the question of how Chr6tien 'performed' his own works, although they do suggest how others might have performed them in specific instances. His prologues refer only to high courts, where one might hear professional story-tellers whose performances he castigates in Erec, as well as hearing his own romances whose bele conjointure he proclaims.rT We lack further documentary evidence about how his romances were actually presented to such audiences. At best, we know how specific works might have been received in the diverse circumstances outlined in the preceding paragraph.In Yvain, a young woman reads a romance to her parents (5360-8). In the Occitan romance Flamenca people listen to episodes of works whilst, as it were, strolling from one story-teller to the other (Duggan 1989). Chrötien's romances could themselves be divided into shorter pieces for recitation, especially for audiences already familiar with them. Yet in Erec Chrötien seems to favour the performance of the work as a whole, the bele conjointure he contrasts with the story-tellers' piecemeal versions. There is, nonetheless, evidence for both kinds of performance in the scholastic

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'secuerpne Jo spuDl luoJe,grp ol lurod sldr"rcsnueru uqlrl\ slxel Jo uor1e1e.rd.re1ur eql ot 3ut1e1er srolcsJ eseqt [V 'GZ1OZ,(qsng) slducsnueur ?uoue sdrqsuorl -BIoJ Ienlxegolur pue secuorpnu 'uorlcnpord lducsnueur pele8rlselur seq qcJ"eseJ lucr8olocrpo3 '(186I lonH) pe8reure sur{ .ocueru;ogred, su ldrrcsnueur oq1 Jo uorlou eql 'enbrun Sureq ldlrcsnueru qcee i(9661 spe srolle I pue souo]S 'uoxr51 ',(qsng ees) ,(urlnrcs Jesolc pe^recoJ oJoJeJer{} eABr{ sn o} secueuoJ }rrusueJl leql slducsnuel l 'sluoluoc pue uorleJlsnlp'1no,(el ldr.rcsnueru Jo osneceq '1ensn se osle lng IsJo se ,(1uo 1ou pelerdrelur ueeg sBr{ ecuBruJogred le,roeJotrAi 6r'pnol€ pBeJ eJea\ ,(eq1 moq 1se33ns uec soJnlueJ uellrJ.&r Jer{lo pue uorlscrJrsJozr 'xe1u,(s se slcedse qcns iuorleluese.rd [eJo uo senlc JoJ pezur]nJcs ueeq seq 'sryeru lerceds puu uorlenlcund '3uue11ey 'uor1er1snll '1no,(e1 8urpn1cur 'uorlcnpo;d 1dlrcsnue141 '(gOOt preqlern) uorlrpe uropou oql 'poepur 'puu {ooq peluud eq} uro4 tuore:Urp sr ldrrcsnueru eql leg1 uorlruSocoJ oq] sr I€]ueuepung ,(11u.rnu u.lAou>l lsJg oJoAr socueruoJ s(uerl?Jq3 Jo lsotu eleJelr1lr ,(1e3ru1s Jo esneceq 'leq] pooq -Ie{U snohqo Jegl€J eq} Sururrelcord,(1e.reur puo,(eq euo8 e,teq sorpn}s luece6 sll,suolsseJdxe IeIceJ Jreql eJe.r ]erl\\ üoJnlse8 scuelc rc s.ma1guof'satulru 'punoqe plp Jo peer Äeql seurl eq] elercunuo sJepuer plp ^\oH lpetrcer sorlurugecun 1eÄ '(€ZI 'tr'ZII 'e6661ftt»I) ocuerpnu oqt ot peor ^\oH ropeer e teqzvr 1no Surpe sau,nru Jo ocuephe osle sr oJor{J '(rrxx1-lxx1 '7E61 egrnoqleq) s}ueru -euJnol Surrnp to'ocuaruo1g ur Sulppe,l eql se qcns suorsucco olrlsoJ uo 'neqlru



crlseloqcs 0rl1 rr, 'suolsJe^


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Social and Moral Issues: The Problematic Blend of ldeal and Reality

During the last twenty years or so, emphasis has moved from Chr6tien's art of fiction to the way in which his fictions may mirror contemporary moral and social issues. These issues define the contexts in which his romances locate problems. When aristocratic audiences listened to them in the Middle Ages, to what

extent did these narratives correspond to their world (M6nard 2000X How well may we modern readers recover and evaluate their experience? How do these medieval issues relate to modern or current controversies and values? Köhler defined the world-view in Chr6tien's romances in terms of ideal and reality, or, more specifically, a blend of the two. Chönerie (1986*, 3), echoing Marc Bloch, insists that any attempt at interpretation must give equal weight to the authentic and the imaginary. The problems Chr6tien raises suggest how a given social or moral reality might be corrected in a desirable way. The following problematic contexts have recently received attention for the interpretation of social and moral ideals and realities in his romances: the three orders, lineage and marriage, knighthood, chivalry, courtesy and love, and, finally, religion. They reflect the uncertain, often ambiguous relation of ideal to reality, both in the twelfth century and as we perceive them today. All impinge on gender issues. But, as will be apparent, Chr6tien treats gender itself principally for men and women of royalty or high nobility, and his depiction reflects opinions and prejudices of those social strata. The Three Orders Duby has demonstrated the importance of the three orders in the twelfth-century world-view (Duby 1978,325-70; cf. Batany 1978). This social hierarchy divided

society into three distinct orders, the ecclesiastical order, or those who pray (oratores), the nobility, or those who fight to conquer and defend (bellatores), and those who work so that the two higher orders can carry out their assigned tasks (laboratores). As Duby has noted, the hierarchy is adumbrated in Chr6tien's romances. Perhaps its most obvious, if incomplete, statement is found in the prologue to Cligös, where the first two orders are evoked in the translation of clergie and chevalerie ftom Greece through Rome to France. Chr6tien seems to adapt this social hierarchy by replacing Wace's conquering Arthur with a more domestic ruler (Köhler 197011974*, chapter 1) whose principal resource is the seemingly inexhaustible largesse with which he maintains his court. The Knights of the Round Table pursue honour there, rather than in their own lands. Arthur dominates a court, not a kingdom, and his prestige is enhanced by his knights'presence at court. The scattering of the court (Perceval, 812-16), or the absence of many knights (Perceval,3938-41), is unsettling. In Chr6tien's romances there is no significant feudal relation of vassal to lord. A seat

at the Rouni TThis is app;:.: \\.hen. e\ eil .:. .: o\\'n. .{li.t,.i:-*r: remains in B:. . required. a --:.


creates a \

u1a -- --

the Cltorrr... :, Knight's ci:", ; Guinevere .: r. rnotif near Ii-.; : Chrötien's :

show far les. ..-. heralds. toois. :; ences, see o,--=: 300 women i,,--:for Chrötien's : 'dameiseles'



$ould hut'e,/-o .


an attribute : -: women Yr ar:- ! u'ithin the hr::-, women do nc,: ,,

i._qnoble rn'orl'.:





regardirg hor. , only the errü: conduct in tl-it> . Indifferencgigantic her,C.::-

he possesses r; -: 'Je sui uns ht-,r--' therefore asks 329). His qlle]:. as his ignoran\-.'

Chrötien's ronr -: Calogrenan. : of the three cr.

unlike the he:; traders appeer


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go Suruut3eq eqt JBeu Jrloru

e sr ueenb oql o] llnsul 'unoc eql ol 'uosred req q8norql 'snql puu ere^eurng ueen§ ol llnsut ue opnlcur sluo^e osoql qlog 'p^»Dd ur e8ueguqc s,lq8ru;1 pe5 oql o1 spuodseJ ouo ou ueq. a Jo '1rnoc eql erur,$s 01 stuees ailailDqC oql ur uorlcnpqe s.eJeÄeurnC ueq^\ se '1q8ru1 ledrcur.rd eql ,(q pellu urnnce^ € seleeJc elgeJ punoä eql Jo slq8ru; Suoure ,(cuelrseq urepec e 'pe.rrnber sr uorlc€ ueqm'seurrleuros 'sqv speoccns sgAIIC pepr^oJd'urelug ur surerueJ leq] eq lspl1y\ u8rer o1 srIV roqlorq .rs?uno,( srq o1 8uq1ur sr erpuexqv 'u&\o ^\o[e sq le ueql Jor{1eJ olJnoc s,Jnquy }u s,(els ce"rg 'uorleuoJoc srq JolJe uono 'uoqrvr .ro 'puegep o1 eurpne'I perrreru eq spuel eql slcey8eu ulu^Ä ueg.$ lueredde sr srql '(Z-Og 'x9g6l eueugq3) errsep s1q3ru1s.rnglrv geg,(yuo oqt sr olqel punel eg] ]e




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latter romance. Servants supply the needs of knights on quest or at court. The same subservient role obtains for the clergy. In Chrötien's romances these orders and trades are evaluated as good or bad, in so far as they support or fail to support the guardians of chevalerie (Lepri 1991,63-9). Lineage and Marriage Lineage was another important topic for aristocratic audiences. However, unlike later prose romancers, especially those in the Grail tradition, Chr6tien develops

neither the vertical line


descent nor the horizontal line characteristic of

medieval genealogies (Bloch 1983*; Schmid 1986; Kullmann1992; Duggan 2001, chapter 2). Fathers are often named, like Erec's father Lac, Alixandre (the name of both Cligös's father and his grandfather), Yvain's father Urien and Laudine's father Landunet. The only mother named is Soredamors. Yet F6nice must have had at least one child, as her descendants establish the harem, but her motherhood is not a motif in the romance. We know Laudine principally as 'de Landuc, /

La dame' (Yvain 2153*4); her name is not found in all Yyain manuscripts (Woledge 1986, I, 135-8; Foulet and Uitti 1983+). Perceval's mother is only the 'Widow Lady'. Many have wondered why men are given proper names more often than women. Perhaps titles like dame or demoiselle mattered more to medieval ladies than personal names (see Duplat 1974, and in general Grisay, Lavis and Dubois-Stasse 1969; Lebsanft 1988). Lineage itself matters only when it is threatened, as in the strife between Alixandre and his brother Alis over Clig6s's accession to the throne, a concern that also weighs heavily in F6nice's decision not to consummate her marriage with Alis. However, marriage is a major source of difficulties. Erec is an obvious example. Laudine must remarry in order to protect her domain, not her succession. Abduction, rape and forced marriage are not uncommon threats. Because the Dame de Noroison refuses to marry Alier, this would-be husband lays waste her lands until Yvain defeats him. Similar threats to Enide in the Galoain and Limors episodes underscore the precarious position of the wife in Chrötien's romances. In all of them the threat of forced marriage, including abduction, looms when women turn down suitors. Forced marriage is a motif in Erec (Galoain and Limors), in Cligös (the Duke of Saxony), in Yvain (Alier) and in Perceval (Clamadeu); real or potential rape is a motif in the custom of Logres, the abduction of Guinevere in the Charrette, and in the punishment of Greoreas in Perceval (on the motif in current scholarship, see Gravdal1991, chapter Z;Yitz 1997; Sylvester 1998). The Harpin de la Montagne episodein Yvain also shows the threat to a knight's lineage, both by the capture and torture of sons and by a daughter who, if exchanged for them, would be surrendered to gang rape by Harpin's scullions. Scholars have long recognized marriage as a primary motif


in Chr6tien's

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50-1/1998, 59-61). Knights sit at the Round Table, but never at Arthur's 'high table', which is not the same as, but superior to, the Round Table (SchmolkeHasselmann 1982*). Some scholars have linked Chr6tien's knights to the group of young, landless knights, or iuvenes, who serve a lord in the hope of winning land or a wife (Köhler in GRLMA*, IV: 1, 88-91). The case of Enide illustrates an inversion of the iuvenis model, since she rather than Erec raises her status and that of her family through marriage (Erec,525-36). Yet the major Knights of the Round Table are princes and high aristocrats (Mönard 1976; Chönerie 1986*, 3l-3, 37-9, 49-55). They prefer Arthur's court to the kingdom or the feudal lands they already possess or will inherit, a choice that medieval audiences might have found unrealistic. In these romances the Arthurian knight confronts the violence and injustice that surrounds and even penetrates Arthur's court. Meleagant proposes combat there, with Guinevere as hostage. Enide's father has been ruined by wars (Erec, 515-17) and Arthur himself has been at war at the beginning of Perceval (808-10). Perceval's father and brothers died through violence (40049; on violence it Perceyal, see Baumgartner 1999, 59-80, and Sargent-Baur 2000, 165*88). But war is a major motif only in Cligös,where Angr6s's rebellion against Arthur leads to a siege with some skirmishes. The conflict is actually brought to a conclusion by Alixandre's stratagem whereby he and twelve Greek knights capture Windsor Castle. This achievement is more like a quest adventure, where combat takes place between two knights or between small groups of knights, and the obstacles represent the rebellious conduct that the knight's achievements ideally correct. Another source of debate in the twelfth century was the tournament. In Chrötien's day tournaments were poorly regulated, violent confrontations that could degenerate into virtual gang warfare (Benson 1980; Parisse in Turnier 1985, t75-211; Chönerie 1986*, 32746; Neumeyer 1998; and, in the context of ideal and reality, Baldwin 1990). For this reason the Church condemned them as part of its policy of the Tiuce or Peace of God, and it did so more than once in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries by interdiction and excommunication, apparently with little success. Tournaments occur in all of Chrötien's romances, but they do not present such a starkly negative (and thus realistic) picture of the actual conflict. The contrast might well have coloured reception of his romances, and indeed the meaning of exemplary narrative about tournaments, in which knights such as Erec and Yvain choose between love and tourneying (SchmolkeHasselmann 1980*, 65-7211998, 72-88; Ferlampin-Acher 1995). Henry II forbade tournaments in England (Keen 1984, chapter 5; Barker and Keen in Turnier,214-19), a fact surely present in the minds of audiences when Clig6s goes there to test his mettle against knights of the Round Table. Yet, in all of his romances except Perceval, Chr6tien suppresses the mortal or even extremely

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love'has become universal, there is little agreement on its meaning or significance, apart from an obviously widespread assumption that it can be defined and that it relies on a code of conduct or etiquette (cf. Kay in Krueger ed. 2000*, 81-96). The acceptance of such a definition and code based on the examples from the Charuette, the troubadours and the Tiistan poems has contributed to the equally widespread belief that'courtly love'is an adulterous love, a belief that has provoked surprise at the emphasis on conjugal love and its problems in

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Chr6tien's romances (cf. Chönerie 1986*, 451-72).Indeed, this view lent support to the once generally held, and still occasionally heard, conviction that Chr6tien himself found morally repugnant the adulterous, and therefore courtly, love idealized in the Charrette in order to promote prowess and chivalry, and that this explains his unwillingness to complete this romance. There is no code of love in Chr6tien's romances, or anywhere else in his time, if one means by code a set of rules tantamount to a formal etiquette for lovers (Schnell 1985, 137). On the other hand, the modern expression 'courtly love'can translate a number of expressions common in the twelfth century, including in Chr6tien's romances'.fin'amor, bone amor, amor par amors) and others, including amor standing alone (Frappier 1967; Fercante 1980). The finesse of such love depends not on prescribed rules of conduct but on the mind capable of analysing its own feelings and obligations, and then acting accordingly within given social


and moral demands and constraints. Although in one of his lyrics Chr6tien contrasts the sense of free choice with the love of Tristan and Yseut, love in his romances is subject to wide emotional fluctuation, from madness (Yvain) to ecstasy (Lancelot), from love-hate (Laudine) to total absorption (Perceval before the drops of blood in the snow). This love seeks sexual gratification, but is also restrained by the concept of noble behaviour in the selection of the beloved and in the conduct appropriate to the relationship with him or her. Chrötien treats love in marriage in its relation to prowess and tournaments, to fidelity and constancy and to the notion of honour. In Gaston Paris's definition of courtly love, adultery touches on moral issues such as consent. If the Church and aristocratic custom differed on the issue of consent to marriage or participation in tournaments, they were united in their opposition to adultery. Biblical condemnation of adultery is consistent with biblical condemnation of lust, even in marriage. Yet adultery's assumed potential to 'pollute'the womb (Duby 1981,42) is not an issue in the Charrette, nor is it a factor in F6nice's decision to avoid consummation with Alis. Chrötien does not broach the subject of conception, even though both ecclesiastical and aristocratic traditions condoned sexual intercourse for purposes of reproduction. The role of continence does not concern Chr6tien's couples so much as the relation between martial prowess and love-making in Erec, Yvain andthe Charrene. Love-making occurs for love and pleasure, but not for lineage.22In Chrötien's romances 'courtly

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first, 'whom does the Grail serve?', is answered by Perceval's hermit uncle: it serves the hermit's father (and therefore Perceval's grandfather) with the host; this man leads a life so saintly that he survives on the host alone. The second question, 'why does the Lance bleed?', is not answered in the romance. We are told that the lance will some day destroy Logres, Arthur's kingdom, but not why it is important that Gauvain should find it and bring it to Escavalon to atone for allegedly killing Guingambresil's suzerain. Perceval's failure to ask the two questions and, consequently, to heal the maimed Fisher King results from his sin: he ignored his mother's fainting, followed by her death, after his departure for Arthur's court. Here sin intrudes for the first time into Chr6tien's romances as a significant factor in evaluating conduct (on caritas and Perceval's chivalry, see Sargent-Baur 2000). Erec, Lancelot and Yvain must deal with alleged faults as knights; in Perceval the accusation that Gauvain is a murderer is made in a knightly context in which sons and vassals of the victim seek vengeance.2a There is no suggestion that sin explains his alleged murders, as is the case later in the Vulgate Queste. Only Perceval's pechiö is a sin in the religious sense. He begins to comprehend this when the Hideous Damsel castigates his conduct. He sets out to right the wrong by seeking the Grail Castle in order to ask the unasked questions; for more than five years he wanders about. But whilst he defeats some sixty knights, he fails to

find the castle and, moreover, he forgets God. His encounter with the Good Friday penitents leads to confession at his uncle's hermitage. Redemption begins, perhaps redemption that might have allowed him to realize the smiling maiden's prediction that Perceval 'de chevalerie I Avra tote la seignorie' (will completely master knighthood,l0lT-18).2s Although Perceval sins by ignoring his mother's distress, her prayer before dying saves his life (6328-34), making atonement for sin and redemption possible (Payen 1967, 398-400). In Grail romances after Chrötien, the significance of the Grail and the knight's sin and redemption loom ever larger, raising moral doubts about issues like killing, love and adultery that Chr6tien's romances tend to ignore. This is not to say that scholars have ignored the moral or religious implications of the plots and characters in Chrdtien's romances. By reading them as allegories, some have discerned a second level of signification alongside their more literal meanings. For example, some see Lancelot as a Christ figure who actually realizes a messianic mission by freeing the prisoners in Gorre (Ribard 1972;Borsari 1983, chapter 4). Others read a moral allegory into the same romance; Lancelot's love is lust, and therefore medieval audiences, accustomed to moral allegory, will have readily interpreted the romance in this context. Similar approaches uncover allegories in his other romances (Robertson Jr 1951 ; 1962; 1972; Artin 197 4; Diverres 1990). Since Chr6tien does not explicitly enunciate these moral contexts, unlike, for example, the authors of later Grail romances, the validity of these interpreta-


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Even when later authors no longer articulate the problems in the way he does, the issues he treats and the ways audiences may confront them are not so foreign to Chr6tien's modern readers as their medieval surface may lead one to surmise.

Chr6tien's legacy is transmitted in manuscripts. This medium has enjoyed a revival of interest in their role in his legacy. Yet manuscripts inevitably raise the question of manuscript editing. A printed edition is not a handcrafted manuscript, but an edited version or versions of the text. Such editing involves interpretation, and interpretation is guided by the questions we ask of the manuscripts. Traditionally, the purpose of the edition has been to recover what the first author wrote. Various theories have been advanced as to how to recreate that first version (Foulet and Speer 1979, chapter 1). More recently, the charge of corruption levelled against manuscripts, corruption because they alter the author's original version, and other factors such as layout, the place of the manuscript in a collection and the significance of variants, have suggested that a manuscript can be altered and yet remain of interest, precisely because of the reasons why it was altered, and the effects of such alterations on audience reception (Hindman 1994). In her ground-breaking study of epigonal romances, Schmolke-Hasselmann (1980*, 116-1711998,142-3) demonstrated the detailed, often profound ways in which these works rewrite and reinterpret Chr6tien as model.27 The modern interpreter is confronted with a problem in evaluating such emulation. To what extent was such rewriting evident to medieval audiences? Since the horizon of expectation, or the way in which past readings prepare expectations for future readings, actually varies from person to person, we are obliged to adopt a prudent view of the possible scope of intertextual reception that we can know and evaluate. If the author of Durmart le Galois corrected Erec (Schmolke-Hasselmann 1980*, 146-81t998,I77-80), appreciation of the adaptation would be different for those ignorant of Erec from that of those who knew his romance (assuming that they did reflect on the differences). Scholars must be cautious in assigning intertextual links that may never have occurred to contemporary audiences. This applies especially to Latin allusions for audiences ignorant of Latin.28 Chr6tien's romances disappeared from view in the late Middle Ages, to be rediscovered in the eighteenth century (Busby 1998). Scholarly reception has today restored Chr6tien's writings to the prominence they once had. First seeking his sources, then assessing his artistic quality and achievements, scholars now draw on his romances to illustrate current theoretical or methodological controversies on matters of language and interpretation. There have emerged as well important sociological, psychoanalytical, mythopoetic, feminist and other readings, to cite the most prominent today. No doubt Chrötien and his audiences would have been baffled by some of these readings. Yet such readings assist us in understanding how rich his marvellous adventures are, as they acquire additional meanings in ways that neither he nor his immediate audiences could have imagined.

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Badel, P. Y. 1975. 'Rh6torique et pol6mique dans les prologues de romans au Moyen Age', Lit törature, 20, 8l-94. Baldwin, J. Vf 1990. 'Jean Renart et le tournoi de Saint-Trond: une conjonction de l'histoire et de la litt6rature', Annales, 45, 565-88. Barbero, A. 1987. L'aristocrazia nella societd francese del medioevo: analisi delle fonti letterarie ( secoli X-XIII ), Bologna. Barron, W. R. J. 1987 . Englßh Medieval Romance,London and New York. Batany, J. 1978. 'Dlbellator at chevalier dans le sch6ma des "trois ordres" (6tude sÖmantique)', in La Guerre et la paix; frontiäres et violences au Moyen Äge,Parrs,23-34. Baumgartner, E. 1986. 'Temps lin6aire, temps circulaire et öcriture romanesque (XII"-XIII" siöcles)', in T. Bellenger ed. Le Temps et la duröe dans la littörature au Moyen Äge et ii la Renaissance: actes du colloque organisö par le Centre de Recherche sur la Littörature du Moyen Äge et de la Renaissance de l'Universitö de Reims (novembre 1984),Pais,7-21. Baumgartner 1992. Chrötien de Troyes: Yvain, Lancelot, la charrette et le lion,Paris. Baumgartner 1995. Le Röcit mödiöval, XIP-XIIP siöcles,Paris. Baumgartner 1999. Chrötien de Troyes: Le Conte du Graal, Paris. Baumgartner 2003. Romans de la Table Ronde de Chrötien de Troyes: Erec et Enide, Cligös, Le Chevalier au Lion, Le Chevalier de la Charrette de Chrötien de Troyes,Paris. Benson, L. D. 1980. 'The Tournament in the Romances of Chrötien de Troyes arrd L'Histoire de Guillaume le Maröchal', 5MC,14,1-24, 147-52. Benton, J. F. 1961. 'The Court of Champagne as a Literary Center', 9pec,36,551-91. Berthelot,A. 1993.'TheRomance asconjointure of Brief Narratives', Esp,33,5l-60. Bertolucci, V. 1960. 'Commento retorico all'Erec e al Cligös', SMV,8,9-51. Bertolucci Pizzorusso, V., in F. Cigni ed. 1992. Bibliografia degli studi italiani di materia arturiana ( 1940-1990 ), Fasano, 9-20. Bezzola, R. R. 1944-63. Les Origines et la formation de la littörature courtoise en Occident (500 1200).3 vols. Paris. Bogdanow, F. 1966. The Romance of the Grail: A Study of the Structure and Genesis of a ThirteenthCentury Arthurian Prose Romance, Manchester. Borsari, A. V. 1983. Lancillotto liberato: una ricerca intorno al'fin amant' e all'eroe liberatore, Florence.

Bouch6, T., and H. Charpentier. 1990. Le Rire au Moyen Äge dans la littörature et dans les arts, Bordeaux. Brault, G.J. 1972. 'Chr6tien deTroyes'Lancelot:TheEyeandtheHeart', BBIAS,24,142-53. Broadhurst, K. M. 1996. 'Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine: Patrons of Literature in French?', Viator, 21, 53-84. Bruckner, M. T. 1986-7. An Interpreter's Dilemma: Why are there so many Interpretations of Chrötien's Chevalier de la Charuette?', RPh,40, 159-80. Bullock-Davies, C. 1966. Professional Interpreters and the Matter of Britain, Cardiff. Bullock-Davies. 1981'Chr6tien de Troyes and England', AL, I, I 61. Burgess, G. S. 1984. Chrötien de Troyes: Erec et Enide, London. Buridant, C. 1980. 'Les Binömes synonymiques: esquisse d'une histoire des couples de synonymes du Moyen Age au XVII" sidcle', Bullet in du Centre d' Analy se du Dis cours, 4, 5 7 g. Burns, E. J. 1987-8. 'Quest and Questioning inthe Conte du Graal , RPh,41,251-66. Busby, K. 1998. 'Roman breton et chanson de geste au XVIII" siöcle', in Echoes of the Epic: Studies in Honor of Gerard J. Brault, Birmingham, AL, 1748. Busby, K., T. Nixon, A. Stones, and L. Walters eds. 1993. Les Manuscrits de Chrötien de TroyeslThe Manuscripts of Chrötien de Troyes,2 vols, Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA. Carasso-Bulow,L. 1976. The Merveilleux in Chrötien de Troyes' Romances, Geneva. Carroll, C. W. 1994. 'Quelques observations sur les reflets de la cour d'Henri II dans l'euvre de Chr6tien de Troyes', CC M, 31, 33-9.

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t84 Roques,

M. 1952.'Le Scribe Guiot et le manuscrit

frangais 794 de la Bibliothöque Nationale',

Acadämie des Inscriptions et Belles Lettres: comptes rendus,2l2. Rossi, L. 1987. 'Chr6tien de Troyes e i trovatori: Tristan, Linhaura, Carestia', YR, 46,26-62.

rose: modöles et pröceptes de la sociabilit6 m6di6vale', in Montandoned. Pour une histoire des traitös de savoir-vivre en Europe, Clermont-Ferrand,



C. 1994.'Le Legs de la

l[ll] :,



l'approc'ltt ti'. Weber,

H. 19-ö r

Williams. H. F -" R. T. Pickens --


A. 1999. The Tournament and Literature: Literary Representations of the Medieval Tournament in Old French Works, I150 1226, New York and Canterbury. Sargent-Baur, B. N. 1979-80. 'Erec's Enide: "sa fame ou s'amie"?', RPh,33,373-87. Sargent-Baur 1983+. 'Promotion to Knighthood in the Romances of Chr6tien de Troyes', ÄPft, Santina, M.

37 ,393-408. Sargent-Baur 1987. 'The Missing Prologue of Chrötien's Chevalier au Lion', FS, 41, 38 5-94. Sargent-Baur 2000. La Destre et la senestre: ötude sur le Conte du Graal de Chrötien de Troyes, Amsterdam. Schmid, E. 1986. Familiengeschichte und Heilsmythologie: die Verwandtschaftsstrukturen in den französischenunddeutschen Gralromanendes 12. und 13. Jahrhunderts, Tübingen. Schmitt, J.-C. 1990. La Raison des gestes dans l'Occident mädiöval,Paris. Schnell, R. 1985. Causa amoris: Liebeskonzeption und Liebesdarstellung in der miltelalterlichen

Literatur, Bern and Munich. Schnell 1998. 'The Discourse on Marriage in the Middle Ages', Spec,73,77l*86. Schöning, U. 1991. Thebenroman-Eneasroman-Trojaroman: Studien zur Rezeption der Antike in der französischen Literatur des 12. Jahrhunderls, Tübingen. Shirt, D. J. 1978. 'Chr6tien's Charrette and its Critics,1964-74', MLR,73,38-50. Shirt 1982. 'Cligös - A Twelfth-Century Matrimonial Case-Book?', FMLS, 18, 75-89. Stuip, R. E. V., and C. Vellekoop eds 1993. Oraliteit en schriftculturzr, Hilversum. Sylvester, L. 1998. 'Reading Rape in Medieval Literature', StMed,10, 120-35. Topsfield, L. T. 1981. Chrötien de Troyes: A Study of the Arthurian Romances, Cambridge. Turnier = Das ritterliche Turnier im Mittelalter: Beitröge zu einer vergleichenden Formen- und Verhaltensgeschichte des Rittertums,

Göttingen, 1985.

Tuve, R. 1966. Allegorical Imagery: Some Mediaeval Books and their Posterity,Princeton. Uitti, K. D. ed. 1987. The Poetics of Textual Criticism: The Old French Example,in Esp,27:1. Uitti and A. Foulet. 1988. 'On Editing Chrötien de Tioyes: Lancelot's Two Steps and their Context',

Spec,63,27l-92. Värvaro, A. 2001. 'Elaboration des textes et modalit6s du r6cit dans la litt6rature frangaise m6di6vale', Rom, 119,1-75. Vielliard, F. 1998. 'Le Manuscrit avant I'auteur: diffusion et conservation de la littörature m6di6vale en ancien frangais (XII"-X[I" siöcles)', TL, 11,39-53. Villa, C. 1996.'Per Erec,14: "une molt bele conjointure"', in Studi difilologia offerti Avalle,Mllan,453-72. Vinaver, E. 19 634.'From Epic to Romance', B J kL, 46, 47 6-503.


D'Arco Silvio

Vincensini, J.-J. 1996. Pensöe mythique et naruations mödiövales,Paris. Yitz, E. B. 1991 . 'Rereading Rape in Medieval Literature: Literary, Historical, and Theoretical Reflections', ÄÄ, 88, 1-26. Voicu, M. 1990. 'Une ömeute communale au XII" siöcle ou "le monde bestourn6"', Analele Universitä1ii BucareSti: limbi Si literaturi strdine,39, 62-8. Wallen, M. 1982. 'Significant Variations in the Burgundian Prose Version of Erec et Enide', Med.

Aev,51,181-96. Walter, P. 1988. Canicule: essai de mythologie sur Yvain de Chrötien de Troyes,Paris. Watanabe, K. 1996. 'L Ironie dans l'euvre de Chr6tien de Troyes: de l'approche rh6torique ä l'approche mythologique', Pespectives mödiövales, 22, 804.

Gral', At'uticii'


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V ARTHUR IN THE NARRATIVE LAY Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner and Glyn S. Burgess Often referred to as Breton lays, narrative lays (lais\ are predominantly short stories of love and adventure in verse. The existence of analogous genres such as the fabliau and the dit makes it diflicult to establish a definitive corpus of extant lays, but there is general agreement that the twelve poems found in London,

British Library, MS Harley 978, normally attributed to an author known as Marie de France, are not only lays but the very model of the genre. Marie's poems, known collectively as the Lais, occtr in the Harley manuscript in the following order: Guigemar, Equitan, Le Fresne, Bisclavret, Lanval, Les Deus Amanz, Yonec, Laüstic, Milun, Chaitivel, Chevrefoil and Eliduc.l In addition, there are eleven lays by unknown authors which are commonly designated as anonymous Breton lays. In alphabetical order they are: Desirö, Doon, Espine, Graelent, Guingamor, Lecheor, Melion, Nabaret, Trot, Tydorel and Tyolet. A, further dOzen or So poemq SOme anonymous, others with named authors, are also generally classed as lays: Amours, Aristote, Conseil, Cor, Espervier, Haveloc, Ignaure, Mantel, Narcisus, Oiselet, Ombre and Piramus et Thisbö.2 Whatever their category, the lays vary greatly in theme and tone, and they have been variously classified as realistic, supernatural, courtly, classical, didactic, parodic, etc. (Damon 1929; Williams 1964; Donovan 1969). It could also be said

that the lays in the first two categories are more specifically Breton, either because they themselves claim to be Breton in origin or inspiration or because their themes relate more to Celtic material than that of many of the poems in the third group.3 This chapter will begin by examining the Lais of Marie de France, with particular reference to Lanval and Chevrefoil, the two Arthurian lays in her collection, then proceed to a discussion of the anonymous lays, especially the specifically Arthurian lays, Melion, Tyolet and Trot, and those with links to the Lanval story, Graelent, Guingamor and Desirö. The Lai du Cor and the Lai du Cort Mantel, the only Arthurian lays amongst those remaining, will be discussed at the end of this chapter.

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Longsword (illegitimate son of Henry II and Rosamund Clifford, Earl of Salisbury from 1196), and William of Gloucester (d. 1183, friend of Henry II, son of the scholar and literary patron Robert of Gloucester). Each one presents tantalizingpossibilities for making connections with candidates for the historical Marie and the patron of her Lais, who is usually recognized as Henry II (1154-89), but sometimes identified with Henry the Young King (crowned in 1 1 70 but predeceased his father in 1 1 83). The chronological ordering and dating of Marie's works by modern critics generally take these possible identifications into account: the Lais between 1160 and 1189 (as demonstrated by their manuscript transmission, some individual lays appear to have been composed and disseminated over a period of years before the collection was put together),6 the Fables between 1167 and 1189, or possibly later if dedicated to William Longsword or William Marshal (the latest editor dates them between 1189 and 1208, Brucker edn, 1-3), and the Espurgatoire after 1190. Including this last work in Marie's repertoire has raised further questions about her probable period of literary production. The Espurgatoire is a translation from the Tractatus de Purgatorio sancti Paticü, composed in England by Henry of Saltry and variously dated, depending on the identity of his patron, Hugh or Henry, abbot of Sartis. If the former, a date c.ll90 seems likely for Marie's Espurgatoire (Pontfarcy edn, 10); if the latter, Henry's Tractatus must have been written between 1208 and 1215, so Marie's translation would move well into the thirteenth century. But a more reasonable period of literary activity, which corresponds well to what is known about Marie as author, would be the period 1160 to 1190 (Burgess in Ewert edn 1995, ix). Based on this limited knowledge, we can piece together who she might have been. Some candidates proposed have been eliminated from current consideration (e.g. Marie de Champagne and Marie de Compiögne), but four women in particular continue to compete for the honour: (i) Marie, the abbess of Reading, suggested primarily because of her connection with the abbey where the Harley manuscript, containing both the Lais and the Fables, may have been copied; William Marshal and William of Mandeville were both closely associated with this abbey; (ii) Marie, abbess of Shaftesbury, the illegitimate daughter of Geoffrey Plantagenet, and thus Henry II's half-sister; she was born in France and lived in England between 1181 and l2l6-The abbey of Shaftesbury, patronized by Marie,s nephew william Longsword, was founded by King Alfred, and in the epilogue to her Fables, the author Marie claims that it was King Alfred who translated a Latin collection into English (although no such version has been found) and thus provided the text for her translation from English to French; (iii) Marie, Countess of Boulogne, the daughter of King Stephen of England and Marie de Boulogne. Abbess of Romsey in Hampshire, she was compelled by Henry II to marry Matthew of Flanders (which made her the sister-in-law of





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Jo relq8nep


q}1lvr pelelcosse i1:, iperdoc ueoq a rt: ri

,(e1"reg oql eroll



'Eutpee5 Jo ssoqql.

uI u3ruo.&\ JnoJ 111ü -1


e^Br{ }q8}ur oqs oL.


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o1€p e teurrog orll eq] uo Eurpuedap '

'11c14n4 U)wDS 0t.t,

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posreJ seq e;rolre,J:

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I uee^ueg sn)7 sorlrJc uJepou iq


uI peuznorc) Erl)



se pazr


I€crrolsFl erll roJ s. slueserd euo qJEl


,fuue11 Jo pueu

Jo IreE 'proJJIIf






of her most popular


In this mediumJength tale, narrated in 648 lines,

she has refashioned the common matter of a story which can also be glimpsed through the anonymous lay of Graelent Her most striking innovations are linked to the surprising identities she gives to her characters through naming. Probably anonymous in her source, the king whose ingratitude opens the story has in Marie's version become Arthur, and his unnamed queen, now implicitly identified with Guinevere, operates in a scenario based on the well-known plot of Potiphar's wife. The hero of the tale, known elsewhere with a recognizably Breton name, has here been identified by a name with no known literary precedents (Koubichkine 1972; Rychner edn 1966, 254), while his lady remains anonymous, her potential identity as Arthur's sister Morgan unclaimed and her functional identity as fairy never acknowledged in Marie's text (O'Sharkey 1971). Lanval's plot develops dramatically, and in three movements. When Arthur distributes gifts to his deserving knights, Lanval is forgotten. He is a king's son, but serving in a distant court he has no one to save him from poverty and disfavour. Alone in a meadow one day, he is invited to a lady's tent; she has come from far away for love of him. If he agrees to keep their love a secret, he can enjoy her favours and wealth in abundance; if he fails to keep his word, he will never see her again. Their union formally engaged, the lady sends Lanval back to Arthur's court, where he continues to enjoy her secret visits and distributes gifts to all, unrestrainedly. He thus comes to the attention of the queen, who offers him her love. Rebuffed, she accuses him of homosexuality and he ripostes by telling her that he loves a woman who is above all others; her poorest servant is more beautiful and more worthy than the queen. Humiliated, she tells Arthur that Lanval has propositioned and insulted her. Lanval defends himself against the sexual charge, but he confirms the truth of his boast. The king orders a ttial, and, to buttress his claim, Lanval must produce evidence before the court. Disconsolate that, having revealed their love, he has now lost the power to summon his lady, Lanval awaits the day of judgement without hope. The Count of Cornwall summons the accused to produce his lady as guarantor of the truth, but Lanval replies that he cannot do so. As the king presses for a decision, two maidens approach the court; they are so beautiful that Gauvain is sure that one must be Lanval's beloved, but Lanval does not recognize them. This is repeated with two more maidens, until finally Lanval's lady herself appears, so ravishingly beautiful that the judges have no hesitation in granting the truthfulness of Lanval's boast. He is acquitted, and as the lady rides off to Avalon Lanval jumps on to the back of her horse and disappears with her. While some critics have speculated that Marie gratuitously named her king to capitalize on Arthur's popularity, others (e.g. Hoepffner 1930; 1935, 58-9; Walkley 1983) have looked for greater significance in that choice, given the economy of Marie's style and the subtlety of an art based on exploiting what the

Geireral Pro 1c'= -. ,

9-t'). \Iarie's -,


hAt diflereil,--i


,1ns\\'er \\.i11 f r,i^:

Juces a set rra


\ I arie




to Laltl -:.': estabtr r s:. ;

or),. thereb., -lnd his Frencit :storv. She eSi;1. lt ist


rtlmancers. inc- * ,iescriptions rri . -:tclrseback. alsr-, -t This ali._unnr-:.: :ralf of the tu e"::: rnd unsettled is s .. ,111d those of C..: Jackson (1979r. \ itions representlr : romances. The I-^:

iitost scholars,,r,,-.\rthurian world s \\'hether or ltor :l same materials ,:l boldness.



Rr ,;:'

,Jistributes giti s r,_-

gift-giver thus in:: upside down b\ ,-'. rewards counts. ':and lands, 'fors -l8). Lanval is Io:; tiom remindin q : threatens to ha\ - L a weak king" St-rn-; his court is calib:-, providirg a collt 'into Arthur's b..become a pou ir. -. Commentar) * shared elements :.

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rnrllJv lo^uD7 ur :alnJ eq] surnlre^o qclq \ uorldecxe ue Suuego Äq ulrop eprsdn suJnl ueql ]nq '.uevr luuorlrpsJ] eql ruJguoc o] s;eedde ,(gerlrur snql rea.r3-13l3 JnqlJV go e;n1crd s6orJuIAI 'ecr^Jos srq ol Sulp.rocce u?tu qcee o1s13r8 selnqr-r1srp



oqrr 3ur1 eql se pelueserd ,(ypelesder sr JnrllJV

rutg ap uzutoü




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uo serper rnrrlneeq 3o slrerpod pr, *,J:;tl]';::: esogl\ 'saq?ryJ pue sDaug ',t1mbr1ue Jo secueuoJ orl] Surpnlcur .slecueuroJ pu€ susrrolsrq ,fterodluoluoc Jo JopBer e se Jlesroq seqsrlqs]se eq5 .(ro1s


eq} Jo ruJoJ errros 01 uor}EIeJ ur se IIoA\ se 'oceTyl JolelsuuJl rlcueJd srq pue

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lnq 'qlt't:t :

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pue Ä1;enod ulor r 'uos s,Eur4 u sI aH uor{^(\ 'slLI:


'fi tot (

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highlight their difference. In Marie's collection, the thematic of twinning has already come to the surface in Le Fresne, the third lay, where twins literally born and doubled among the characters are built figuratively into both the narrative architecture and the semantic discourse of the tale. As we shall see, there is in the Lais a tendency to pull stories into each other's orbit through varying degrees of twinning, which operates at all levels, within, between and beyond the twelve assembled lays.

The folklore of twins brings out two kinds of doubling: the duality of good and bad, as well as the complementarity of the two halves necessary to form a whole.12 Readers/listeners who first encountered Marie's Arthur may have been shocked to see him act so ungenerously, but they would recognize the tendency of Guinevere's fame to bifurcate: Wace's Brut sketched out her reputation for vice as well as virtue, setting up the adulterous triangle of king, queen and nephew which (re)appears in Tristan stories and is reprised with significant changes in Lanval. The textual traditions which develop as romances expand and elaborate these early stories continue to furnish positive and negative visions of the major Arthurian figures, including Arthur as hero, in counterpoint to Arthur as 'roi fainöant'. The kinds of contradiction which characterize Gauvain in the Perceval Continuations, or Lancelot and Guinevere in the Vulgate Cycle, reflect an essential part of the human character quite familiar to Marie and her public. Consider in this respect the accounts of Waleran of Meulan's ruthlessness, combined with his apparently genuine piety, his love of power and wealth and his deathbed transformation into a monk. Waleran may of may not have been Marie's father, but he and his brother Robert, the Beaumont twins, certainly function as exemplars of a set of players who cross the Anglo-Norman connection at the time of Henry I, Stephen and Henry II. Waleran, the first-born, inherited the father's patrimony and was the charismatic, impulsive one; Robert, the second son, was more thoughtful, a careful administrator, more cautious but devoted to his twin.13 They resemble the kind of people represented inthe Lais, as well as the public who received them, from the 'noble king'on down. If that king was Henry II, as seems likely, Lanval's characterization of Arthur provides an instructive commentary on his patronage of Arthurian literature as political propaganda, his bid to identify his reign with that of the autochthonous Britons. In the contrasting figures of Arthur and Lanval, a king and the son of a distant king, Marie offers an important lesson concerning largesse, the courtly virtue par excellence (Flori 1990). Arthur's presence in the collection thus calls attention to the theme of appropriate kingship as it reappears in negative and positive models across the selection of lays offered to the king (Jonin 1982): Equitan, Bisclavret, Les Deus Amanz, Yonec and Eliduc. If Lanval's story has floated into Arthur's orbit, it is no less true that the king's story has floated into Lanval's. Arthur notices Lanval too little; the queen notices

him too rxuch. :: rich ,*qift s. acLl L-. : : push LanraX :.-: Guinevere is i i:,: sense. both kii:t

he1' tr,l,ins



i ,- -

\rthurian ide.. h;:

qLleen offers


trr)' results. the ::. re\-eals the trll. t;

\rthur at the e:-\\ ounded



Artit -.:

hence l:-.:

ere told quite


\\.as 'ravished'. . ;

.\rthurian orbr: * Marie sa\ es :'

\. plai: --

Iaraway place. name that

mirror images b:

different orders , tlctional w,orld .--ro rate descrip r l ,-' l procedures l6 ). s.. ; and marvelloui. .., World and Artl. --: as they inscribe '.' drawn out fron. Connection. Kt, --l himself in ä \r tri..bility of Arthun.,. and courtliness , .

stresses the lar 's


text : Lanval's llt - . certain paradi g:t. .

Whatever its s: complemented b., The constant rhe .:' good and bad. s,.. some populate


uncouple the t\\;..

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secllou ueenb arl i :; ]eq] alris,Eu»1 eq]

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"tod enlJIA Ä1t-nrL-\-' .t

uoeq e^Br{ }ou ir': sH pue qllBe,\\ prri 'sseussep{lnJ s.rrE I:'

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pue srurel lucrprrnl polou


sll qtl^\ Ierrl oql go uorldr"rcsep elero


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eql se,n8 erJetr I 's,(e,lo.p $V'O-n1»es-roq q,(pel sq uo go p.rrrnr',peqsr.,\eJ, sB.,r erl rolJe 'ute?e ruo{ preeq Je^eu s€.&\ loletteu eq1 .{q ,(11ecr1egdrue elrnb plo} ere e,t. '1erlue1 ,r'uJnleJ s(JnqUV JoJ lr€,t\ peldnr.relurun (suoleJg eql ecueq - peJnc spuno^\ stq e^Bq ot repJo ur leoq,(q uolezry ol pegodsueJ] se^\ Jnquv pepuno^\ ,(11egour eql'(V6-LLZEI '}eceÄ\ ot Surproccy 'oJII sFI Jo pue eql te rnrlgv sole]rul eq 'pue oq] le uolu^V roJ JIo so{B} Ie^ueT ueqls tlneeq enr} eq} sluo^er pue snlels e)ll-ul.la1 rreql lsoluoc,gnueq e se pe8e1s lurrl oql islpse; Äro -lclperluoc rllln 1nq (luel eql go ,tpey oql se ,{ltq8uqgog w e^ol Jer{ sreJJo uoonb egl 'surnl 1o1d eqt se ,(8;eue Surseorcur uo se{el Suqqnoq 6leopl uerJnquy eql Jo ,{q}ro.trun Unoc E Jo euo} le"roru(rul) eql8ur}}es teqto qcee Jo suuq Äeq} eJV 'sur?uop errrlcedse; Jreql uI qcee 'lnJqlleJun eJe ueenb pue 3uq qlog ,esues e ur '1ng 'senlJr^ Surlesuedruoc Jer{ go pelr.rdep 'ul,tr1pa.e ue peeput sr eJe^eurnC porueuun sq1 lpeg Ä.lea, srq olur 'ecu1d s,3ur1 eql olur JerlUnJ yeluel qsnd plno \ lesodord reH'(I l-60ö stnapuo[Surpre.uor's;euosud Eur]]mbce ,s1gr8 qcu Surlnqulsrp 'ppoqs 3u»1 e se uorlcunJ o1 sur8eq eq ueg r.(lesrce-rd 'qcnur oo] turq E6I

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(Frey 1964). The fit between Lanval and his lady is warranted by their distant origins, but we may further notice how they exchange gender roles within the twosome. As Burns (2002*,170-6) points out, this lady who takes the initiative in love fulfils the role of feudal lord, enrobing Lanval in costly textiles rather than in armour, generously supplying all the wealth necessary for his largesse and speaking out in court, as would a knight, to defend him against the queen's charge. And, of course, at the end of this story it is not the queen who is kidnapped by a traitorous nephew, as in the catastrophic ending of Arthur's story, but Lanval himself taken off to Avalon: 'La fu ravi li dameiseaust' (There was the young man carried off,644). Marie connects both Lanval and Avalon to the Breton story-tellers: Lanval in the prologue (4), Avalon in the build-up to what passes ironically for an epilogue in the last two lines (642). We can gauge in this gesture both her subtlety and boldness as author. After all, she has not only taken an anonymous king's story and given it to Arthur, while moving elements of Arthur's own story to the eponymous hero, she has also simultaneously dispossessed a Breton hero of his story and given it to Lanval, whose name appears as if from nowhere to give her as great a margin of poetic licence as she is willing to claim (Rychner edn 1966, 254). Without engaging the issue of precedence or even contact, we must still wonder about the mystery of sounds and situations which connect the works of Marie and Chr6tien through the myriad echoes between Lanval and Lancelot, not quite twins certainly, but both of them lovers caught in triangles which occupy an Arthurian space. For subsequent readers, if not for the authors themselves, these two stories remain in orbit around each other, creating a provocative push and pull as common elements bring out all the more strongly their specific difference. Here, as elsewhere in her collection, the mobility of stories and the power of naming, characteristically intertwined in Marie's art, connect the fruits of her literary production to the seeds sown widely among her contemporaries, predecessors and followers. It will come as no surprise, then, to discover with Chevrefoil (treated in depth in chapter III) that she has once again taken material circulating among other storytellers and matched it with a new set of heroes (Rychner edn 1966, 276). Lovers

who can live only as long as they remain intertwined like the honeysuckle and the hazel areperfect twins for Tristan and Yseut, two beings who form a single sou1.17 Here we can begin to see how Marie explores the other face of twinning, the resonance between two parts necessary to make a harmonious whole. And we can see further into her art of composing lays as she reveals in the final product the very process of composition. In the shortest lay of her collection, whose brevity (118 lines) is emphasized when compared to the last and longest lay, Eliduc (l'184 lines), Marie has concentrated the story of Tristan and Yseut into a single episode and a single powerful image. Within that small compass she has reserved



fifth of the


close each lar. t:--,

in order to gir e this tale of rel.r. summ ztY, Se e cl.; No explicit n lorest encoulli3:. Arthurian conn-.

Lunval: a coLln :.

tion. More .*qena: earlier in the c.. triangle of que-r.. .lntanz, whicli rl \.oung lovers \\ it,-herb grows fron


common theilte : ,. the orbit of the l_ Two unnamed : ". Llnworthy of 10\ i. tbr Tristan is fitr:. King Mark). \1,:I may Of may ilt-tt . the vagaries ol r',,,. In the conte\r other; no sin,_ule s: vegetable symbc. . twin sisters Le F:" against the planl: . around a particr-..., Guigemar. These wrappirg of mer.,: she recounts. Tl. form in these rh;: in a metaphoric.,. substitute, the S mafriage partnei> Hazel with the b;: both women are - Le Fresne onlr .:. after the tree r t. metonymy äppe.r:: ,,



ol e8€rJJeru s(Jelsrs Joq se toqdeleur durn"ll pue s1e;edncoJ o] s.leedde ,(ur,(uoleur 'pe1ee,re.r sr ,(1r1uepr onJ] Jeq ueq1ypunoJ se.iv\ oqs qclql\ ur oeJ] eill JelJe .(11ecnu,(uoleu perueu pue ]ueuuopueqe req ,(q pelerluoJeJJrp ,(1uo euseJC e.I 'qlJlq ]e pelerudes srolsrs ur,ll'e1gou,(1qe1ms pue elrlroJ,(1pnbe eJe ueruo.& qloq ]3q1 sr.&ou)I lou op,(eq}]er[AN '(sserlsru ]uerrnc sF{) r{sv uerr€q eql q1r^\ :ßzelH olrlroJ orll Jo sernleoJ err.rlrsod eql lserluoc ,(eq1 'pro1 rreql JoJ s;eugud eSeureru eyqrssod ssncsrp ausati a7 ul suoJeq eql uori^\ 'sngJ 'eru?s oql 'elnlrlsqns ? ouorsueurrp Jeqloue ur url\1 slr sr JelceJeqc B ol drqsuorlele.l lucr.loqdeleru e ur spuuls r{clq \ lcelqo ue 'lezrey snohqo }soru oq} }y 'sedo-r1 IecrJolerlJ oseql ur ruJoJ Jel{}oue ur suJnloJ teq;ee uees 'urzn1 oq} Jo e.ln8g olqnop oql 'slunoceJ eqs sernlue^pe orll Jo qlnrl eql elulnsdecue o1 ,(ru,{uo1eu pu€ roqdeleur go Surdderrvr crlsrJelceJurlc Jeq 'ge s,oue141 Jo leceJ Jer{loue .{oqs sruolquro osorlJ '.tnuta?mg tn lorl)I pue lloq eql')!ßnDT ur ,(renbrler prrq eql - Iuolqlue rulnc4;ed 3 punoJs ezqpls,{rc s,te1 eqt 3o ,fue141 'ororl sre^ol eql lueserder 01 uesoqc s1ue1d eql }sureSe go,(e1d pue e.rederd o1ruees (1ezeg) orpnoC eT pue (qsy) eusetg eT srolsrs ur.^A] eql o] ue,[3 serueu eeJ] eql 'A\olloJ ol peel Jeqloue s]se88ns rusrloqurr(s elqule8ezr olur r(e;og s,yolattary3 '3uo1.log seleurruop uorlernSr-yuoc ro ,fuo1s o18urs ou i.reqlo qcee o1uorleler ur serJols Jo slrqro e1dr11mu ore oJeql nDT erlT Jo txeluoc eql uI dlercos ,ftn1uec-qlglo^\l Jo seueEe.r eql ur s€ 'serrols Joq Jo suorlelnruJed eqt ur e8euleru qlr^a eprcuroc lou Äuiu "ro ,(eur rlclrl \'ezro11er(o1Jo eprs eql uo sÄe.ur1e oJe scrqle Ieuorlenlrs s,erJBIN '(ryetr41 3ur1 qlrlv\ uorlerlrcuoceJ srr{ Iees o1 sesnuo.rd eqs ueql\ po^Jes Ägn3qt1eg sr ue}srr1 JoJ e^ol esogl( euo lnq 'eJI^\ lnJr{}leJun ue sdeq;ed) euo poo8 e pue 'ea,o1go,(q}ro.,rnun pue InJqlleJun 'euo peq € :.(e1dre1ur oql ur poqcleu ere sueenb peruzuun otr1 8;/,l.u0'J pezluerrnrluv eql Jo sleeq eql uo ,(llercedse lsotu'nn7 er{l Jo lrqJo eq} olut po^ou esr^\e{r1 seq.fto1s s,lnes^ pue ue}sr.t1's1eue1uu pue sorueq} uorutuoc .(q.re11eru uerrnqlJv Jo lrqro oql olur pollnd 'at^laq {unrpun eq} uro4 s.tro"r8 qreq poo8 e,(ueru oJer{^\ 'dol urelunoru s uo sruJe s.Jeqlo qcee ur erp oqlrt sJe^ol8uno,( ;og pernSrguoceJ uorlod cr8eu eql'ytrtuoT sÄ{olloJ ,tlelurpeururl qcg.t\ ,zuou,ry snae sa7 ur icauoa ur peJelocsrp slooqs Äpooyq i"rszrol pue 3ur4 'ueenb ;o ey8uerrl s.lDluDT :sJrloru u.nou{-[e.ld Jo suor]ue^ure.t q8norql 'uorlcelyoc eq] ur JerlJ€e pereedde e,req ,fuo1s s6lnesÄ pue uelsrr; ;o suorledrcrlue i(gu-leue8 ero141 .uor1 -ecol pus erueu s€ II?A\uJoJ Jo esn oql 'lsoceluod lB sleeru leql Unoc e :pAuD7 r{}r.,ta sooqce Iectxel pelurod dn les ',(llecgrceds eroru 'pue 'uorlceuuoc uerJnq}Jv elqrssod e roJ ouocs eql los slrelep Ilerus Jo reqrunu u lnq telunocue lsoJoJ (sJe^ol eql Jo lunocce JorJq s.erJutr I ur sreedde Jnr{UV Jo uor}uoru lrcgdxe o51 '(11y reldeqc ees ',(reururns ro3) g1es1r elel eql ueql luetrodurr ssel ou sruees elrxe ur uoruner Jo e[€] sql slueserd pue sureldxo qclr{,l,fuo1s eq} go 1q?le,tr eqJ 'oJII A\eu lr er.l8 o1 repro ur pe^\oJJoq seq oqs qclq \ ruo4 uorlrpenIeß oql o1{ull s}l Suqreru,.(e1qcue esolc pue uedo ,(11euor1rper] qcrr{^t enEopde pue enSolord eql rog eceds er{} Jo qUU e §6I

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Gurun is dissolved so that the lovers can unite in equal marriage, instead of in unequal concubinage.In Chevrefoil thehazel reappears to claim a primary role in the couple. The metaphors for Tristan and Yseut, their twins in the plant world, twist round each other metonymically: they stand side by side in a necessary relationship to each other, according to the definition of metonymy, which appears, at first blush, different from twinning. Juxtaposition does not necessarily require, or imply, identity or sameness, but in this case these are not simply parts standing for the whole, they are two parts of the same whole, two identities forming one, complementary sides of a single self; their juxtaposition is not accidental, but essential to their continued existence. Metaphor and metonymy entwine again, as each lay finds its own pattern, each set of lovers its difference (Sankovitch 1988). Once honeysuckle wraps round the hazel, the two can live together, but if separated, both die (68-76): 'Bele amie, si est de nus: / Ne vus sanz mei, ne mei sanz vus' (Fair beloved, so it is with us: neither you without me nor me without you, 77_-8). With these words in direct speech we clearly hear Tiistan speaking to the queen, but where and how we hear them is one of the great points of scholarly dispute that occupies much of the critical tradition devoted to this popular lay. To signal his presence to the queen, Tristan squales off a hazel branch and inscribes his name on it (54). The following twenty-four lines report in thirdperson narrative the complete message he conveys to the queen. Gradually the narrator's voice blends with that of the character, indirect speech becomes free and finally shifts into the two lines of direct quotation given above, Tristan's eloquent and powerful summary of their love. What remains unclear in the way Marie reports the message is whether Tristan carves all these words in the wood, implies them by the mere presence of his name inscribed on hazelwood, or has already sent them to the queen on a previous occasion (see chapter III). At this point, we are reminded of the passage in Marie's General Prologue where she raises the issue of glossing to bring out the surplus of meaning: is it hidden in the written word by the original author, to be discovered or invented by later generations of readers/writers? Each interpretation has had its defenders; we are caught up again and again in the very activity anticipated in Marie's written text, embroiled in figuring out the messages caught in writing when she transposes the oral tales of the Bretons.le The uncertainty of what is said, what is implied, what remains spoken and what is written, resurfaces in the epilogue, when Marie reports Tristan's decision to compose a musical commemoration, 'un nuvel lai' (a new lay,ll3), because of the joy he had in seeing the queen and 'to remember the words' (111). Tristan, as a composer of lays, is an obvious figure for Marie herself. Though she works in the written word, rather than in music, she implicitly twins her own and Tristan's artistic activities by connecting them in her epilogue. Placed after Chaitivel, the lay of Chevrefoil is the second consecutive lay to end with an account of the





poem's contpo


multiple nantes ,: writing are as -:. Marie ma)' ha., = read her in her ChevreJoil's r . tions are not iri-,,--

the arrangenlet :. multiples. fleei,:. in the shadori .-. and Cheyr€./tti,' .:, way Marie has : befits the narLrrliterature assr)C..: Tiistan and \-s; -. works at the r11r--,.1 to find intimllrl, : the Tristan lese:-. briefly in the pr l the lovers' stor.,. through the Lti outside the ct-r,,;putting the lar s collection arrar.l; short tales the .;.: General Prolt-,g.-= certainly kneri -..' Thöbe,s and the i as surely anticl: strongly unde r ,. . . Using ässoci.r . Marie has prep.::: romances in th; concentration. i. = the 'matter of B work in an epi.: anonymous Bre: her own name. ::. Her collection t1. -. Whatever the Lu . today the 'lad] )' .




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fq plot so["] IeJo so{el oqs ueq,r 'ru.rog luucrgru8rsur 'yu;eureqde u€ ur {ro1( o1 Iuoes ,(eru eqs q8noql 'selBcs Ileus pue e8:e1 qloq uo (ur€lrJg Jo Je]]Bru, eql Eurlroldxe Jo onp^ eql uees seq oqs 'qceordde e^rlcurlsrp u.iv\o Jer{ 'uorlerluecuoc pue ,(lurerq qSno.rql os euop seq eqs 1nq t.rnluec qlueegql eql ur secueruor esord go crlsrJelc€Jeqc Surppnq-e1c,tc Jo puH eq] roJ Äuzvr eql pe.rede.rd s€q erJeIAI 'sndroc srq ur uerlgJr{C seop se ,(1p1oq sB uorlulueru8e"rg pue uorlercosse 3urs1-1 'secueruor s.uorlgJqJ go snledun eql Jopun r(13uo.r1s os Eurdolenep sr qcrq r uorupuJl ecuuruoJ uerJnqlJv or{1 soledrcrlue ,(1erns se 1sn[ eqs secuerpne luenbesqns pue ,{;erodrue}uoc JoJ }nq 'soaug oq} pue saq?qJ eqt'rutg s6eoely\ s€ qcns s{Jo \ luugodun pue ,(qfuel pesn pue ,(1ure1rec ^\oDI eqs '(0€ o,zuneuroJ,) JelnceuJel er{} o}ur url€T ruo4 pelBISuEJ}'en8olor4leJeueg eql ur pelleu8rs s{ro^\ Ie^rJ esoql glr1y\ pe}Brcossu 1q?re.u Jo pupl eq} sele} uoqs Jeg JoJ solelnruncce eqs '3urop os uI rz'uorsr^ IerJor{}ns req,(q peSueue uor}celloc e ur reqleSol ue{} 8urreq1e8,(q Ällercedse }soru 1ng '3ur1urrr olur s,(e1eq} Eurl}nd ,(q ,{1uo 1ou seculduoruruoc eseql tno pedderu seq erreIAI 'uor}ce1oc egl eprstno suorsre^ ecuBruor ;o 1ecrd,(1 Euqqnop qSnorqt uorleroq€le eql's!o.I eq1 qEnorql 1l puelxe lerll sooqce oql ut '8ur1edrcr1ue eturl eures orll le ollg \ 'z(.ro1s ,srezrol eql Jo Ueeq eql selepsdecua eposrde e18urs nq'potatr.aryC q enEolord eql ur,(gerrq peuorlueru suorsJe^ uellrJ^r pue IuJo erll ur orJs6 ol elgelre^e pue8el uulsr{ eql Jo eluls aql Je^eleq 'leuue-I q8norqt pelce4oJ ]olecue'I Jo suorlerurlu pug ol IIeJ louuec sru7 aql Jo sJopeoJ luenbesqns 'uorlrsodruoc Jo luoruour eql lB s{JoA\ s6uerl9rg3 pu? s(erJuIAI uee^ueq s{ull 0q1 ur?uecun re^e,^aoH 'lnesÄ pue ue}srJl sre^ol eql tea.ol rer{ puu ueenb eq} :JnriUV go e;n8g oq} qll^\ pe}ercosse eJnleJo}r1 Ie^erperu go secelduoruruoc leer8 eql Jo o^U - uorlcelloc eql Jo ernluu eql slueq se snonurluocsrp pue pe1ueru8e:g drqsuoneler olq ]qSnoJg seq er.re141 Äuzn




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synonymous with pleasurable lays enjoyed by courtly publics in the twelfth century. In the prologue to Guigemar, which in Harley 978 functions as an extension of the General Prologue, Marie signs her work: Ki de bone mateire traite, Mult li peise si bien n'est faite. Oö2. seignurs. ke dit Marie. Ki en sun tens pas ne s'oblie. (1-4)

(Whoever has good material for a story is grieved if the tale is not well told. Hear, my lords, the words of Marie, who in her own time does not squander her talents')

Conscious of the moment to seize, and consciotls of her own worth in relation to the worthy stories she has to tell, Marie establishes in the letter of her text the art of not forgetting one's self ('pas ne s'oblie')'22 ptrnl

and Trot, a dii:-: Lecheor tells ht,.,'

at an annual c;: present identifl c.

this becomes rh; married to a lac'. even goes as iar

but she counte i: whiskers brairjcc.

both these lar s ::. Trol is, aloltg .' amongst the el;-, Round Table. b -.. Lorois's home . and the advent.^: encounters Se\ rr,: guished both b,, : one hand, ragg-.their horses. Th: beloveds and r:.; smoothly. Thes- ,' neglected lor e r. motion, hence : (Burgess 1998 r L to treat love u it^. : Arthur plar s Tyolet, the lirsr : at the beginnin q torest with his u:: way that wild ar.. some game, but ,-- :. of a large stag. I:.. a dangerous str-: roe deer, which ; stag he had bee:. \ Tyolet converse s concerning his ir. vou?'In his repi,, : but §olet is fire ; 155, 189, 205. e i. rnother, who u i1^ . >

The Anonymous Lays The poems considered in this section are principally the eleven anonymous 'Bretän'lays published by Tobin in 1976.23 None of these lays can be dated with precision, but the likely period of composition is from the later twelfth century to ihe early years of the thirteenth century. They are found in several manuscripts, the most important of which is § (Paris, BNF, nouv. acq. fr. 1104), which contains eight of the lays, the exceptions being Melion, Nabaret and Trot. There has been a good deal of discussion concerning the origin of these lays and their relationship io those of Marie de France. The most famous formulation of this relationship is that of Lucien Foulet (1905, 319): 'L'histoire des lais frangais commence et s'arrÖte ä Marie' (The history of French lays begins and ends with Marie). In Foulet's view, the authors of these lays used or consciously imitated Marie, and in some cases imitation went as far as plagiarism (19). But, although there are some clear borrowings from Marie, there is also material which must have come directly from other, perhaps older sources (Illingworth 1975). A more fruitful approach is to examine the poems as we have them, in order to see how their themes and storypatterns are combined to create appealing tales for an eager public.2a Eight of the lays in Tobin's collection possess a structure which is similar to that of a lay by Marie de France. A man, usually a knight, forms a relationship with a woman and their aventure is recounted in the poem, i.e. the story revolves around the difficulties they encounter in attempting to preserye their relationship, whilst coping with the obligations which bind them to society. In the anon)rynous lays it is not uncommon for a mortal to have a supernatural lover (Desirö, Graelent, Guingamor, Tydorel). In Doon, Melion and Tyolet both hero and heroine manifest elements of the supernatural, but to a great extent the characters in these lays are presented as human. In three of the lays, Lecheor, Nabaret




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In spite of her misgivings, his mother duly gives Tyolet the armour and advises him to go to Arthur's court. On his arcival, Arthur invites him to dismount and eat with him, and Tyolet tells him who he is and why he has come. As he is about to eat, a beautiful girl, daughter of the King of Logres, suddenly entefs, followed by a white brachet with a bell round its neck. She announces that she will give her love to, and take as her husband, the man who can bring her the white foot of the stag which lives in the forest guarded by seven lions; the brachet will act as guide. A number of Arthur's knights attempt this feat, but none is successful; they are afuaidto cross a broad, deep river in which the water is black, hideous and raging (379-81). When Tyolet tries, he crosses the river, whistles to attract the stag and removes its foot. The animal'S cries attract the seven lions, but §olet manages to kill them all, before falling wounded and exhausted at their side. At this point a knight arrives on the scene, and, unwisely, Tyolet recounts the adventure to him and gives him the white foot. This knight departs, then returns, striking Tyolet and leaving him for dead. At Arthur's court he claims the maiden's hand. The king, however, notices that the brachet has not returned and orders a delay of eight days. When the dog retufns, Gauvain follows it and finds §olet. Gauvain asks a maiden to take §olet to a doctor and returns to court to relate what has happened. The knight denies everything, but §olet arrives and accuses him of attempting to kill him. The knight asks for mercy and Tyolet pardons him. Tyolet then marries the girl and goes to her country, where they reign as king and queen.26

In this lay Arthur and his court are amongst the elements which unite a bipartitetext.2T The knight whom Tyolet meets seems to be a member of the court, and whilst Tyolet is in conversation with him 200 other knights pass by, having carried out a mission on behalf of the king (197-205). The second part begins at the court of King Arthur; Tyolet is aware of the court's reputation, for he praises it for its afetement (good manners), cortoisie (courtliness) and ensaignement (learning) and claims that it is with Arthur that he will learn sens (wisdom), cortoisie and chevalerie and how to distribute largesse (303-10). Recognizing his potential, Arthur agrees to retain Tyolet at court (314). Later in the story, Arthur's prescience in delaying the award of the maiden's hand in marriage, and Gauvain's participation in the rescue of Tyolet, confirm Arthur's court as a place of justice. At the end of the narrative, he gives the maiden to §olet. Although the latter does not remain with Arthur, his departure does not imply the criticism of Arthur's court one detects in Lanval. It is in Melion that Arthur has a truly decisive role to play in the launching and conclusion of the narrative. Melion opens at Arthur's court, where Melion vows only to love a woman who has never loved, or even spoken of, another man. For this he is ostracized by the ladies at court, and he sinks into a state of gloom, until he is rescued by Arthur, who provides him with a rich castle by the sea.

Melion deli,_shts . expedition he er.; has two childrei. huge stag and ,.r>: again, if she tj u--'; transform hims=, ring (there is ;rls. catching the sr.1 i pursues her ail.the help pro\ id - gives the ring i. use the ring t tr : , spared this fate : In this tale \: by setting up thc wife. When rhir-:, helps to resolr: : Arthur in this i.',. the warrior Art:. -factions there ,j j assistance fronr :. mental to the t1,; Marie de Frallcto a length)/ apü :human qualirie: l transformatiolt. and red stones.I - i comes for him I 'L) "



just as did Lan.,.,. venu[e] quere'. F yoLt, 111-I2). Sr:

linked by their c . . It is noticeab, ; tive. In Trot it ts :. distribute rich S ..: dona les riches . knights and th, '. terres conquerüt:' man of 'grant :t: knights, supe t itr t'

erurl eql ur olel B Aurlenlrs ,(g '(Zt-g),(up lueserd or{1Jo esoql ol rouedns 's1q8ru1 ecJerJ 'ploq tuFI rIlL{,\ peq orcq ot pue (uotrorndat ryaß),sud 1ue.r3, Jo uetu e ueeq e^eq ol pres sr atq n1o[1 u1 '(7 'spuo1 patanbuoc oqu aq),]rorenbuoc seJJe] sel DI Irc, se peqrJcsep JeqtJnJ sr Jnr{uv uouary uI '(r-€ 'suo,mq aqt puo sry?ryt1 aqt q stlr? qnt ano? oqm puV ',suoseq sB e sJerle^oqc sV / suop seqcrJ sol euop 1nb g,) uouary ut peuorluotu osle sr esseS.rel s,rnquv'(Zt-Ot) sly8 qcu elnqrrlsrp poo8 e rnouoq ol .laoq s.&ou>I rnqlrv ]egl polels sr lr to,u uI 'olr] o1 pue l!3ru1 -rsod.(1e.rr1ue sr sÄe1 eeJrll eseql ur JnrlUV 3o uorlcrdep eql leql elqeecrlou sl1I '(3u1s e go ged ssessod o1urecuoc rreqt,(q pe{ull reqgnJ e:u 1e1oÄ1 pu€ uorTel tr qloq Jo se^r^\ eql) ser8o1 go ssecuud eql toJ pue tq uosoqc pueqsnq eql flreelc sr oreq eql nlotl ur ',(yreprur5 '(Zt-ty1 'not laas q awo) a^Dq I tü tuo.rt lpuo1 tru ruott t4t,rot aruoc 1 not .tog 'oeJenb [e]nue,r rns sn^ zurnl eC 1 ienl Bru ep srog oel cuerl sn^ tn1) atu,nt s,[e^ue-I prp se 1sn[ '(691 'puo1at1ruo,ttno{ ol auo) alDq I',enueA so^ B rns epuelJ^.C,) rug rog seruoc eJr-& s.uorTetrAtr qcFlly\ ur,(eryr eql sr s,(el s.errel^I qll^\ {uq roglouv 6z'souo}s por pu? ellrllv\ r{}P\ Surr e fq uollayy ur pecelde"r § D.t^opstg ul 3urq1o1c 'uollururogsuerl go lue8e ue sV '3ur4 e Jo uorlue^Jelur eql o] pue sureleJ eq serlrlenb uerunq eql ol s{uerll pencser sr oq pue 'e1e1s lerlseq Älqrssod pue ,(q13ue1 u o1 oJI^\ sH,(q peuurepuoc sr uorletr tr 'lerzrelcsrg eäI-l']2"t^Dps!g v ocusJc op orJ?I I ,(q pesn ,(pee:1e Sltour Jlo^\oro,r\ eqt s uouary Jo erntcnrls crl€rueql oq1 o1 1uluoru -epunJ osle lng '(Z-tVt) su€ruog eql lsure8e re^\ srq ut qsrrl or{t ruoq ecue}srsse roJ peeu ul\o srq ,(q pelen4oru JoqUnJ uortue^relul ue '(OV-L;€) oreql suorlceJ Sur.rru,r. Jo serlrrrrlce oq1 ol pue ue ]nd o1 pueloJl o1 slres oqn lnqUy JorJJen erll pue '1rnoc InJsseccns e Je^o seprsord oq,rr tnqUy,(p;noc eql :lxelsrql ur JnqilV go se8erur olrq ere eregl leq] elou osle uec o 11 ,(lpcrgrp eqt e^loseJ o1 sdleq qc1ll( uoque^Jelur s1et (ltEL:

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functions: it can expose both a wife's infidelity and her husband's jealousy. If either is the case, the husband becomes drenched with wine as he drinks. Arthur is the first to try to drink, and he is furious when he fails to do so successfully. Interpreting the failure as signifying adultery on his wife's part, he lunges at her with a knife and has to be restrained by his knights. However, he is cheered to discover that the other knights who make the attempt are equally unsuccessful. Finally, a knight named Garadue (Caradoc) passes the test and Arthur gives the horn to his wife and rewards him with the lordship of Cirencester. The author states that he received the story from an abbot, and that the horn, which could be seen on feast days at Cirencester, was later put on display at Caerleon. The Lai du Cor differs from most of the lays discussed above, because of the comic or burlesque elements it contains; it has therefore sometimes been classed as afabliau. But the poem is called a lay (583), and in spite of its humour it treats themes of importance to court society (e.g. honour, power, loyalty). Although failure to drink successfully can be triggered by either husband or wife, and the horn thus tests purity of thought and deed on both sides, there are clear links to the well-established tradition of chastity tests with a horn or a mantle (Erickson edn, 4-9). But the novelty is that the repeated failure of Arthur's knights creates a new form of courtly unity, a new form of community spirit based on shared dishonour. Garadue's success leads to the acquisition of land, which is any knight's ideal, but it condemns him and his wife to remain outside Arthurian society (Rider 1985). A similar tale is found in a text known by various names: the Lai du Mantel, Le Conte du Mantel, Le Mantel mautailliö or the Lai du Cort Mantel.Extant in five manuscripts (one of which is BNF, nouv. acq. fr. 1104), this text has often been regarded as a fabliau; it is probably of Norman provenance. Here a mantle replaces the horn as the testing device, and on this occasion the test concerns more specifically the chastity of women; it will shrink if worn by a woman who has been unfaithful, and only fit a woman who is perfectly chaste. Mantel is sometimes thought to be later than the Lai du Cor, and perhaps to have been influenced by it (Hoepffner 1959, 116), but the texts are probably more or less contemporary (Bennett edn, xxiii); they share the same Arthurian setting and the same hero, Caradoc, whose beloved wears the garment successfully.

The preceding discussions of Marie's lays, as well as the various categories of mostly anonymous lays which follow in her wake, bear ample testimony to the way this short narrative form operates in relation to a constellation of narrative 'genres' of varying length, from short röcits to short romance and beyond. As a medieval narrative type, which flourished primarily from the end of the twelfth to the end of the thirteenth century, the lay appears distinctive in characte4 yet at

the same tinre r,-,f materials and c:.' partakes of bt-r i :. needs to take ii-: centre, shiftin q ': by medieval aui:. critics to det-ine -: take among shc,:: interaction bet,,,. -, only feeds allt ii ,--,:. cated public ci-1r : play (Schmolke - I-i into the Lit'r't, .,t. _




invite readers tr\ -. to integrate the ':.. Likewise., the :: act as a remind;. narrative tvpe >: :

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already operares

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o] poJeeqs sr 3rl 'i Jer{ }e seEunl atl '{llngsseccns os oF

Jnr{uv 's{urJp aLI



s plrrrc




de Brut, where H,--;;. vols, SATF. 193\-,j p. 166), thus nrak-.-. -

(The story-tellers haye told so many stories dnd the spinners of yarns have recounted so many pure invention, in their attempts to embellish fables, that they have made everything seem like their stories.)

Brittany durin_e rir;

This complaint recalls Denis Piramus's critique of Dame Marie, whose tales were not entirely true. Both Denis and Marie give testimony to the immense popularity of Breton tales, so intertwined and compelling that writels and storytellers, as well as readers medieval and modefn, continue to find themselves pulled into their intersecting orbits. IGSBI

t2 See, for erair-r :

I would like to th.::.... 13 D. Crouch . T . (London,

for example. R \ 'Qui cr,. .. -.

15 See Koub.,rc l^.. . :,

1 Titles of lays, which in some cases vary from edition to edition, are taken from the edition of the Laisby A. Ewert, as are quotations from the text. 2 For further informationioncerning these lays, see Baader 1966 and Donovan 1969. For bibliography, see Burgess bib.1995.

.rp..rrion 'narrative lays'has been preferred in this chapter to 'Breton lays',



the difliculty in deciding, in some cases, whether the terms breton atd Bretaigne refer to Britain or to Brittany (or to both). 4 The Harley manuscript (-tf contains the General Prologue followed by twelve lays. The Strengleikar, a Norse translation made for Häkon Häkonarson, King of Norway (Cook and Tpeitäne edn), contains twenty-one lays from Old French, including all of Marie's except Eliduc (Chaitivel a11d Lanval areincomplete). Four other French manuscripts give one or more of Marieh iays: BNF, nouv. acq. fr.l104 19 rras nine; BNF, fr.2168 (P) Guigemar, Lanval and the end of ionec;BL,MS Cotton Vespasian B xiv (Q just Zanval;BNF,fr.24432(Q) jtjsr Yonec. 5 Objections have been raised, however, regarding Marie de France's authorship of the Espurgitoire (see Burgess in Ewert edn 1995, vi-vii). But Mickel (1974, 1434) discusses a fourth *o.t ätso signed 'Marie',Ihe Vie seinte Audree,and McCash (2002) argues strongly in favour of its acceptance as a work by Marie de France. 6 On the dating and the order of composition of the lays, see Burgess 1981;1987, l-34. 1 La ltie seint Edmund le rei, poöme anglo-normand du XII siöcle, ed. by H. Kjellman (Göteborg, 1935; repr. Geneva, 197 4), ll. 3548. 8 In ihe Harley manuscript the two adjectives which modify the author in the General Prologue (55-56) are both masculine in form: they are emended to feminine forms by modern editors, but thelr piobtematic presence is a useful reminder that some scholars have called into question Marieb identity as authoiof allthe Lais (Baum 1968), or as a woman author (Huchet 1981). Nevertheless,

there have been multiple efforts to explore öcriture föminine or look for feminist points of view in her Lais (Freeman tg84; Arden 1992; Rosenn 1992; Kinoshita 19934). Grifän (1999) discusses the notion of fixed authorship for the lays.



(fols lr-8v). There are two translations (in Norse and Middle English) and imitations include Jean Renart's Guillaume de Dole and a German poem, Peter von Staufenberg (Hoepffner 1935, 70-l; Burgess 1gg5, 172-3). For the text of all four manuscripts, as well as of the Norse version, see Rychner edn 1958.


V. Greene,



t4 Laßr versic,-: r See,

- i


the story operates :' rr Cf. the higli.', .':

ro See the notes in Rychner edn 1966 and Burgess in Ewert edn 1995, xxiv-xxv, xxxi-xxxii. proper names are particularly powerful markers for aligning texts, as the titles of the lays given in prol,og.r.r and epiiogues continually remind us. There are two variants on the king's name given in Guigimar. MS flidentifies him as Hoilas (27), a name which Marie perhaps found in Wace's Roman

hero's name as J r-, medieval usage I.

t6 See Francis



Marie's legal \.oC;r _tively as posr 1 15r t7 On doubhni .:.


Death: Thomas' T 'Doubling and ./ir,, l8 Burgess (in E.' -. stories Marie miqi.: . le The number ,- . :


Supplements). See ..:

l98l-2, Burch 19v: 20

In the



ates the alternaii'.


whatever languaSi : .: her authorial pres-.._ Prologue, see Bruc ...-.: 21

Other collecr . :' " like Lanval, make ..: r:

the General Pro I rr S ,. ; 22 The word (r,4... returns to the irlpi,r--:' 23 See the intrt c*acq. fr. 1104: Tt'r,.:, Graelent and l,Ieli,




24 Smithers(1yj,:


falls in love with Li . --, gives the mother :-: together after an a lt -- * 2s Arthur is alsf ": 1925) . This lay be r:. , sea to Denmark r I -contains allusions r ,,

(12s). 26

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(629-31):Lodoer, who is first to attempt the quest (perhaps for Bedoer), Kay, Yvain (said to be the son of Morgan the Fay) and Urien (presented as Yvain's father) (629-31)' 27 Some*writers, such as G. Paiis (edn), have stressed that the two parts are fundamentally the two parts. disparate, whereas others (e.g. Braet 1980) think that the author has effectively unified i8 In addition to Arthur f,imself, the other Arthurian knights mentioned in Melion are: Gauvain (353, etc.), Yder (355, etc.) and Yvain (354). ' ,i yoi'acomparison b.t*..r, Bßclavret and Melion, see M6nard 1984. See also L. Foulet 1905, 40-5. 30 See also Graelent,215-22, 593-5, Melion, 91-8, Equitan, 31-6 and Eliduc, 1012-16' For the presentation of female characters, see Gosman 1984, Kallaur 1988 and R6gnier-Bohler 1980. 3r For discussion of Celtic or Other-World themes in the lays, see Bromwich 1960-1, Tobin 1980, De Ca1uw6 1983 and Jodogne 1960-1.

2534) arguesfor retaining both Segre's analysis of Graelent as imitator of of a common model for both (1955)' view andHoepffner's Lanval 33 M. D. Legge states that the author is unlikely to have been Anglo-Norman, but that he'probrepr. ably worked in England' (Anglo-Norman Literature and its Background, Oxford, 1963; I33). 1978. CT, Westport. 32 Rychner (edn 1966,

Reference List For items accompanied by an asterisk,


the General Bibliography'

Saint Patrick'i P.,, r-. 1993).Incluties',,\

Anonymous Lar


(1879),29-t: Les Lais anon.t'ri,; P. M. O'H. Trr'r^..

Lais föeriques


r .i


Three Old Fren,i ', L. C. Brook. Lr'. =.:



Coy and Mantel The Anglo-lVonticii ; . Mantel et Cor; dtit'.



No'1, 1986, Burgess, G.S. Marie de France: An Analytical Bibliography (London, 1977; Supplement Supplement No. 2, 1997). Burgess, G. S. The Old French l{aruative Lay: An Analytical Bibliography (Cambridge', 1995).

Strengleikar; Art O _ Uppsala De lu (:r. teTe).

Texts and Translations


de France

Lais Marie de France; Lais.Ed. by A. Ewert (Oxford, 1944; reissued with introduction and bibliography by G. S. Burgess, London, 1995). Les Lais de Marie de J. Rychner, CFMA 93 (Paris, 1966)' Lais de Marie de France.Ed. by K. Warnke and transl. by L. Harf-Lancner (Paris, 1990)' Lais de Marie de France, prösentös, traduits et annotäs. Ed. and transl. by A' Micha (Paris, 1994). 1986; 2nd The Lais of Marie de Fmnce. Transl. by G. s. Burgess and K. Busby (Harmondsworth, edn 1999). Marie de Frlance, Le Lai de Lanval. Ed. by J. Rychner, TLF 71 (Geneva, 1958)'


Marie de France, Les Fables: ödition critique accompagnöe d'une inftoduction, d'une traduction, de notes et d'un glossaire.Ed. and transl. by C. Brucker (Louvain, l99l,2nd edn 1998). Espurgatoire Seint Patriz Marie de France, L'Espurgatoire Seint Patriz: nouvelle ödition critique accompagnöe du De purgatorio sancti Patricii (öd. de Warnke), d'une introduction, d'une ttaduction, de notes et d'un glossaire. Ed. by Y. de Pontfarcy (Louvain, 1995).


The Lays of Dt,:' . E. M. GrimeS ,\: Le Coeur lfianst:, ;'(Paris, 1979t.



Arden, H. 1992. 'T..=


Women', in Nliir;-.. Baadeq H. 1966 ['t .

Frankfurt. Baum, R. 1968. -Rr.


Baumgartner, E. 1q-: Bloch, R. H. 2001 T Braet, H. 1978.



Braet 1980. 'Le Lai ;: . littöraire offerrt, ., Braet 1981. 'Tr'..^c: :,= 'Tyolet/Percer a I : Thorpe, Glasgo\,,. - -

Bromwich, R. 1961- . Bruckner, M. T, 199: Bruckner 1993 ". - : Burch, S. L. 1998. 'T. . , Burgess, G. S. 19E I i-




'1StZ',acuet1 ep orrel I Jo s!D1 eql ur .(solouollC Ieuretul Jo rrrolqord eqJ, .lg6l .S .C 6ssegrnfl 'zv-91'68'Y'IWnv oql 01 :s7r7 s.errel o1 en3010r4 orlJ, .g66l .-I .s .qcrng {ceg I g0z_ Lg l,*€66 I rou)lcrug "ota11y c.s!D1 qecu€rd op err€trAl :uorlcello3 B Jo errreN er{l pue Ä1r1uep1 lenlxe1. .€66I I .trAI toolcnrtr 'nL-6tV'6'ilal 'tg';ßel uolerg eql pup soueqJ crlseu,(q crtlo3, .I-0961 'U 6qcr,{\ruorg .

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Athens, GA, and Manchester' Burgess 1987. The Lais of Marie de France: Text and contexf,

Formisano eds n,r.ä.r, 1992.'Chivardc Activity in the Anonymous Lays" in G' Angeli and L' 2'71-91' Naples, et sondouble, Llmaginaire courtois 14' Burgess iSSA.'f tt. Lay of Tr o t'. A Tale of Two Sittings', F S B, 66, et 29 avril 1979' D. ed. 1980. Le Röcit bref aumoyen dge: actes du colloque des 27,28 Busähinger, Universitö de Picardie,Amiens and Paris'

Damon,S.F.1929..MariedeFrance:PsychologistofCourtlyLove',PMLA,44,968_96. ei l'6l6ment chretien dans les lais anonymes' ' h The De Caluw6, J. 1983. 'UAutre Monde ".itiq.r. to A. H. Diverres by Colleagues, Legend if xns Arthur in the Middle iges: Studies Presented P up ils and

Friends, Cambridge, 56-65'

Dame' IN' Donovan, M. J. 1969. The Bretin Lay: A Guide to Varieties'Notre Tudor eds Les Lieux interdits: A. and Duffy in L. Law" the and France de Eccles, J. 1998. 'Marie Transgression and French Literature, Hull, I 5-30' J. 1990. Aristocratie et valeurs "chevaleresques" dans emple des Lais deMarie de France', MA,96,37-65'


la seconde moitiÖ du XII"



Foulet,A.,andK.D.Uitti.1981_82..TheProloguetotheLaisofMariedeFrance:A Reconsiderati on', RPh, 35, 242-9.

Foulet,L.1905.'MariedeFranceetleslaisbretons',ZrP,29,19-56'293-322' 257-89' Foulet 1908. 'Marie de France et la lÖgende de Tristan', 2rP,32,161-83'

.The Trial h Laival" it studies in French Language and Mediaeval Literature l l 5-24' P r e s ent e d t o P r ofe s s or M il dr e d K Po p e, Manchestet,

Francis, E. A. 1g3g.




.Marie de France's Poetics of Silence: The Implications for a Feminine

M LA, 99, 860-83' France', 'SP, 61, lg64.,Linguisiic and Psychological Couplings in the Lays of Marie de

Translatio', Frey, J. A.

19g4. P

fÖeriques" in 1984. 'Le statut descriptif de la dame aimÖe dans les lais dits actes du Äge" Moyen au transgressions et mariage Amour, eds. Cr6pin D. Buschinger and E. Mödiövales' d'Etudes Cenfte colloque des 24, 25, 26 et )7 *or, 1983, Universitö de Picardie, Göppingen, 203-13. Crffin, fr4:f S99. 'Gender and Authority in the Medieval French lai', FML5,35,42-56' of Meulan?', Med' Aev, Grillo, p. 1988. 'Was Marie de France tLe Daughter of Waleran II, Count






Rom' 96' 1975. 'Nature et röle du mariage dans les lais anonymes bretons"


de France" Rom,56,l-32' Hoepffner, E. 1930. 'La Geographie et I'histoire dans les Lais de Marie 1-31' 4' n's' SM, lais anonyme§', les et France de 'Marie 1931. Hoepffner Hoepffner 1935. Les Lais de Marie de France, Paris; repr' 1911,1995' Clovis Brunel,2 vols, Paris, Hoepffner 1955. 'Graölent ou Lanval?" in Recueil de tiavaux offert d M.



Hoepffner 1959. 'The Breton Lais', in Loomis ed' 1959*, 112-21' Ä7r, 65, 38-48' Hofär, S. 1gs34.'Bemerkungen zur Beurteilun gdes Horn- und des Mantellai', 5' 469-8 7 3, 2r P, Hofer 1 957.'Untersuchungen zum M ant e llai', les Lais de Marie de Huchet, J.-C. l9gl..Nom ae femme et ecriture feminine au Moyen Age: 407 48, Poötique, France', -30. Hunt, T. 1974. 'Glossing Marie de France', Ä4 86, 396_-/'18' Aev,44,3l-50' Illingworth, R. N. 1975:'The Compositi oL of Graelent arld Guingamor' , Med. 1-18' 70' ÄR, France', de Marie of Jack-son, W. T.H. lg7g. 'The Arthuricity ,L'Autre Monde dans la litt6rature franqaise du XII' släcle', Acadömie Jodogng O. 1960-1. ".ttiq.r. Morales et Politiques, 5th Royale de Belgique, Bulletin de la Classe des Lettres et des Sciences series,46, 58+97.

Jonin, P. 1981. 'L; Early Frenc'lt L Kallaur, M. 19y' G.

-4. Pörou>;

Fl .

-:.' -

Kinoshita. S. iv--: Lanval' , Rt,tti-\'. ,'-

\1 - ---


Kusel, P. I9T. G., '




'', 'l D. r(tl,



France', in \

Maröchal. C.







Queenston ar:i L.-

Mardchal ed. :tt, -: Lewiston. Qu:; .. M6nard, P. 19E-+ 'L ='


de Riquer,

Mickel, E.


17 -2s . Payen, J.-C.



Jr. 1*--

19-: ' 3 1-6



Payen 1980. 'Lai. . -.^ siöcles', in Busi:-. Poe, E. W. 1983. 'L. Pontfarcy, Y. de. I - -

Ribard, J. 1913. 'E.I, ture rnödiöt'uL


Rice, J. 1984. 'Crr..- : ' France', !i --. 'C.,,-: ^'J-[. Rider, J. 1985. Rosenn,

E. 199: l

22542. Sankovitch,T.


Writers and rli, E: Schmolke-Hasselr: - -: Espee) dans les :




Schofield, W. H \Literature.5. l-. -Segre,


1959. 'L.

Modena, II. Sienaert, E. R.

-5r-19-' -


Smithers, G. V. 1 9 i -: Spitzer, L. 19,1i--i 96-102. Suard, F. 1980a. 'L- : Suard 1980b. 'Le P: littörature frcuie -, -





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P. M. O'H. 1980. 'L'El6ment breton et les lais anonymes', ir Mölanges de langue et de littöra' turefrangaises du Moyen Äge offerts d Monsieur Charles Foulon, II. M. Rom.,30,277-86.


Walkley, M. J. 1983. 'The Critics and Lanval , NZJFS,4,5-23.

R. l97l-2. 'stylistic Analysis of an Anonymous Work: The Old Ftench lai Guingamor', M P, 69, l-9.


Williams, H. F. 1964. 'The Anonymous Breton Lays' , Research Studies,32,76-84. Williman, J. P. 1972.'The Sources and Composition of Marie's Tristan Episode', in Studies in Honor of Tatiana Fotitch, Washington, 11527.



ROE Ä //.',.

We do not kn,: .' (perhaps on ti,; before he \\'a s .r l

finish the

ro n.


Continuations \\ to continue. cc,r:cycle, it also c.'.. unlike effirrcr'. : This chapter r,,,r known as the C,_ Estoire dou Gr,;-



Among the epr:

Perceval are l\,, --, :'

Elucidatiort ed1 .; and Bliocutlrcu.. : 430-54). Botli s-:' more of its con..: The Elucitltt; version of Cirr;. Bliocadran u il ,. independentlr .:. interpolated ar ..been copied ( \\ century Gernrui : dialect arc inccr; (composed 133 1-Wolfram von E.Continuation s .: .. j



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their French source was a manuscript related to P. Finally, the Elucidatioru and a truncated version of Bliocadran introduce the 1530 prose Perceval (Hilka edn, 493ff.), printed anonymously in Paris by Bernard Aubry 1991); thus,

(Thompson edn,9). Bliocadran as a 'prologue' is not an exordium in the rhetorical or poetic sense, but a 'prequel'with a pre-history to ChrÖtien's poem that supplies patrilineal information, complementing, and responding to, the matrilineal emphasis in Perceval's genealogy given by his mother (Busby edn, 409-88) and in subsequent accounts by his cousin (3552-3612) and uncle (6392-6431).'lhe Elucidntion,which consistently precedes Bliocadran (except in I where the latter appears as an afterthought), functions, however, as an extended exordium whilst introducing prediegetic matter. For, like the 'rhymed table of contents'with which it is often compared (Thompson 1959,208 and n.), it also self-consciously anticipates a global Grail romance embracing Blio cadran, Chr6tien's Perceval, the First Continuation, certain aspects of the Second Continuation, and perhaps Manessier, which either includes or is augmented by multiple branches that also 'muevent del Graal' (spring from the Grail,382) . The Elucidation

The Elucidation begits with an exordium designed to introduce an extended Perceval such as that found in P, including narratives attributed to seven gardes 'guards' (17 ,345)4 constituting the story's seven branches, also called gardes (344, etc.) or souviestemens (34I, 343).s Maistre Blihis (12, cf. 'bon mestre', 449) is mentioned as an authority on the Grail's secrets and perhaps as a source. Thompson (edn,67-79) considers all passages having to do with the 'guards'and with Maistre Blihis, including the prologue (122,339-82,343-56), to be interpolations on the grounds that they refer to events outside the Perceval and the First and Second Continuations; lines 327-38 are likewise interpolated because they are redundant.6 Maistre Blihis has been identified with known real and fictional storytellers of Grail matter, including the knight Blihos Bliheris, a master story-teller in his own right ( I 70-82) who informs Arthur's court about King Amangon's atrocity ? and its aftermath (l 6l -212) (Weston 1920, 189 -209 ; Gallais 1 9 8 8-9). Confusion abounds throughout the textual tradition as to the meaning of a key word in the Elucidation, i.e. pui(s), which designates the dwelling-places of the maidens who offer hospitality to wayfarers and the water sources that dry up after King Amangon commits an atrocity that brings disaster to Logres and ultimately prompts the Grail Quest. Weston (1920,172andn.17), supported by Colin and Wissg who translate pui(s) as 'Berg' and 'Gebirge', insists that the maidens live in hllls (pui from Lat. podium), perhaps'hills'in the sense of fairy mounds, whilst Thompson describes the maidens as living in wells (puis fromLat. puteus) (Thompson edn, 37-50;1959,208; Wolfgang in Lacy ed. 1991*, 131). More recently, Meneghetti


distances herse. 'aupräs des pui: in wells, br"rt hc: 'come out'of 1.., The author s :' ('hill[s]') inste.,,j bourgeois. tr.1:-> (Thompson etJ:.. the Middle Fre .:que l'ancienne I-1 entaillees par c,..-. sides. The late r consideration t-,-maidens lir-inq .t. >






other worldlr c:France's Yont,r . :: (220-2, cf. lEt_r--mound (Toble:-l

Wales tells of ; : river's 'ripaS ct-rr.. -r 135), just the kir.:

lation of puis .i] Humans ma\ e:-watery pits. the -...

Thompson (specifically in ri as the entrance



Recovrös a nrll _ ,_ : clear, it remains 'recover' or 're p;, i aS SOUTCOS Of §



understand the 1..: but to take the r-\ .

Meneghetti ( 1 -: epilogue, into l-i::;, reference to nellr-'" general terms u l::Part l. (#1 ) \l-,. food and drink ( : -


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their golden cups, symbols of their hospitality (63-86). (#3) Thereafter, the maidens no longer appear to offer hospitality (32-3,87-8). (#a) The kingdom is struck by drought and famine (23-31,89-98). (#5) The court of the Rich Fisher, who used to spread wealth throughout the kingdom, is no longer to be found (99-115). (#6) While the kingdom is still rich, Arthur's knights hear about the adventure and set out to avenge the maidens; they kill offenders, but fail to find the maidens (116-44); (#7) In their search, they fight knights riding with maidens on their horses (145-51). (#8) Gauvain defeats Blihos Bliheris, who tells Arthur's court that the knights and maidens are offspring of the well-maidens and the men who raped them (152-93). (#9) In order to rescue the well-maidens, and restore prosperity, Arthur's knights must find the Rich Fisher's cowt (194212). (#10) Arthur's knights start out on their quest of the Rich Fisher (213-24). Paft 2. (#12) Eventually Gauvain finds the Rich Fisher in his court; the joy and increase he brings to the kingdom will be recounted later (225-30).8 (#11a) But before that, a very young Perceval visits there (230-5).e (#1lb) Perceval comes to the Round Table and surpasses all in knighthood; he is held in contempt at first, before setting out for knightly conquest (23H7\ (#1lc) He asks whom the Grail served, but not why the lance bleeds; he asks about a corpse there, but not about the broken sword, half of which lies on the bier (248-57). (#1 ld) Other

marvels include a silver cfoss, censels and food served by a floating Grail (258-314).10 (#11e) A great wonder occurs that Perceval himself will recount later in the text (315-22). Thus Perceval may be one of the 'guards'who will narrate one of the seven branches. (#110 At the point when the great knight (Perceval? Gauvain?) finds the Rich Fisher's court a third time, the narrator will explain the function of the wells and the Grail mysteries point by point (323-39), as happens during Perceval's third Grail visit in Manessier. (#119) In reverse order, the seven branches constituting the 'natural stories'springing from the Grail (381-2) are anticipated one by (#13) 'This adventure' (Gauvain's partial success, or Perceval's?) brings joy to the people and restores water and prosperity to the land (383-400). Part 3. (#14) Arrogant descendants sired by Amangon and his men construct castles (the Castle of Maidens, the Perilous Bridge, the Proud Castle) and pit themselves against the Round Table (401-28) (Meneghetti attaches #14 to the middle part). (#15a) They wage war against Arthur, who vanquishes them after four years (429-64). (#15b) Henceforth Arthur's court devotes itself to hunting and games of love (465-74). P continues with a transitional couplet, indicating that readers have only heard a sample of Chr6tien's work (475-6), and the last verses of Chr6tien's prologue (6i-8). Many difliculties remain. It is by no means clear, for example, whether it is Perceval or Gauvain who is finally to bring Logres back to life. The narrator emphasizes Gauvain by presenting his successful Grail quest first (#12), but

delays gir ing d;:.

six-line accounr . devoted to the ; Perceval's r.isit i:^ the First Contin-:. tlts. Which knigr. w'hich is to pro\ - ; seven guards')


main topic u itii '( the two alreadr :: tend to see Galtl. . 1987-8; but Th..:: Thompson r r '. Elucidatiort to 'i; interpolation. \ I: thinks that anr, Elucidation fiont : parent rewriting assez bien constr,:





w'elf -11tti


resolves the ambr. doms and retlec:> The vast territLrr,,

anew this narrilr:'. Perceval and a \\ :t .

Bliocadran Bliocadran fol1or,r, : after the whole c:

framework of eb -pates. Events in B Perceval, aged Ic -..

Elucidation's ch r,--, :' and closes sonlil,, : Elucidation passof the mervei|L,:, qualities, which i:. Scholars har e s: an alternati\;e to ::-, either that he \\ .: i without her spe -- i > ,


uosdtuoql) ruldruexe sFI ul medde lou plp 1r sdeq-red .ro 'qceeds req lnoqtr.,lt ptnnd Jo uorsrel e ecnpo.rd ol popuolul oqrlr rolcepor e sBA\ eq leql roqlre (gg-OOt 'upe ,(gsng) uerl?rqJ ur reqlou s.le^ecred Jo eJr^pe eq] o] e^rluureqe ue Sursodord JoJ suoseer s.ror{}ne uqtpruoug eq} }noqe pelepceds e^eq sreloqcs 'uottoppryfl eql epe,ued }€ql 'seurls.(ulop 1l 1c3J ul qclrl \ 'ser1lenb ,(lplrozvrreqto eql qlrl\ ,(ppe1s eJoru oql [e slseJ]uoc 'uolatq xnailDuau,t erll Jo ecuesgu ue 'sr 1eql 'oursrlueJ, s(uo,tpu)otlg snql 'ecuelrs ur Je^o sessed uottDppryg eql erurl go porred e Eur;np'lrsrrr. yrz.rg ]sJU s(le^ecJed oJoJeq leq^\etuos sosolc pu€ .(1rcor1u s,uo8ueruy 8ul; relge garvr suedo uo,tpDJottg {Solouorqc s(uolluponlg eql Jo sruJq ur 'snql 'pooq1q8ru1 Je^ocsrp o1 pesrod sr 'ueepnog pe8e 'pzrec;e4 etrrr] eql o1 dn 'sree.( ueelxrs lnoqe urqltzv\ eceld e14 aDtpmoryg ur sluo^E 'seled -rcrlue pue slunoceJ lr seJnluo^pu eql ;og s;eeÄ ea.g-,(1ue,t.1 lnoqe Jo {Jo,t\erue4 lec6olouorqc e sephotd uotlopnnlg eqJ 'Z ur enSolord tur{} Jo oloq,&\ eq} relJe sl\olloJ uDrpmoug uurpBrollfl pe1e1od.re1ur sr pue 2. ur en8o1o-rd s,ue49;q3 Jo uorsnlcuoc eq]

'1r ,{q pelereueE suorlenulluo3 go ,(pog eloq^\ e pue p^»Dd s6uerl?Jq3 rllog ecnpoJlur o1 uo11rJ,{\eJ '1elecre4 8uru-rocuoc eArlBJJeu sF{} .trteue Surroldxe JoJ ruooJ eldrue sepu.ord suorlrsod eseql Surlerudes ,(rolu.rel lsu^ eqI '(99) snlsn8nv dryrld ,(q pedeqs erntlnc pogrun pe^\ouer eq] slceger pue sruop -8uq pelcrguoc s.uorlgJrl3 uI ]ueregur secuele^rqu" puu serlm8rgruu eql se^loseJ 11'(uo4ntoqsat 'pcr?o1oapl uad,a puD 'lotnqnt go 7dua71o papn.qsunllau Q4ot n) ,enbt8ologpr erugru le elleJnllnc uorluJnulsoJ ep - sJnellre6p 'elrnrlsuoc uorg zess€ e^rleluel eun, se s;eeddu qclq^,\ euo'1ntac.ta4 s(uerl?Jrl3 go 8ur1u,rer luered -sueJl € sr ll rorl Jod 'ecnporlur o1 peu8rsep sruedde 1l slxel eql ruo.t; uottDp)nlg


eql soqcelep eqs 'snopJezeq sr 1r ol p-re8er ur uorsnlcuoc ,(ue 1?q] s>luql 'Sursnguoc pue pesnJuoc se ]r s./y\er^ orl^\ '(t9 'g-tg6I) Itter{SouelN 'uorlelodrelul ldeur pue uorlrsodruoc ,(srunyc ,(q peqcloq ,(lsseledoq lxel € eq ol uoltuponlfl qlu( flueurud peurecuoc sr oq,{t '(60(,'6g61) uosduoql s!'Z*Ig 'upe uosdruoql inq :g-tgOt eq1 spug 'secrnos

]nq '(Zt+) lsrl-:

JOleJJeu OqI ':j: sr 1l reqloq \\ ':.r


-r .


1s3l eq] puu '(g-;_ ?urleclpul 'Jelir' - : > Eurlunq o] JIas1.

JOUe I'ueq]




3q1 o1 Vl# s3l{r:--: lld pue (e1tsu3 :ICnJISUOC USur

S: -:

puel eql ot irr::;{ Jo 'sseccns [uti*:'J eta (Z-l BE) IIur! ueles eql taprtr J!sueddeq se '(6[-a:

eql ureldxo III \\ *,,-, öle^ecred) lq8lu.r ele,rreu IIl,^(\ or{ rr . i Jel€l lunoseJ III r'' . IIUrO SurluoLt rer{lo (pt w) (_;_ lnq 'oJor{} osdJo-. :T

ruor{A\ s{s€ 0H {.' ldureluoo ul pla{-i s Iu^eorod (q1tsr


Äof eq] llrnoc


|lleq8euery i'c1e 'g1I '0Z6I uo1se16) rolcrzr et€rurtp eql s€ ure^n€D ees 01 pue] sJeloqcs 1eÄ 'le^ecJe4 Sururecuoc lunoccu JellnJ erll :ol peJJeJoJ,(peerp o \l eql Jo resolc oql ol lc?q s>lJeq (ggg'a"m1ua^po slqt) (ornlue.,\B e1se3, qtm crdol ureu eql o] uJnleJ oql 'spJen8 ue^es eq1 uo uolsse"rSp eq1;e13e 'peepul ;sp.ren8 uezres eql Jo suorleJJeu eql se ile.&\ sB 's1e.lces IreJC Jo uorlelo^eJ eql elo.rord o1 sr qcrrl \ Jo lsel eq1 'serurl eeJql ellseJ IrBrC or{} }rsh ot peuqsep sr 1q3ru1 qcrrl\[ .s]rJ -eueg slr oslu 'sseccns lurlrud seuoceq 1r se ' pue uorl€nu4uo3 lsJrc eql ur eJnlue^p? s(ure^n?c IIIlq o1 sJeJsueJl ]ceiue ur uotloporyg eql w lrsr^ s.l€^ecJed 'uerlgJrl] ur Jncer Ilrlv\ qcrq,&\'(tt+) Ie^ocJed,(q ]lsrzr rorrd eql o1 polo^ep seuq xrs-,{1q3re qlur uosueduroc .(q acuegodu4 slq seqsrunurp }unocc€ eurl-xrs .(reruruns eql 'osec ,(ue u1 '(;uorlenqtuo3 lsrrC eq1 plun) sletop Bunr8 s,(e1ep



'( t;-a

(ot+) '(rtz-t6r,


eJolseJ puE 'su3P::-

ueul eql puB SU3ft.: S,JnI{UV SII0} ot{ 'r'. suepretu qlr,e\ Suil: pulJ o1 IIeJ lnq 'sr: eql lnoqe Jser{ s.:punoJ eq o] rairi,,-' teqsrg r{cl5 ar{t r,-sI uopEuH or{J_ *-, oql TegeeroqJ_ { :




lg59,2lO), or else that he found his source wanting in explaining the mother's motivations and sought to provide a counterpoise to it (Wolfgang edn, 9). Whatever the case, the paternal biography it invents, wherein the father receives a name while the mother remains anonymous, and its realism devoid of mystical or other worldly concerns, provides a clear variant to Perceval's genealogy as found in Chr§tien, which is grounded in British history, sacred history, Grail history and the merveilleux breton. Bliocadran's 800 straightforward lines far outweigh in bulk, if not poetic richness, the mother's forty-line speech in Chr6tien and the seventy-one lines of the cousin's and uncle's speeches combined. In juxtaposition with Chr6tien's Perceval, the two perspectives are not complementary, but

her son can ric.outside the \\-; s . . he may \\,ard cl. huntin_E in the w,hat has happ:t.. ^


the ..

foremost in nt - r. Arthur's knighl: the words he rit; knights. More r--,-";

absolutely opposed. Wolfgang (edn, 8-9) argues convincingly that such a dialectical confrontation is not a deterrent in medieval reading practices, even in the face of contradictory assertions. Indeed, her insight is consonant with Meneghetti's view of the Elucidation as an 'interpretive response'to problems raised in the text it introduces (1987-8, 56). Wolfgang (edn, 81-3) divides Bliocadran into seven episodes: (#1) Twelve brothers in Wales are the most honoured and most accomplished knights in the country. Eleven are killed in tournaments and battles. The twelfth, Bliocadran, inherits an important fief. He seeks to return to the tournaments, but his wife and

not the younges: leads their hous;..

him to stay with them (1-52). (#2) Two years lateq when Bliocadran's wife is pregnant with their first child, a messenger arrives. After

ärnigrös discor er


\\'orking domair: iike the Fisher K


vassals persuade

enjoying his host's hospitality, he informs him about a tournament organized by the King of Wales against the Cornish. When Bliocadran responds that he and his men will fight, his wife and vassals again beg him to remain, but this time he leaves (53-160). (#3) At the tournament, Bliocadran and his knights join the front ranks of the Welsh. Bliocadran defeats his adversary in the first round, but is later wounded and dies. His knights bury him with great celemony (16l-243). (#4) His wife gives birth to her first son three days after he leaves. She sends a messenger to inform her husband, but he arrives too late. Bliocadran's knights instruct him not to tell their lady what has happened. They will all return a week later. Unable to face their lady, however, they engage an abbot to break the sad news. After a long period of mourning, she finds comfort in her son (244456). (#5) Seven months later, she determines to keep her son from any knowledge of knighthood. She will take him to the Waste Forest in secret. After having her men swear fealty to her son with the promise to acknowledge him when he returns, and against the people's wishes that she stay, she leaves with her son, on the pretence of making a pilgrimage to St Brendan in Scotland (457-655). (#6) Instead, she makes her way to Calfle on the Welsh coast, where she meets all who are to accompany her. They travel for several days, enter the forest and wander for two weeks before finding the ideal place to establish their community under the leadership of her steward and his sons (656-724). (#7) Fourteen years later,

parents, BlioL ti,i, .

important thent;. action, departLl:. Thompson | . Chrötien's Per, r ment, not \^'oL1ltC.;

tions that are ius:

of Wales, nor L Bliocadran is rlr., l coronation an{c > ( r'i) consequen t 1,. _


the foundin_u oi \ serving the Kin q response to Perc;'.

context with it. alone, as





and one-dimensi,_-..

larul'leuotsueulp-euo pue {Belq ere sreJlo esuodser eql se^r}€urells IJe}s eql lnq 'senfuB 3ue8go16 se 'euo1e ]xe] s(uerl?Jq)seqtpi»Dd erll go Surpeer JeqcrJ e '1r lsure8e pue '11qlr^\ lxeluoc ur'sepra.ord uutpmoqg teqlour srq ol Surprocce,(Soyeeue8 s,lulecre4 ol esuodse: e sy 'SuuepJnru Jo pesnccp sr ure^neC tuorl,l\ 'uo1e,rccsE go 3ur11 eq] SurAJes rerlloJq ou s€g I€^ecred (uzr) lepsec urnEue3 ep eqcoU s,eure81go Eurpuno; eql o1 z(lyec6olouorgc pe{ug }ou sr ,(15ueg s.lulecJed Jo elrxe oql tl]uenbesuoc (rzr) !(ece16 ,(q peler;eu se) ,fuo1srq qsrlrrf, qlr^\ pelceuuoc lou sr os pue uorleuoroc s.JnqlJV pu€ qleop s,Jer{lg Sumogog sJelvr oql ur pesserddo lou sr ueJpucorlg

(,r) irnqUy .,(lqerunserd


pus uo8erpuedre{}fl 1ou ,se1e11 go

8ury eql Jo lesse^ € sr uerpecollfl (^1) !re11q e uo perrr€c lou sr eq pu€ ,(gEV,upe Äqsng 's&a1 aqt uaatuaq papunou) zoJterr sequrel sey urred, '3u1;1 reqsrC oq] e{11 'lou sr u€rpecorlfl (rrr) l;eq1eg s(l€^ecrod o1 Sur8uoleq Äpeerle ureuop Surl.rozlr e lou sr l] ilserog elsel11 eq] ut roueru rreq] plnq o1 eceld eql re^ocsrp sqßrruq eql (D iuea,r3 sr rorlleJ qle^ocrod Jo orueu eql (D :luecgru8rs se lsnl ere teql suor] -crpeJluoc erour .(ueur sJeIJo lcBJ ul uDtpruoryg zr'oltxo olut ploqosnor{ Jreql speel leqteJ srq lou teqlour sF{ (lD :suos eerq} Jo ro^r^rns elos pue tse8uno,( oql}ou 'pyqc ,(1uo uB sr I€^ecred (II) lpeqsrrezrodtur uor{t puu rB^\ e w pepuno^\ 1ou .1ueru -euJnol e ut pellDl sr ueJpecorlg (l) :plel oJe qcrq^\ Jo eerql ,1ottac.ta4 s.uorl?JrlC pue, uotpo)otlg uaetleq suorlcrpeJluoc e^rJ spurJ 6rc ,ASA} uosdruoql 'uorlelnrurssrp pue qceeds peuodlsod ,{of go lsppr oq} ur e-rnpedep ,uorlce peJreJep J1es1r,ffio1eeue8 se qcns '1xs1 s6uerl?rqc ur rncer leql seueql luepodrur 'o1 srseqdure Ä\eu pue 'uo sezrrlceds;ed rrreu se.rrr8 eloql\ e se uo.tpo)or1g ,slueted poolq-pue-qseg qlr^r Ie^ocred Sur,ropue ol uorlrppu ur tea.oe.ro141 .slq8ru>1 sJnqUV 'qlmr pelurenbce soruoceq uoql pue 'sees eq uerl { slueder orl spJol\ eq} Jorllorr-r slq ruou 8uru.lee1 urrq sÄergod 1r puu 'tutu sselltttt e se s1q3ru1 s.JnqlJV 'puFu ur JsorueJoJ o1 ecueJeedde s,lezrecJed Jo sesnec eql seleJlsuoluep e^rleJJeu s.uorl?JrlJ go Suruedo eq] qlr.&\ uellrr^\ sr eposrde ]sBI eql ,(1-ruey3


'(OOg-SZf) ernseeld

pue gods punoJ eq 1eql sre,^asue er{ ueq \ eroru ou sIsB er{S .peueddeg serl }ur{.4A ruq s{s? rorl}oul sry pu€ eluoq surnlor eq }xeu eq} ile }seroJ or{} ur Surlunq reuv 'peoJc eql Surleeder pue ssorc orll go "fup u8rs eq1 Suqeur f,q Jo prem furu eq Iuorllr\ 6uorl qlyv\ peJo^oc sll^op lsureEe lurq suJel( eqs .lseJod els?1v\ eql eprslno plJo^\ eql Jo Surqlou s^{ou>I eg 'urlelef oq] q]rrrr ]unq pue eprr uec uos rer{ TZZ

'rc1e1s;eo,( ua:l*:'

Jepun Ä]tunrutli,.r



JSpUB^\ pUE 1S!J,--',.S}O3LLI ells : or{^\ IIB '(s t- r



9- Ls


oq] uo 'uos J3u -, 'surnle; eq u=1r{ \'. ueru Jer{ Eut ruLI i; go eEpelllroul i:r,-

'OSV-VV) uos j: p?s eI{} Ieorq tr - {ee.,!\ E uJn}3J IIl..


slqEr»1 s6ueJptrt:' e spues eqs 's3 \i':. 'GVZ-I7I) ,(uorl.:]nq 'punoJ ]sJiI : aql ulof stqBIuI i eq elull sHl lnq ':: pue eq ]uql sput,* ,lq peztueS;o ]u:::: JoUV 'soAIJJE rei uer{A\ 'te1el sJ u: 'i pue eJI^\ srq ]nq '> 'uetpecollg 'rlUI:' orll ul slqEIrI p3 -:: o^[e^t1 (t+) .s:l]x31 er{} uI pssltrJ s s6r]loq8eue6 ri1| 'r'. 's:: ecEJ er{} ur u0.\3

-lCel€rp e r{3ns



lnq 'Ktelueurald:: uorlrsodelxnl r.,l I 0q] puB uollert{f q q8lozlrlno rEJ s:: Ä;o1srq IIeJO ' ir,.. punoJ se ,(8o1e:u:: Jo Iecllsu(ul Jo plc,'. e se^receJ JsqlEI :,;

'(0 'upe Euuigi..


s(Jer{}oru ot{} 6uru:




The Continuations There have been a number of theories as to how Chrötien might have intended to complete his Perceval, some more fanciful than others, but the most likely is that there would have been some kind of encounter between Perceval and Gauvain, in which Perceval would have established his spiritual and physical superiority over Arthur's principal knight, before eventually returning to the Grail castle and passing the test he had previously failed.

Chr§tien's dual structure offered the continuators a ready-made vehicle for prolonging the text. Despite multiple authorship and considerable differences of style and intent, the four Continuations in existence by c.1225, or shortly thereafter, essentially maintain the alternation of Gauvain and Perceval as central figures, adding others, while never quite losing sight of the Grail Quest. The manuscript transmission of the Continuations is complex and for many years formed an obstacle to serious scholarship, but the modern state of critical editions is now, relatively speaking, satisfactory, thanks in large part to the work of Roach (Busby 1987-8). There are four basic Continuations, which appear in the following order in the manuscripts: the First Continuation (Continuation-Gauvain ot PseudoWauchier), the Second Continuation (Continuation-Perceval or Wauchier de Denain), the Continuation of Gerbert de Montreuil and the Continuation of Manessier. In the most complete manuscripts, the total number of lines taken up by Chr§tien's romance and its prequels and sequels is about 75,000lines. The First Continuation

Although four manuscripts do present ChrÖtien's Perceval without the Continuations, in the majority of copies the First Continuation follows without any evident demarcation between the two; one of these four (London, College of Arms, Arundel XIY or its model at some stage in the transmission) even shows evidence of having been copied from a manuscript which contained various of the Continuations, in an apparent attempt to re-establish the limits of the original, unfinished, romance (Busby 1993b). Most medieval readers or listeners, however, might even have remained unaware that Chr6tien's part was over until the mention of one or other of the continuators by name at some later point. Certainly, the modern scholarly parameters of each Continuation would not have been defined so strictly in the Middle Ages, or experienced so acutely, and the medieval view of Chr6tien's whole Perceval romance, together with the Continuations, is more likely to have been either that of a single Grail romance or of a collection of adventures related more or less loosely to the theme of the Grail Quest. The four manuscripts which appear to contain Chr6tien's text alone indicate that his part in the Perceval compilation ends after nine thousand lines (Perceval,9234),just as Gauvain's messengef arrives at Arthur's court to request

the king to jt'ri:. quently pursLli !


Of the tbur ;

most comple\ :: three discerni:.: redactions a 1s ,_-






(before 1200 r .:.. . to have been . other Contirli.:.. extraordinarii,, .." which makes : _

MedievaliStS r-


prefer to con.;:. beginnirg and ;: the texts acce s s. : them unsuppt-rr. -

Dominared preserve Ver\





'courtly' tharl',,,


of the mysteriut,



sentation ol G -_ picks up the n,: r and Gauvain ,.irthe combat be : reconciled as ; r: among Guiront;.. ences are to s3,.. _


Brun's castle. b3J

to test his fit n - , , Gauvain's conr r


con{Cition thar .:

finally submit> : Nantes, who nt-:.rl by the enchani-: : section appear> appears. The lilt ; .

_,, .

of organic Lriti:' repository of \:

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From the Carados section at least two motifs occur elsewhere in Arthurian romance, and another achieves a measure of celebrity in the manuscripts in which it is preserved. During the ceremonies in which Carados is made a knight a stranger arrives at Arthur's court and challenges the company to exchange blows with him, thus setting the stage for the so-called beheading test, best known from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and other late Middle English versions (III, 4-5, but see Perlesvaus below). The section concludes with another stranger bringing to court a drinking-horn, from which only a man whose wife is faithful to him can drink without spilling the contents (III, 16). This 'chastity test'is known in a number of variants, such as the Lai du Cor, or the Lai du Mantel (in which the horn is replaced by a magic mantle fitting only faithful women; see chapter V). The other episode in question is that in which EliavrÖs causes a serpent to attach itself to Carados's arm; the serpent is removed when Carados and his amie Guignier stand naked opposite each other in tubs of vinegar and milk respectively. The selpent leaps from Carados's arm to Guignier's breast, where it is killed. Guignier's nipple, cut off in the process, is later restored in gold (III, 11-14). This episode is the subject of miniatures in a number of the illuminated manuscripts (Rossi 1980; Busby 1993a; Doner 1996). The next major section of the First Continuation re-establishes the link with Chr§tienb Perceval when Arthur proposes rescuing Girflet, imprisoned for the last four years in the Chastel Orguellous (IY 1-2). On the way to the Chastel, Gauvain encounters Bran de Lis and is obliged to relate to Arthur and his companions the details of his encounter with the Pucelle (IY 3-5). This has the dual function of resuming an earlier narrative thread and summarizing it for those among the audience who might have missed or forgotten the episode in question; the audience of the text coalesces with Gauvain's audience within the text itself. This also suggests strongly that medieval listeners or readers experienced the text by episodes and not necessarily in sequence. The apparently fragmentary nature of the narrative in the First Continuation requires us to read it in a different way. It may well be that, despite periodic links to the main theme and reminders of Chr6tien's host romance, the First Continuation in particular represents earlier forms of medieval narrative, before Chr6tien had transformed this kind of matiöre by means of the precepts of Latin rhetoric and the arts of poetry. One of the most charming episodes from the whole corpus of Continuations occurs in this section, namely that in which the Pucelle de Lis holds her son up between his father and uncle as the pair resume their interrupted combat; the child innocently reaches out to touch the shining swords (IY 7).After the reconciliation between Gauvain and Bran de Lis, Arthur's party continues on to the Chastel Orguellous. With Bran's help, the Chastel is finally conquered; Gauvain defeats its master, the Riche Soudoier, although he is convinced to feign defeat briefly so as not to upset the latter's amie unduly (IY 8-15). Returning home by


of the C: ,,

kidnapped: a S-,: seem to consti: --: provision for :'--: Surely reappe itr -:

section of the i.-:I The author oi not something :r. be found, Sä\,-- rdealing with a :in the tales th;.: manifestations ,_ : clear elseu'her;. : spirituality'. gLu.:


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Supernaturan , f'-, affairs of the :..-, Ysave and,: So On. Et'en tl-; , romance, $ hii: -: of an ackno\\ ^-restore to the . eflcrts to reatl t .: probably anac:.: be posited. \:.; corresponds tr-' .-.ation in the rt -: -texts. It is ntu.:-. :to favourite e i..: (especialll, u h;: tural inte-urit,, . independence , :

is enigmatically linked to the shame incurred by Guerrehet in the garden, an adventure related in the next section of text (VI, 2-6). While looking for Gauvain, Guerrehet is defeated by the Petit Chevalier, to whom he promises to return in a year's time to fight again, or else become the slave-labourer of the wounded master of the castle; insults and humiliations are heaped upon him before he returns to Arthur's court in the swan-boat. The dead knight is now revealed as Brangemuer, son of a mortal and a fairy, whose death was necessary before he could return to his mother's kingdom (VI, 7-8). There are certain thematic parallels here with Grail episodes from Chr6tien's text and earlier in the First Continuation, although it is diflicult to know to what extent these would have been apparent to a medieval audience. In fact, Chr6tien's Perceval and the First Continuation share so many motifs that it almost seems as if the Continuation was itself the soufce from which Chr6tien's romance was


constructed and remodelled.

The fundamental textual difference between the Short Redaction on the one hand, and the Mixed and Long Redactions on the other, is the presence in the latter of a number of episodes (I, 6-10 in Roach's division). These seem to constitute a retrospective attempt to strengthen the ties between the First Continuation and Chr6tien's text, and they certainly indicate an awareness of the desirability of doing so on the part of redactors and Episode I, 5, which in the Short Redaction described the marriage of Clarissant to Guiromelant and the reconciliation of the latter and Gauvain, ends somewhat differently in the Mixed and Long Redactions and enables the interpolation of the supplementary material. Here, Gauvain leaves court in anger after discovering that Clarissant has married his enemy even before the reprise of their combat. His aimless departure creates the narrative space in which he rescues the Damsel of Montescleire, wins the Espee as Estranges Renges and is reconciled with Guingambresil and the King of Escavalon; at this point, the Mixed and Long Redactions rejoin the Short. Equally noteworthy are the appearance of a maiden who had been wronged by Greoreas (I, 6) and a failed visit to the Grail Castle (I, 7). Gauvain's encounter with Dinasdar6s, who accuses him of having killed his father (I, 9), clearly reduplicates the Guiromelant and Guingambresil episodes from Chr6tien, the second of which it obstructs, but with which it finally merges in resolution (I, 10). If those responsible for the additional episodes had an eye to the unresolved details of Chr6tien's text, they also seem to have understood and implemented certain of his narrative methods, creating an extraordinary textual and narrative interplay, in which Percevalandthe Continuation appear as mutual sources and inspiration. If we are to look for elements linking the sections of the First Continuation, they are discernible, but may be no more than inherent in the matter of romance: family ties (Gauvain and Arthur; Gauvain and his son; Gauvain and his brother; Arthur and his niece Ysave; King Carados and his son Carados); the



The Second Conrn


the dividin:clear enou'gh ,,'-. \ and Second C,-.

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issue for metir-' ., claims authors:. :

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luolezreosg Jo



se eedsg eql S Lr . ':' eq] solBoJc eJn.*:' sF{ peIJJEru s E L. -

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uol{s eql uI LIrl .; Jo Älllqerrsap ::


pUe UOIlenUIlLIt-'_-1 e elnlllsuoJ ot 1..: Je]lBI eql ur o3r.r:>:

euo eq] uo LIou.-:Se/Y\ OCU€UIOJ

S. -

eq] JI se s uI?: s eql pue lotz,).t,,1r{ plno^\ esSql ]Lr;t'." eql uI JoIIJBS Pu'.'


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ve 'uep;eE eqt








the traditional division between First and Second Continuations is maintained, however, the second continuator can be seen to secure his work to the Grail compilation simply by rejoining Perceval's wander-

largely secul.rr .:del Saint Gr,;., c.1200 rather ..-.,-

ings. In manuscripts containing the Mixed and Long Redaction of the First Continuation, Perceval's adventures are located temporally after his departure from his uncle's hermitage in Chr6tien, although in the manuscripts of the Short Redaction the link is made by a huntsman who reproaches Perceval with having failed to ask questions of the Fisher King. By returning to Perceval for the majority of his text, the second continuator re-establishes ChrÖtien's structure of alternating heroes and the basic comparison of Gauvain and Perceval,20 and the Second Continuation is linked to Chrötien quite clearly on several occasions: the introductory passage mentioned above (including a verbatim quotation from Perceval); the Mont Dolerous (##1,25,27; cf . Perceval, 4724); the appearance of a brother of the Chevalier Vermeil (#8); Perceval's return to Blanchefleur at Beaurepaire (#15), to his mother's home (#18), to his Hermit Uncle (#19) and to the Grail Castle (##34-5). The theme of the Grail Quest or the quest for the Bleeding Lance is a constant reminder of the subordination of worldly adventures to the spiritual: the Lance (#2), and especially reminders concerning Perceval's unsuccessful visit to the Fisher King are prominent (##3,6,8,19,22, 26,28,33-5). The traditional demarcation between the First and Second Continuations seems to be supported by a change in the nature of the merveilleux, beginning with Roach's episode 1. There is something more restrained and disciplined, more courtly, about the supernatural of the Second Continuation: the Ivory Horn (##l-2) evokes wonder, but is merely a splendid example of its kind; the Magic Chessboard (##4,26) is indeed supernatural, but its basic function is still that of a chessboard; the giant (#12) is a typical ogre of romance; the same can be said of the white stag hunted by Perceval (#5, etc.) and the lion in the castle of Abrioris (#9); the Castle of Maidens (#20) is a standard feature of the genre, as is the knight imprisoned in the tomb (#25); the Glass Bridge (##22-3) may have been inspired by well-known episodes from Chr6tien's Charrelle. These manifestations of the merveilleux may be compared with the Grail in both Chr6tien and the First Continuation, which remains largely mysterious (particularly Gauvain's Grail visit in the latter text and the episodes in the Chapel of the Black Hand), and also with the Carados sequence and the adventures of Guerrehet (Busby 1998). The Second Continuation, while by no means dull and certainly worthy of greater scholarly attention than it has received, is perhaps most remarkable for its conventional nature. It is in many ways a better reflection of romance and its evolution at the turn of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries than other parts of the compilation, being composed for a large part of numbers of stock themes, motifs and other narrative elements. Despite being part of a Grail romance, it is

verse Grail rtr it-- -: -"

approach to the Grail castle.


them the




Continuation. ,' uation, Secui;r: -: Montreuil. Stri;: Althou._qh \ :s.: rupted quest s :;; .





romance. Perci- *

for the Grail



Continuator ci.:: : functions as : --damsel (appilr-: only be granre steals the braci.;: which he had s,.:




brachet and Sr; j : which had itse..- s Perceval nou i- -, . stag's head and :. In episode :' forgets to inqu.:: nevertheless ini,,_:.

hound becausi ,-- : a castle where . i: misled, but tire v -misled Percer il 1. -l

I .to surrender t tr L Perceval, kno\r


encounter \Ä-itit .:opponents bacN .

reliable or unre.. ., informing Arthi.: , The encourrür: forest (# 1 1. rrlrr-tower where he s.-.. .

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'Surzruoruros pue uruelos'gner1uo141

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]I 'ecuetuo-t Ii'':

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le JneueqcuEl8


Jo ocuemadde : -;

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eql roJ Ie^3rr3d Eur,,req qllulr IE \:,1

uor{S orl} Jo srd::

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the custom of the Guö Amorous and sends him to surrender to Arthur (#13), and meets Gauvain's son, the Biau Desconeü and his amie (#14), who also give Perceval news of Gauvain. A1l of these episodes illustrate the function of the romance custom, both as a means of confirming the heroh prowess and of maintaining contact between its widely dispersed constituent members. This most recent accumulation of adventures (##9-14) deflects Perceval from previous tasks which continue to obstruct each other, in a self-perpetuating narrative that creates only an illusion of progress towards the ultimate goal of the Grail. Indeed, the next part of the Continuation (#15) sees Perceval return to Blanchefleur at Beaurepaire, in a rewriting of Chr6tien's own episode, but one in which prosperity and optimism have been restored to the country. If Perceval had earlier apparently forgotten his promise to Blanchefleur (cf. #4), it is now restated, but specifically dependent on his resolving the issue of the stag's head and brachet and learning the truth about the Grail and the Lance (2312140, beginning of #16); of the Mont Dolerous there is no mention at this point. Episodes 1 6 and 17 form yet another variation of the motif of the defeated opponent sent to Arthur's court. Perceval encounters the Biau Mauvais and his ugly amie,Rosete, vanquishing the former and sending the couple to report to Arthur, who is now at Caradigan. Kay mocks Rosete, who later regains her beauty and the Biau Mauvais becomes a member of the household. During Perceval's visit to his Hermit Uncle, made during his sojourn at his mother's home (##18-19), the narrative of Chr6tien's romance becomes further integrated into that of the Second Continuation, as Perceval recounts his acquisition of the red armour, his failed visit to the Fisher King, the events at the Chessboard Castle, the affair of the stag's head and the brachet, his killing the lion and his subsequent defeat of Abrioris. Convention and the narrative require that Perceval refuse his sister's invitation to stay and that he accomplish, before returning, 'iceste euvre que j'ai amprise' (the task which I have undertaken,24207). The Castle of Maidens (#20) appears to be a kind of secular equivalent of the Grail Castle, somewhat like the castle of the Magic Chessboard, although it also clearly has overtones of the Chäteau des Merveilles from Chr6tien's Perceval. Like the giant's tower and Abrioris's castle, to Perceval the Castle of Maidens also at first appears deserted. Near a brass table is a steel hammer attached to a silver chain. Perceval strikes the table with the hammer three times and is rewarded with food and hospitality by the lady of the castle and her 300 maidens. Had he not struck the table after the warning to desist, he would have received neither food nor entertainment. The function of the castle is clearly to test a knight's prowess; it is also supernatural and has disappeared when Perceval wakes up the next morning under an oak tree. The intertextual associations of this episode are multiple: in addition to the Chäteau des Merveilles, the table and hammer recall the water and the stone from Yvain, and the castle's disappearance strongly

resembles t it .: Continuatiolr The flärrlit^',; wauchier.s r_r\i .. This alternari,-- : deferral. pt-rS:: threads. Perci'. and Criseuz r =: tomb is erpl.: .: found this rin.: .. The recover\ ,--,.- . ,



damsel lends F;:'Castle if he r,,, ;. r Castle, and ti, - . .

sion of the k .. * theless, the n;


The first p.:-. Forest Arsee. :

knight in the


which can onl. ^; part of his tr'.:.';, knights befor. . the ring, the r,,, -.. . : damsel who 1..,- oned in a tont: even further ,=: -' Magic CheSSl: :-_ return after h: . ., . (#26). It is ntr S -.. : For the sec.,:. earlier spurne. ' : the same r,r'itir ... both occasion:. ' adventure intp ; way of su,*eges... _ the Grail or 11,-, knightly actir .: . . more likell' tt r: spurs Percer ai ,- .-


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abeady failed to tie their horses to the pillar (#27). It now seems clear that Perceval is working his way through his objectives in reverse order: the return of the stag's head and brachet (ust accomplished), the Mont Dolerous (imminent) and the Grail (coming closer). After Bagomed6s's return to Arthur's peripatetic court, now at Caradigan, the knights resolve to go in search of Perceval. Lancelot, Yvain and Gauvain eventually come to a crossroads. There is obviously the potential here for the kind of development which characterizes the prose cycles and which is articulated by means of entrelacement,but the author says he will relate only the adventures of Gauvain. This choice is essentially determined by the acknowledgement of Chr6tien's dual structure and the subsequent alternation of Perceval and Gauvain as principal protagonists. While the transitional formulae (29190-208 and 31414-20) are not those of prose romance, they are of the kind used by Chr6tien to position the Hermit episode in Gauvain's adventures, and they antici pate the more familiar'Or dist li contes' (now the story relates) variety, which is to become the norm within a quarter of a century. The episode of the Petit Chevalier and his sister reflects perfectly the ambiguous nature of Gauvain in Arthurian romance. After having made love to the girl (who had been enamoured of him for some time), he and her brother proceed to a tournament in the Blanche Lande where only Gauvain, incognito among Arthur and his knights, is able to carry the shield destined for a peerless knight loved faithfully by his amie (##29-30). The Petit Chevalier and the Pansif Chevalier of episode 31 are two in a sequence of 'odd'characters defined by a paradox or apparent physical or mental deficiency of some kind. The Pansif Chevalier is reunited by Gauvain with his amie,who had been abducted by Brun de la Lande; Brun is sent to Arthur's court at Cavalon, where, as is customary, he becomes a member of the household. In the context of the Continuation as a whole, these last three episodes are not especially significant, but they serve to reintroduce Gauvain as an alternate protagonist and to underline the conventional nature of non-Grail romance. And the last two episodes (like episode 17) ensure that we do not forget the boastful and arrogant Kay. In a sense, the set of paradoxically defined characters, which also includes the Biau Desconeü and the Biau Mauvais (##14,16-17), act as so many personified component elements of Arthurian knighthood, whose very principles they question. Gauvain now encounters his son, Guinglain, the same Biau Desconeü whom Perceval has previously met (#14). This meeting is essentially the occasion for narrative recapitulation, as Gauvain relates to Guinglain several of his adventures from the First Continuation: the mysterious death of the knight he was escorting to Guinevere, the Chapel of the Black Hand and the events at the Grail Castle, the latter in some detail. He returns to the present by saying that he is looking for Perceval, of whom Guinglain is able to give him recent news. After

helping Arrl, -.. decide to re n -:.. (#32). The GaLr\.:"- -. mysterious cl::. * encourages Pe :- _ the best knigi.. custom of tit; ',, I which it is c1e.. ^



bl \I::.

(#33). As Per;




King T-

through a src:-: : the body of a i=.. is close to the F. -''seneflance . S---. she divul_ee

S n,--,


The success: --, the Mont Dt-rl;:

and the Chap;. Grail Castle. T... : the significan.; in which Perce '. .: and reticence .. - King to erpl.ii:. replies that P-:--. learns onh' th.. . ' : chivalry and r.reuniting the l.; * : to receive e\pi.:.theless offers P- Continuation -:t :. the way for subi; * This extetldec : a glimpse intt . ; the compilatitrr story in gener.l.. . ' tions of their .,r' : compilation. nt.: bearings at iut;r. ,--,







lsllglv\ 'lxoluoc II"Je^o er{} Jo se^lesueql puruoJ o} pue 'syea're1ur 1e s8uueeq rreql qsrlgelse o] secuorpne go ged eql uo peeu eql tssSSns lq8rur 'uorlepduroc eql Jo sged;eqree ol suorsnlle pue 'slsruo?e1o.rd eq] ,(q se:nluerrps Jreql Jo suoll -e1n1rdece.r luenbe;g Jleslr uqlr.,ta lueJerloc ]eq.&\etuos ue^o pu€ 'lereue8 ur (ro1s Ir€rC er{} o1 peurol leÄ 'pelueur8er3 pue crposrde ocuo Je sr lI 'uol}Blrduroc eq} ur eceld slr olut ss se ]xo1oq] serlxelduroc pue oJnleu or{} o}ur esduqS e IIe^\ Jo e^rleJJeu oq} Jo rireururns pepuelxe srqJ ezrt?,{eru uor}enurluoJ puoces eq} Jo suorlenurluo3 luenbesqns JoJ r(em eql susdo ,(lsnorlqo uorlceg;ed qceer o] ernlleJ s.l€^ecred '(Sg+) spue uorlenurluoJ puoces eql Jo lxel eql 'ere11 'e11sec srr{ Jo dqsprol eq} Ie^ecrod sroJJo sseleql -Je eu 3ur;1 .reqsrg eqI 'uees ssr{ er{ serrelsr(ur eql [u Jo suor]eueldxe ezrrscor o1 sl erl JI perrnber uorlcegred Jo el?ls eq] ul 1ou .(1.ree1c sr eq 'secerd oql Surlruner le ldurelle s.le^ecJod JeUe surerueJ Ilrls {ceJc lletus e sy ,(1erd pue Ä"r1e,rrqc qloq uI slecxe or{^/v\ (ruopord, e ,(g peurol eq u€c pJo^\s uo{oJq or{} }?ql ,(yuo su:eey Ie^ecred 'rurq 3uq1e1 ruo{ rurq sepnlce;d pog Jo lceySeu^ecred 1eq1 se11de.r 3ury1 eqt 'pro.trs eql pue ecue'I eql 'lrergr or{t Jo ecuecgru8rs eql ureldxe o18ur; Jegsrd egl s{sB ,,(leug eq uerlY\ 1nq 'e1mu Iurq JepuoJ eJoru ecuo ecuocrleJ puB uorsnJuoc srH 'pJo1r\s uo{orq eql pue ecue'I eq} 'lreJc eq} sees IslecJed qcrq.& ur uorssecord e,(q peldn.rJelul sr Ieeru er{J ' ser{ oq l€qlvr Jo ecuecgru8rs eq} 'ue1eo seq oq relge '1elocre6 o1 ureldxe o1 sosruoJd 3ur11 Jerlsrd oqJ 'ollse3 IIeJC eql o] reeu sr Ie^ecred }eq} elscrpur ,(1.ree1c (pueH {c€If, eq} Jo 1edeq3 eq} puB eerl eql) xnaryD^Dut eql Jo suo4elseJru€u eq] qllllr JoqteSol 'snoreloq luol tr eql 1e qdurnrrl srq pue 'leqcerq pue peeq s,3e1s eql uJnleJ ol slssnb InJssmcns oqJ '(Vtil eerl or{1ul pp{c oq} }noqe uor}eruroJur ou seSlnzrrp eqs iecuel eql pue Irerg eq] lnoqe qlnJl eql ur€el uoos III^I eq 1eq1s,(us ',ocuer3eues, u ledeqc er{} pu€ eer} er{} 8uq1ec 'uepreru e pue 'e11sec s,3uqtr Jeqsrg eql o} esolc sr oq urg Ilol srolunq rno;,tep lxeu eql 'rulle eqt uo sorl lq8rul peop e go ,(poq sqt eJeqa pueH >lc€lg or{} Jo 1edeq3 er{1 ol 'ee"rl peleununllr ue lsed 'ur.ro1s e q8norql rurq speel qclq^\ 'pelecrpur qled eqt so{e} I€^ecred erur} srql '3ur;1 reqsrd

eql o1 p€el IIr^\ lerll rlted eqt solecrpul (sZ puu 77 seposrde ur se eruus eqt ,(yge -qord) elnru elrq \ ? uo uopreu e 'snoreloq luol I eql se^eel I€^ecred sV '(€€#) puBI er{l ur 1q8ru1}soq oql ,r.oul lq8rur uo8u;puedreqln leql os urTrotr tr fq poleerc ueeq s€q 1r :ruop8url uurrnqilV ogl Jo sur8uo eql ol (epnlerd e ,(1.ree1c sr lr qcrql\ o1 'perg eq1 pue) 1l s{url teq} uor}€uuldxe ue 'sno;o1oq tuory eq} Jo ruo}snc oql Jo eq] I€^ecred o1 sureldxe Iosruep V zz'plro.^a eql ur tq8rul lseq eql eq ol peueep sr eg ereqa snoroloC tuoIAI oql o] peecord ol le^ecred se8e.rnocue 1nq'3ury1 Jeqsrd er{1}noqe suorlssnb Je,^asue o} sesnJoJ eeJ} B ur pyqc snorrels,(ur 'le^ecJed ol suJnleJ e^rJeJJeu eql sB pue ue ol eluoc säJnlue^pe ur€^nec egJ



slq8rul go peleydep ,(lsnoues sr Unoc osorll\ '3ur1 eql glr^\ urzrueJ o1 eprcep qloq urepumg pu€ ure^nuC 'se.r.re3 3ur; .lepu,rul eql leeJep rnqlrv 3urd1er1 EEZ

JSUY 'S.{\3U lust:sI eq Wql 8ur irs IIUrD er{l lE stlr:'^ s€^\ oq 1{Eruy : -, -u3^p€ sF{ JO I1.'* JOJ UOTSeCCO 3r.{l

JO Slusruels 1U3!1,:

eq] pue neuoJs:c Jo ]es eq] 'osu3s : (tt eposrdo eIIl r > eql 3trrr*; -uSAUOC

o] elJes Äeqt 1t J. e se uollenullLra * eq .Ä;etuo}snl sr


unJfl ,(q petJtlpc:Jrsued eqJ 'puil e, ,(q peurJop sr3r: Jrsusd eq] puts r::.

sselreod e roJ p:L: oltuEocq 'uru ur =', J3r{}oJq Jeq purr o1 enol op€tu 3u:


qclqa '^13t:,-''

o1 sl



s r,.-;

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puu l€Aecred I c, Jo luerue8pel.\\ttr -. Jo soJnlue^pE 3rlÄq pelelncrue s i Jo puH eq] rol :*,

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(lueuruutl) snor:Jo uJnleJ erl] :r3E\* leq] JBolc surees






appreciating the individual episodes. If discovering the secrets of the Grail is to be Perceval's final achievement, it has also become clear that this would preclude further story-telling and foreclose the romance. It is therefore not surprising that authors, including Wauchier de Denain, are reluctant to have Perceval succeed at the Fisher Kingt castle. Failure is here a narrative stratagem.

compilation ;: -dering, in the C . r:

Perceval en- . --: the rescue. he .. \: ation; his su tr r,j . :

for Manessie: Manessier's Continuation In most of the manuscripts of the Continuations, an author who names himself as Manessier (42657-61) claims to have completed the romance for Jeanne de Flandre (426434), and to have started his work'au soudement de l'espee' (at the joining of the sword\, which would clearly indicate Roach's episode 35 of the Second Continuation. Moreover, the London manuscript (Z) ends and the Bern copy (K, Burgerbibliothek 113) adds an independent conclusion at the same point ('Et Percevaux se reconforte',32594), while a new hand takes over in BNF, fr.1429 (Q), and the twin copies T and Z(BNF, fr.12576 and nouv. acq. fr. 6614) insert between the Second Continuation and that of Manessier the Continuation of Gerbert de Montreuil. All the indications are that Manessier's Continuation was written between l2l4 and 1227, most likely towards the end of that period (Ivy 1951; Salmeri 1984). The case for a later, rather than an earlier date can be made largely on the basis of visible influences of the Zancelot-Grail Cycle, particularly the Lancelot proper and the Queste del Saint Graal. Principal among these are the prominence of characters such as Dodinel le Sauvage and Sagremor li Desre6s (Lancelot), the fight between Perceval and Hector (Lancelot), the dispute between Lionel and Bohort (Queste) and the temptations of Perceval (Queste). The influence of the prose cycle on Manessier is confirmed in Corley 1986. Manessier's Continuation, however, is also anchored firmly in the verse Grail tradition of Chr6tien and the first two Continuations. The explanations given to Perceval by the Fisher King are quite specific: the Lance is that of Longinus; the Grail, the vessel in which Joseph of Arimathea caught the drops of Christ's blood and which sustained him during forty years in prison; Joseph himself built the Grail Castle. The Fisher King is descended from Joseph, and the maiden who

carried the Grail is the King's daughter; the maiden who bore the 'tailleor' (trencher, platter) is the daughter of the Fisher King's brother Goondesert. Perceval vows to avenge the latter, who had been killed by Partinal with the sword whose parts Perceval has just joined together, albeit imperfectly. Further explanations follow about the illuminated tree and the Chapel of the Black Hand, where Perceval must also do battle (#1 - references are to episode numbers in Roach edn). It is already clear at the beginning of Manessier's work that he is more concerned with clarifying than with mystifying, that his merveillerzx is explicable rather than impenetrable, as has been the case particularly with Chrötien and the First Continuation. There is thus a distinct progression in the course of the

:.. -

of Sagrentor r ==.

transitions b,e:.., -; similar and d....: ' the same pllil -. a first-person t.-:. Sagremor s .. robber knighr ,,. and rescues .t :- -: he receives tji.:. .. contrast u'ith .-: (#20), there rs exceptional Ft,-- ' period repei.rt S ..' ; and likeu,ise ct -: Gauvain's :l: First ContinL. -: stranger he h.' j ^: Hand and his . . Gauvain rec.: -.:





Summaries u i-.:

wider conte\r



she is the siste:


mission (r,r-hic-. .' -. bier at the Gr.. fell asleep lister.. . this was due :,-- ' quest (#6). Th.. : the Silimac ätl*.

First ContiilLt;: : from that u'hic:. -:On his que:i : killing one oi D defeated b1 G....

journey (#1 t


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eql ruo4 sp€eJq] o^IleJJBu dn s>1crd Jelsseu€tr 1 uI oJnlue^pe lsJU s(uIsAnBC 'ure?e seoJor{ qc}!v\s o} Jerssouel tr selgeue esletelq pue '(lerrecre4 glr1v\ uorlcouuoc ur ereql pesn) 7 eposrde ruor; Jllotu eq} sleeder por:ed -lse.r elrsrnbeJ erll pue spuno r s,roue.r8eg go ,(1r,rc;3 eq1 '(ssemord leuotldecxe sq ueql .reqto) lrsl^ s.Joluer?e5 lnoqu lle le xnalfa^Dru Surqlou sI eregl '(OZ*) uorlunurluoC puocos oql urou eposrde suopretr l Jo ollseC eql qlrA\ ]seJluoc uI 's{ee^{ xrs roJ poq ul ureruoJ o} urlq e8qqo peop lsel sq} Suunp sellocor erl spuno \ eql :(s#) Jeq qsr^er ol Surldue]1e slq8tul o.&\l ruo4 uepl€ru e sencsoJ pue (74) sueprel l Jo eltseJ eql te e8ers e sIJII '(€#) sectldtuocce sq pue tqSrul regqor e sleeJep pue sensrnd erl :eJnluu ur JBIncos ,(1e3-re1 eJ€ seJnluerrpe s,.roure.r8e5 '.eJrolse, eql Jo sluoluoc oql lrursueJl o1 sl uorlcunJ esol{1v\ Jo}eJJeu uosred-1srg e JeqlBJ SurlueserdeJ 'oseluoc rl, Jo ocrol oql lef lou eJu 1nq 'esod.rnd srues eql gpg,(eqt 'acuesso uI 'socuetuor eso.rd eql ur pesn osor{} o} Jelrrurssrp pue J€lrrurs ecuo le oelnruJoJ.(q pelcege oJ€ seJnluo^pe Jo slos ooJql eql uee {}eq suol}IsueJl oqJ 'lu^ecre4 o1 Suru.rnler eroJeq fiyg**) ur€^nug pue (S-€##) roure"r8eg go seJnluo^pe or{l ArolloJ 01 elqe sr eq qcrql( ur ecuds oAI}eJJeu eq} Jolsseu€I tr JoJ soleorc elrdser pecroJ slql '(Z#) l€qruoc eql Sur.rnp ue{oJq osl€ sr proA\s srq iuo4e -.rednce.r s(rlluotu e Surlelrsseceu 'q8rql eql ur pepunoa Älsnoues sr eq 'encse.r eql Suunq 'lesruep e soncsoJ eq dleq esoqa qluvr tourer?eg srelunocuo ["^ecJed 'ecueJnsseeJ pue uoseoJ Jo uorlceJlp eql ur 'Surrep -11lv\eq


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background necessary for the understanding of the kind of accusation levelled against Gauvain (by Guingambresil, Greoreas and Guiromelant, for example) in Chr6tien's Perceval. Whether this is a conscious effort on Manessier's part or not, it at least suggests that medieval audiences might not have been as shocked as modern readers by the violent side of one of the Arthurian court's most distinguished members. Gauvain and Silimac's sister arrive at her castle to find it besieged by King Margon, whose son Cargrilo was in love with her and who had also captured and hanged another knight with whom she was in love. By way of revenge, the girl had hurled Cargrilo to his death from a catapult. It was while returning to help his sister against Margon that Silimac had been murdered in Gauvain's company by Kay. Gauvain defeats Margon and promises to arrange a duel with Kay. On his way to surrender at Arthur's court, Margon liberates his sister, the Dame de Malohaut, from Gorgari. Upon arrival at court, he is made a member of the Round Table and is henceforth known as the Roi des Cent Chevaliers (#8). Lineage is one of the cohesive elements of romance in general and it serves as such in Chr6tien's Perceval and most of the Continuations, as knights encounter their own sons, brothers, sisters, uncles and aunts, and as new acquaintances are revealed as being related to old ones (Salmeri 1984, 127-35). Examples are too numerous to cite, but the next damsel Gauvain encounters on his way to fight Kay is a niece of Silimac, who still blames Gauvain and Guinevere for the death of her uncle; she is disabused of the notion by her aunt, now said to be called the Sore Pucelle, and Silimac is revealed as the lord of the Chastel de la Roche (#9). Gauvain proceeds to Arthur's court, where he defeats Kay, staining with the latter's blood a banner previously given to him by the Sore Pucelle; Kay is spared only after Arthur pleads with the Sore Pucelle. Gauvain departs for further unspecified adventures (#10) and two months later encounters his brother Agravain, who reassures him that Kay has recovered from his wound. No one, including Agravain, was able to identify Kay's accuser and vanquisher. A week after defeating a band of five knights, Gauvain and Agravain return to Arthur's court. The narrator now turns again to Perceval (#11). Perceval survives an attack by the Devil in the Chapel of the Black Hand and learns from a hermit that Queen Branguemore, who had originally had the chapel built, is buried in the adjacent cemetery, where he and Perceval bury the now charred body that had lain on the altar. By ensuring that no one was killed by the Black Hand that day, Perceval had brought the 'avanture' to an end; the priest urges Perceval to do penance and save his soul (#12). This episode is in many ways representative of Manessier's work: while it relates to adventures from the First and Second Continuations, and bears the mark of their own merveilleux, its open revelation of the Devil, the priest's urgings and the general monastic setting lend it a more contemporary aspect, showing clearly the influence of texts such as

the Queste. \l:.. when Percer a^ .: sign of the cri,:: by the hilt of i..: \ .

nature of th: I .: continue his ;J- ;

apocalyptic Ltt:. . Perceval de.. -, " .

Dodinel le




br .\: * ; rejoin Arthur s to have a nai" -',. who promises : who refuses i,.- ) himself up rt { court by Penrc. . harassed







Continuations. .through Aride .'. uses the morr' Clamadeu in c -. -: de Goort bett-,:- . ' at Arthur's ct L.:. defeating each as a result oi P;: wounded, the B maidens front :; .'





i; -. --

departure of


the frame\\.ork .


;. .

which appears although it is i..:. there. Nevert h;. ; . hermit and a c r; connection ber";. ;; Saint Graal intl --. ' Corley 1986) rr: ' In any event. tr:; : Another featLr:'= \ ' which in man -.: - l


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encyclopaedic tendency, a visible desire on the part of authors, manuscript planners, and presumably audiences, to have something resembling a summa arthuriana. While the Grail compilations do not go quite that far, the tenuous relationship of some parts of Manessier and Gerbert in particular to the Grail theme and the obvious 'newness'of some of the material (compared with, say, much of the First Continuation) do illustrate the process of accretion which characterizes much later Arthurian romance. The performance of Perceval and the Biau Mauvais at a tournament organized by King Baudemagus underlines Perceval's present status as a hero in the ascendant. The Biau Mauvais will henceforth be known as the Biau Hardi. He and Perceval separate, but will meet again at Arthur's court at Pentecost (#25). The encounter between Perceval and Hectoq in which the near-fatal wounds they inflict on each other in an incognito combat are cured only by a vision of the Holy Grail borne by an angel (#26), is likewise related in the prose Lancelot and once more shows the assimilation of later prose and verse romance. Any study of the Bohort-Lionel episodes and the Queste should consider these analogues also. Before arriving at the Fisher King's castle, Perceval defeats and kills the unre-

pentant Partinal, murderer of the Fisher King's brother, Goondesert (#27). Perceval takes Partinal's head to the Fisher King who, miraculously cured, has it impaled on a stake and displayed atop a tower. After the Grail, Lance and tailleor have passed before them three times during their meal, Perceval and the Fisher King discuss their family relationships: Perceval's mother was the king's sister and they are therefore uncle and nephew. Perceval refuses to accept the Fisher King's crown and lands while the king is alive and departs for Arthur's court (#28). This appears as a false climax, for, although Perceval seems to have achieved all his goals and quests, especially healing the Fisher King, the resolution of the romance is postponed briefly while he carries out the promise to be at Arthurt court at Pentecost. Essentially, this is little more than a tying up of loose ends, a farewell to the world before Perceval takes over at Corbenic. Perceval's impending arrival at Arthur's court at Pentecost is announced the preceding day by six defeated opponents, Salandre des Isles and his five sons. Wearing the Fisher King's black armour, Perceval finally arrives to great rejoicing and all the knights relate their recent adventures. The Bohort-Lionel conflict, the death of Calogrenant and various adventures of Perceval are described in some detail, constituting the last of the many narrative summaries found throughout the course of the Continuations. Arthur has the adventures written down and sealed in an 'aumaire' (library) in Salisbury. After eight days of celebrations, a damsel arrives with letters announcing the death of the Fisher King and summoning Perceval to be crowned his successor at Corbenic (#29).In Arthur's presence, Perceval is crowned on All Saints'Day, and all witness the procession of Grail, Lance and tailleor every day for a month and a day. Arthur and his

company then r-; which he \\irhc:-, Maronne. \\ hc, -- -and tailleor tc,. acolyte, subde.;

tailleor, none


beside the Fis. -

Flandre, indic -, ..: sword) and cl.r. t. Manessier's ,. , achieved and t. : desactaltze,J ',t, . Maronne. A1u.,, -. Continuation .r. i Manessier dtr: > ' world that the (- r . tion that Arti'r ..: , .


into internecir:; . .1 rewritirg it u it.. -, to be in the s-:' Arthurian adr .r. . dral city of SaL: : * identified \\ irh :. . SOUTCOS. RO1I.rI--; Gerbert de \Iorrrrr

The nature oi \ 1 ., Continuations : -, * naffative. \\-hi.; telling after th; ; de Montreuil's >trbetween the Se.. . the compilatic:t :nouv. acq. fr. tr.Manessier anc (_combined uitit t,


th: (naty cultural -:.. *

Perceval and

Manuscripts f ;.. * probably in or i.1: - -.

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Like Wauchier de Denain, Gerbert de Montreuil is recognized as the author of other works, in his case primarily the Roman de la Violette, dedicated to Marie de Ponthieu (1199-1250, m. Simon II de Dammartin c.l2l2). Manessier, too, judging from his dedication to Jeanne de Flandre (d. 1244, r. l2l4-27 during the imprisonment of her husband, Ferrand of Portugal), was a professional poet working in the setting of a court. It is therefore clear that the cultural context of at least four parts of the compilation (Chr6tierr's Perceval, the Second Continuation and those of Manessier and Gerbert) is strictly central rather than peripheral in any sense. We know of no other work by Manessier, but if Wauchier's other known works are hagiographical in nature, Gerbert's Roman de la Violette is in the mainstream of courtly narrative, exhibiting also direct knowledge of the lyric tradition. Indeed, Gerbert's Continuation is probably more conventional than any of the others and shows an even stronger tendency than Manessier to incorporate material from outside the immediate context of the Grail Quest. It differs, however, in the strongly moralizing tone found in many of its episodes, which resembles that of, say, the Vulgate Queste. Gerbert's Continuation dates from c.1225-30, not much later than Manessier, and is more or less contemporary with the Roman de la Violette.2a Gerbert's Continuation is interpolated at Second Continuation32594 and the transition back to Manessier is effected by the repetition of the last fourteen lines of the Second Continuation (32581-94). As with the other Continuations, there are clear attempts to recall Chrötien and other parts of the compilation, as well as to incorporate apparently extraneous matter as a means of expanding the narrative.2s Stephens (1996) has also argued that Gerbert is responding to what he perceives as deficiencies or lacks in Manessier. Gerbert begins at the point when Perceval has just failed to rejoin perfectly the two parts of the broken sword, but has just been offered the lordship of his castle by the Fisher King (Second Continuation, #35). Perceval's failure is now attributed fairly and squarely to his sins (including that relating to his mother's death) and a heavenly voice instructs him to return to his maternal home; he wakes up the next morning far from the castle. Unable to enter a garden surrounded by a black and white wall, Perceval strikes the door with his sword, breaking the latter in two once more. An old man tells Perceval that he will never enter the earthly paradise (and through it the celestial one) or discover the truth about the Grail, until his sword is mended by the smith who made it. The old man gives Perceval a letter which restores the sanity of those upon whose head it is placed (l-286, #1); Perceval hangs it around his neck (Sturm-Maddox 1994). When he looks back, the garden has disappeared, just as the Grail Castle had done. Perceval is hailed as a saviour at Cotoatre, home of Tiibüet the Smith, where he nevertheless has to resist sexual temptation in the person of a damsel named Escolasse. After killing two serpents, he meets the smith who indeed restores the sword to its original condition


#l r F;

have both becr-'.r-.; pair to their Sir.:: where ther St.1'. ..- : A number rtr- -:cance genera11,. .:-.

need of conr^- -. : other Contirlt-.. the sword. and . and importan;; Fisher King's . _ -.: conclusion. In :.-.. ination of the I -. and transcendc-- -: repair and resi,-- r-: tive, towards t. -; : Larmat 1971 I :^,,. other Continli;:. ' letter, sug._qe t --. ;





Perceval's el;successful atten-: from the pros- :


success also lib;:-, chair, and u-htr - - -, * for yet another . visits to the Fts: Kay's broken i.i::rperhaps remin.i.:. .. uuvre, &s it is i- ; -





Ysmaine, no\\ r; -: l her false lover F.: r -, so before sendil.: cross reveals th.t: -be in love with P::-,



of e r.:

sister, his Hernt,


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IelocJod '11u u : t: eql IUoU ,re,J it.i:SlSnJlSUI eCtO r. ''-, sF{ o} Älerenbs l-.

puoceg) 3rl) *: lnq 'p"rozus Lrarlc,*uor{^\ lurod aq1 -:eq ler{^A o} Surp,. -eileu or{l 3u1pti," s3 IIOA\ SU 'UO Itl':;,-

eJer{} 'suorlenrrr r::

seu{ ueeunoJ tsi'3t{} pu? v69ca


eJoru sr puE 'Jerss; S6UegJeO 'alt '':( go Äueur ul plrllci 3r{} Jo }xeluoJ :-: ueql ,(cuepuel ::: ororu Ä1qeqo.rC s -1Kou>I lCeJIp rrs":'

ap u0ruoY s.u3qj: JI lnq tetssotl t' | ueql Jer{}BJ IEr I L;: puoces eq] '!i.

Jo lxeluoc IErl'rlf



leuorssoJt-u J

oql Eur"rnp LC-t l: 'oo] terssouu I \ ep erJBI I o] p3]t.'-: Jo ror{]].le oq} sE p;




between his text and Chr6tien's, Gerbert provides a reminder of the latter's opening scenes essentially through Perceval's eyes, but Perceval resolves to remove his sister from the forest, despite its apparent prosperity (2587-731, #7). Together with his sister, Perceval visits his mother's grave and his Hermit Uncle, who delivers a sermon on the duties of a Christian knight (2732-95, #8). Next day, Perceval continues his quest for the Grail and the Lance, taking his sister with him. He defeats Mordred, who attempts to carry off his sister, and sends him back to Arthur's court. The description of the Castle of Maidens shows a detailed knowledge of episode 20 of the Second Continuation, and Perceval continues to relive his childhood by informing the lady of the castle how his mother used to call him 'biaus fieus'and he called her 'mere'. It is not clear when the Fisher King told Perceval that his father's name was Gales li Chaus (3072-73), but this episode is the occasion of further revelations about his lineage: the lady of the castle reveals that she is his mother's cousin, and that his mother was called Philosofine (3181). The two cousins had brought the Grail from over the sea, but it had been taken by angels for safe-keeping to the Fisher King; one of the maidens tells Perceval that their lady is 'dame sainte Ysabiaus' (3243).In a sense, Gerbert is here 'demystifying' Chrötien's text, although the revelations are almost as mysterious as the enigmas themselves. There follows the episode of 'Tiistan menestrel', which draws into the context of a Grail romance material that is fundamentally extraneous and originally nonArthurian, although contemporaneous; the integration of the Tiistan story into the Arthurian world is being realized elsewhere, notably in the Prose Tristan. Although 'Tristan menestrel'is usually referred to as an interpolation, it is in fact quite well integrated into the Continuation. During the festivities which follow Mordred's return to court, a knight arrives and challenges the company; he defeats Girflet, Lancelot and Yvain before being recognized as Tiistan during his joust with Gauvain. Together with a group of Arthur's knights, they visit Cornwall disguised as minstrels and Tiistan reveals himself to Yseut, with whom he is reunited. They help Mark in a tournament against the Roi des Cent Chevaliers, during which Perceval appears, exhausted but still able to defeat the mocking Kay, and then Agravain, Clig6s, Lancelot and Tristan. He helps Gauvain and Yvain to convince Mark to forgive Tristan, who remains in Cornwall. Gauvain leaves to rescue the damsel of Montescleire while Perceval continues on his Grail Quest (27964868, #9). 'Tiistan menestrel' is itself something of an intertextual performance and its integration into the Continuation extends the ramifications of its narrative beyond the traditional boundaries of the Tristan matter (Busby 1983; Kjer 1990; see chapter III). In an extraordinary metamorphosis, Gornemant de Goort, at whose castle Perceval now arrives, is transformed into an avatar of the Fisher King ('je n'ai pooir de mon cors', t have no power over my body,5054), and his country is

transformed in:, -. by hordes of c.'. . containin,*u a n -. r.- -


injllr-. :

accompan). Perc; described it. Pe:- = of the flesh. b''ri: :.-

supreme contl::. _ ##1 1-12). Ger r - r' that Chrdtien r. - * related the adr 3.. .

containedinab Perceval 1ei.1,, .. Rohais from th;



to Carduel. He -r-is lying wountl;*. casks of balnt: : . ; administer the r;.1-.: followers, and :; --.' coming to ä crC,>:. safety of Duree ;.. Perceval choos.s :i'


(7 01 5-S




Perceval witre S>;:

Roussel 1983l:



Grail by remor::.: Tiue Cross) frt-rn- .: allegorical expl; ..


forgets to ask ab _ .. from its fire-spii. besiegirg the Pu;.defeats him, ther-: Dras Envers. ä1s,--, : maiden abscollr Continuation th.r: : him a stern sern.'_-,r, deathbed cont-ess. . lengthy digressit',I : sin and repentäIl,.;" while frequent 1i::. >


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6snerq?s^ 3lrrrIts


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eq] Jo





foundation in the verse compilation. Other intertextual links may suggest that Gerbert also knew Perlesvaus (8906-10148, #15;see Saly 1998). In the chapel of an abbey, a priest celebrates Mass and offers the host to a wounded king. A monk tells Perceval the story of Evalac's conversion by Joseph of Arimathea and baptism as Mordrain. Joseph was guardian of the Grail, Philosofine (Perceval's mother) of the tailleor, and an unnamed lady of the Lance. The pagan King Crudel imprisoned all three until Mordrain liberated them, killing Crudel in the process. Mordrain, however, is too eager to approach the Grail and is punished for his temerity; he is the wounded knight in the chapel and has been there for 300 years. Perceval has to leave before he learns whether he has healed Mordrain (10149-613, #16). Gerbert is here probably rewriting material from L'Estoire del Saint Graal and the Queste, which both contain the Evalach-Mordrain story, although the knight in question there, of course, is Galahad; Mordrain is clearly a double of the Fisher King. Gerbert now takes up a long-forgotten thread from Chr6tien's Perceval. If one constituent of the poetics of continuation is the completion of interrupted adventures, another is the narrative capital to be made by the retrospective motivation of the unexplained. Chr6tien's art of mystification, or the poetics of early romance, does not require explanation of the Chevalier Vermeil's aggressive behaviour at Arthur's court, but that is precisely what Gerbert now provides. Perceval arrives unknowingly at the castle belonging to the Chevalier Vermeil's daughter and four sons (Leander, Evander, Enardus and Meliadas). An ivory coffin which has arrived drawn by a swan is opened by Perceval and contains the corpse of the Chevalier Vermeil and a letter claiming that only the murderer could have opened it. After a lengthy and interrupted combat with Leander, in which he uses their young nephew as a human shield, Perceval is assaulted by the four wicked knights who had originally urged the Chevalier Vermeil to claim Arthur's lands; Perceval defeats them with the help of a minstrel and they are thrown into prison and executed the next day. Recognizingthat Perceval was not entirely responsible for their father's death, the brothers forgive him and release their prisoners, including Gauvain. The latter will go to Montesclaire to liberate the damsel and Perceval will continue his quest for the Grail and the Lance. The tale now leaves Perceval and turns to an adventure of Gauvain (10614-12380, #r7). In addition to maintaining the alternation of heroes, this particular adventure provides a shocking contrast with the edifying nature of Perceval's ascent towards moral and spiritual perfection. Bloeisine, the daughter of Urpin, welcomes Gauvain with open arms, but intends to kill him with a knife concealed under her pillow because he had killed one of her brothers, Brun de l'Essart. Gauvain is attacked in turn by the girl's cousins and brothers, who refuse his offer to go into exile for three years to atone for the murder. Unwittingly, Gauvain

arrives at L rp,:-'.

truthfully his :--: takes him int.. -;used as a hunr::. : with Urpin. \\ ir :-

from the Puce,; -: ) and the next c;. who had conr; : Perceval(1135--After listenr: into freein-u a d:.. it returns atte: .-..#19). Percer ar :. had been kil1ec damsel, who ,i - s -,: damsel, up to i-.;. for claiming ti...: : the knight Br,r:-.dons her after s. : Underlining th; :,,


Felisse de la B.;. He receives hc s: .:


he departs. Pe:,.' whom he dett.,:, brother of a i. -: ,' (recalling the d--, news of Perce ., -.-, defeats Ka) Aitü tailleor and L;i -. ; effected by rl Li i r -: refers to 'li colli;: Perceval falis ,-. attached to ä cr,- :: him to his flnir, ;=, the night betbr; :' which came olr: still unclear to ... ' ,


Lance and a bra,:-.

King pronolrlrC;: and Perceval c;r:.


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this point, manuscripts 7 and V repeat the last fourteen lines of the Second Continuation before proceeding with Manessier. The conclusion to Perceval's adventures and the romance is thus illusory, for it is deferred for over 10,000lines. Conclusion

In a sense, Chr6tien's Perceval and its four Continuations are so many articulations of the coexistence, the conflicts and the interrelationship between the secular and the spiritual, and between chivalry and theology, the former in the service of the latter, but ultimately and always subservient to it. This might be the basic theme of the compilation, if it is necessary to seek one, and the later texts, particularly Gerbert, and some episodes interpolated into the Mixed and Long Redactions of the First Continuation are relatively explicit doctrinally. The first two Continuations, however, seem to follow Chr6tien in retaining and even propagating a kind of curious ineffability, informed by both the merveilleux arthurien and the merveilleux chrötien. Structurally, although all of the continuators demonstrate a concern with anchoring their own contribution in the Grail romance as a whole, the kind of analysis that is possible for Chr6tien's earlier romances, and even to some degree for Perceval, is of doubtful value. Something similar may be true of the kind of ethical and moral concerns on which Chr6tien's romances are centred: although we may evaluate the protagonists' behaviour to some degree, the conflict between love, marriage and knighthood does not seem to be a basic concern of the continuators. Such issues may have been regarded as already explored by Chr6tien and superseded by the basic question of how Perceval is to prepare himself spiritually to succeed in his Grail quest. Manessier and Gerbert do, however, explore the nature of knighthood and its function in a Christian society. Although Gerbert especially takes pains to stress Perceval's frustrated preoccupation with the Grail quest, it is diflicult not to feel that the continuators are more often than not caught up in the joy of story-telling, paradoxically pressured by that same lack of closure which assures the furtherance of the text. To date, modern scholarship on the Continuations has concentrated largely on issues of character presentation, narrative structure, sources and relationships between the different parts of the compilation and other Arthurian romances. It has not been particularly prolific and is consequently an area offering a good deal of potential. It has been necessary to provide long narrative summaries of the texts here because they are still relatively neglected. If the rehabilitation or legitimacy of the Lancelot-Grail and the post-Chr6tien epigonal romances as objects of study has been established in recent decades, the same cannot be said of the Continuations. Now that we are beginning to understand better the mechanics of medieval narrative composition and the transmission of texts in manuscript, and to read them on their own terms rather than by the received norms of modern

scholarshi:. ., crr ...: :


Robert de


Two works : Secondarr It,:rrEstoir"e cloti (-;' .

br \. .: . B\ F. ' : d'Arimatlti, ; : 1919).26 Rcb;: and to Britis: (edited (Paris,





accounts oi -. - l Uther Pen,Jr-.: 442-50, g-: --: effort to ctr: . r : romance re\\ r. . Merlin bl in.,::: Brut (Roach ; Didot-Pert(' ,.. transmissior, -,.- de Boron. ät .;.:: Robert de B land betu.eer. I: important c I -.: S


The mises

t',ti .

shortly after . verse antecec;.. Robert de B.': : Perceval. Tbis .


de Troyes s i.i:r-.:

Supper, in u 1.--,and because :: :

in a west\\ arü :t(Gowans 9": 1

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.. ..


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of Avalon. There he must await Alain's son to learn Moyse's fate. Robert

keeps co11-ip . -:-. :

names himself; his book abbreviates the story (3155-64). The light appears at the next Grail service and the letter is given to Petrus, who departs. Bron invests

fatherless b,--." him. Merlrr- .r ,:,

Alain with lordship over the elect and they migrate to foreign lands where Alain preaches. Joseph entrusts the vessel and teaches the Grail's secrets to Bron, who catches fish used in the Grail service, and therefore must be known as the Rich Fisher. He must await his grandson and give him the Grail. Petrus and Bron leave and Joseph dies in the land of his birth (#6: 2843-3460). Epilogue. Robert projects four narrative branches ('parts') that derive from the Estoire dou Graal, which he is the first to write about. They concern Alain, Petrus, Moyse and Bron,31 and he hopes to bring them together in one account if he can find the proper sources, but a fifth branch must be told first, upon which depends the meaning of the other four (#7:3461-3514). The Merlin follows in Ä without interruption.



Meylin Merlin's conception and early childhood. Satan and his devils scheme to spawn a man in his image to counter Christ's redemption. A woman gives a devil control over all she and her husband possess. He kills their livestock and their son, and provokes her to hang herself; her husband dies of grief, leaving three daughters. The youngest is seduced at the devil's behest and buried alive for her sin. When a worthy priest (Blaise) comforts her sisters, the devil seeks to destroy them. The younger sister sinks into debauchery (the verse text in Ä ends here, line 504, due to the loss of the remaining gatherings), but the elder, whose piety is strengthened, is violated by an incubus as she sleeps. She confesses to the priest that she may have been deflowered by a devil (#1: 1-504, §4, 31-§7).32 She is brought to justice and is locked in a tower to await her child's birth and her punishment. When Merlin is born, he possesses a devil's natural knowledge of things past and present, but God also endows him with knowledge of the future (#2: §§8-11). Court is convened and the mother's sentence is pronounced, but the child Merlin proves her innocence and recounts the true story of his conception and the grace he enjoys. He has the judge and other witnesses tell their stories to Blaise, who will henceforth serve as Merlin's scribe. Merlin dictates the events of the Estoire and his own early life. He also foretells events connected with Vortigern's tower and the composition of Blaise's book (#3: §§12-16, see #5 below). Merlin's entry into pre-Arthurian history. King Constant is succeeded by his weak son, Moine, who is attacked and routed by pagan Saxons. Moine's men treat with his seneschal, Vortigern, who is declared king after they kill Moine, whose brothers, Pendragon and Uther, flee to the Continent. When the people revolt, Vortigern enlists Saxons to quell the uprising. He marries the sister of the Saxon leader Hengist (#a: §17{19, 19). Vortigern builds a defensive tower that



,JeI:. - :

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',\. .

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to be writter:. his words. T: .. speech and t:.; Merlin corr- one of the b: - . Uther is cr,-.',:, .- ; .

because a ,Jl.:

ally transptrr: .: burial grolilr. ' origins of hr> : ward migrul: . .

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Uther's fifti '.'. :seat. The etre;: §47{49, 65: S;; and fulfil the C


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vacant place; a knight takes the seat and immediately melts away. Uther refuses to let others undergo the test (#10: §49, 68-§51). King Arthur. As Merlin commanded, Uther begins holding obligatory court at Carduel at Christmas, Pentecost and All Saints. At an extraordinary court, he falls in love at first sight with Ygerne, wife of the Duke of Tintagel; she avoids him, but dares not refuse his gifts. At Pentecost, Uther lavishes gifts on her and her distress increases. At the next court, the duke makes her accept a golden goblet from Uther; that night Ygerne tells her husband of Uther's advances. Angry, but fearful, the duke and his party slip away. Uther challenges him. Abandoning the rest of his lands, the duke lodges his wife at Tintagel and himself in another invincible castle. Merlin promises that Uther will sleep with Ygerne. Through Merlin's magic, Uther takes on the likeness of the duke, and Ulfin and Merlin take on those of his companions, Jordan and Bretel. They ride into Tintagel, where Ygerne receives Uther in her bed (#11: §§52-65). When word arrives that the duke has been killed, Uther and his companions rush away. Merlin claims as his reward the male conceived that night. The duke has been killed and his castle taken. After Merlin departs to dictate to Blaise, Uther makes peace with Ygerne and her vassals. She weds Uther and her daughter marries King Lot of Orkney, while the duke's bastard daughter, Morgan the Fay, marries King Neutre of Garlot. Meanwhile, Ygerne confesses to Uther that the night the duke was killed she lay with another man in his form.35 To hide her shame, they agree to give the child to Antor to raise; Antor's wife will give her own son Kay to a peasant to nurse (hence his harsh behaviour) and will nurse the baby herself. When the child is born, Merlin delivers him to Antor, who must baptize him Arthur (#12: §§66-76). Much later, Ygerne grows old and dies, and Uther dies in Logres36 after putting down a rebellion. After prophesying that God will choose the new king at Christmas, Merlin goes to Blaise (#13: §77{81,14).37 Antor has raised Arthur as agreed. Kay was knighted at All Saints. At Christmas, Antor brings both to Logres, where all barons and prelates gather. On Christmas morning , a great stone is found bearing an anvil with a sword stuck through it. The one who withdraws the sword will be the king chosen by Christ. All who attempt the test fail, but Arthur easily takes the sword later when Kay has him fetch his sword and he cannot find it. Kay boasts to Antor that he has succeeded, but soon admits the truth. When all witness Arthur's success, the archbishop declares him king, but disgruntled barons force him to hold further trials at Candlemas and Easter. Finally, on Easter Eve, the archbishop admonishes all to accept God's will. On Sunday, Arthur succeeds again and all consent to crown him at Pentecost. He demonstrates his essential nobility in cheerful acts of generosity. On Whitsun Eve, Arthur is knighted and keeps vigil. He forgives his detractors and one last time removes the sword. The crowd take him to the altar to be crowned. Thereafter he holds the kingdom of Logres in peace for a long time (#14: §81, 14-§91,58).38

The Didot- Pe'rt


Percet'ul':' , : him. Alain. .

Percer,'al de i,:r


the first tir:tc .= j' 10-29). S.-. Jr: the four St-ri-.: court and L1:; r tutes the Ro -..- : .

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Perceval joil>.

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of taking th; .- Arthur's prt't;: . stone bene .r . .ignorin-u \l;:..:.

be healed. ,.- r himself to 3; . whom the C. -, maiden \\ e.:.:- . giant, thel t,--, -. , Orguelleus c; tent himseli -: - forces him t. r . = queen (#3. B-F" magic chess: , -: -

not hear hi::. nearby. He :.

-..' -^

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into his tontb 1 . the stag's ite -: -




GasteFores: *-Grail Castle. ..' . their mother .-.: hermit, thei: .. hermit has rc..- -

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He counsels Perceval to keep from sin and avoid killing knights. Perceval escorts his sister home (#5, B-R: F; D 606-776, E 632-810). Perceval meets a knight, the Handsome Coward, with a hideous lady, Blond Rosette. When Perceval laughs at her, the knight challenges him and is defeated. Perceval spares him and sends him with his lady to Arthur's court. She is mocked, but eventually grows beautiful (#6, B-R: G; D 776-902, E 810-965). Perceval is challenged at a ford by a knight, lJrbain, whose fairy lover, the Queen of the Black Thorn, lives in an invisible castle. Perceval defeats him and hears his story. A gloom descends and a voice curses Perceval, who is attacked by monstrous birds. When he kills one of them, its body turns into that of a woman. The birds were Urbain's lady and her attendants who were trying to help Urbain escape. The dead woman is his lady's sister, who is now happy in Avalon (#7, B-R: H; D 902-1007, 896G1114). At a crossroad, Perceval sees two children playing in a tree beside a cross. One tells Perceval to take the right-hand branch of the road, where something will help him in his quest for the Fisher King. Tree, children and cross disappear (#8, B-R: J; D 1007-26, E A voice from a shadow, speaking as Merlin on behalf of Perceval Christ, tells to do as the child instructed. If he proves worthy, he will fulfil God's prophecy to Joseph (#9, B-R: K; D 102740, E 1146-64). Perceval sees three men fishing in a boat on a river. One, his grandfather Bron, invites him to spend the night. At the castle, Bron is already waiting for him in the hall. During the first


course of their meal, they see a maiden carrying two silver carving platters, followed by a youth holding a lance with three drops of blood coming from its tip. They disappear into another room. At the sight of another youth bringing in Joseph's vessel, the Grail,al all bow and strike their breasts in contrition. Later, the procession returns. Perceval yearns to ask about the Grail, but fears offending his host. If he had asked whom the Grail served, the Fisher King would have been healed. Next morning, the castle is deserted and the gate stands open for him to leave (#10, B-R: L; D 1040-1106, E 1165-1269). Perceval sees a maiden weeping disconsolately. She curses him for failing to heal his grandfather, to make himself the keeper of Christ's blood or to release Britain from all enchantments and evils (#11, B-R: M; D 1107-33, E 1270-1303). Perceval finds a maiden standing with her palfrey beside atree, where his stag's head hangs; he takes the head. While she protests, he sees his lady's hound chasing a deer. As he makes to seize the dog, he is challenged by a knight who was hunting with it. Perceval defeats him. The hag who took his stag's head is the sister of the lady of the Chessboard Castle and the fairylover of the Tomb Knight. Perceval takes the stag's head to his lady, who forgives his delay and offers him her castle. He leaves because he has vowed not to stay two nights in the same place before finding the Fisher King (#12, B-R: E2; D | | 33-1239, E I 303-t 447). Perceval's second Grail quest Perceval wanders seven years, sending many defeated knights to King Arthur, but, unable to find the Fisher King's castle



again he S,-';: when he nr;;.: wearin._q ar:r. .

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struck by a lance in the chest. He is taken to Avalon, where Morgan tends his wounds. The Britons wait for him at Carduel for forty years before electing another king. He has been seen hunting in the forests thereabouts (#19, B-R: T; D t91,4-57, E 254r-2652). Conclusion. Merlin dictates to Blaise, then informs him and Perceval that God has commanded him to build a dwelling outside the castle. He will live there, in his esplumoir (E) or esplumeor (D) ('moulting cage'),43 unseen by anyone, until he dies at the end of time, after which he will enjoy life everlasting (Nitze 1943). He prays God to be merciful to all those who hear his book or have it copied (#20, B-R: U; D 1958-80, 82652-74).

We know a little less about Robert de Boron than we do about Chr6tien de Troyes himself (Giflin 1965; Gallais 1970;Pickens 1995; O'Gorman 1996). He was associated with Gautier de Montfaucon, Count of Montb6liard in Imperial Burgundy not far from Belfort, in whose court he wrote the Estoire around the year 1200. The village of Boron, from which he hailed, lies within twelve miles of Montb6liard. Robert's use of Wace and Chrötien de Troyes, and especially of a large number of Latin sacred and theological texts (O'Gorman1979), shows that he was a man of learning and culture. As Robert was in service to Gautier de Montfaucon when he finished the verse Estoire dou Graal, he certainly wrote prior to 1202,when Gautier left for the Fourth Crusade, never to return, dying in 1210. Confusion about Robert's social status arises because of the way his very name appears in the manuscript of the verce Estoire, where he names himself twice.

Once he appears as 'Messires Roberz de Beron' (O'Gorman edt,346l),aa and messire occurs in all subsequent references to him by other writers and in all texts attributed to him. The title implies that he was of the knightly class and that he might have held Boron as a fief; the military association is strengthened by the

fact that, in naming his patron, Robert stresses that he is with him in time of peace ('en peis', 3490), when a knight might well have the leisure to write (Micha edn, §23, 634; Merlin, #5). However, another title is found earlier in the Estoire manuscript: 'Meistres Roberz. . . de Bouron'(3155). The term meistres refers to a clerc who,like Maistre Wace,45 has had formal training in Latin and follows a career involving him with the written word. The two titles, messires and meistres, are contradictory: they imply mutually exclusive vocations, unless one were to imagine Robert as an incongruous clerc guerrier, although Micha (1968,467) accepts with baffling equanimity the implications of both designations together. But everything we know about the very tradition of writing in vernacular romance, and what we know or can surmise about the authors who name themselves, lend added weight to arguments in favour of Robert's clerkly status (Uitti teTs).

In the \ I rcc. :

throughout ::. have been ,1 r; .l survive aloni ',' only part oi ,: :: ment of anrr:^ him \\itit ;=:.., of the thirr.;: manuscripts . . andlor the -11. The tu'o n. -:. , -. ginal of the : mention Rt t;. Significäntir. :-. .




BL, Add. 1l: -: with a text. l,- : : \ (§91 , 59-69: :;; of the Est,',ii'.' which pertai:and the prosc Perceval in s.,::-. In all prob-,: they represe:r: -prose Josepi. -:r. they are allr r- -- i -




of the e,:r. :. survival oi n.; patently obr :,- -., not nearl)' Str ; : prose adapt-1: l produced an -, : neSS of his st.:: --:: As i*por i;rhistory br sc: Robert de Brrt-, .. very recentlr, F,. tant scholarl,, 2000, Trach s -. Rob::. , one




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-topl1 eql Jo drqsroqlnu s,uegog roJ esuc eql ueqfuetls'utl,.ta1y eso"rd eq1 pue qdaso1 oq1 qloq lrusueJl o1 sldr.rcsnueru ueounoJ erll Jo JnoJ o1 urcped gcFlrv\ 's1ce3 eseql ,{"ro1srq Irerg srq Jo seqcuerq luenbesgns eqt'rydaso1-ailoßg eq} Jo uorsnlcuoc eql 1e 'slcolo.rd lroqog se tsn['(1 reldeqc '086I uqclhi ees i69-69 '16§) .( q8noql 'ptacta4-tople eql selqueser luql 6pepr^ord 1ou '1x4 qlr^\ 1ou " ulLtary eq] 01 uorluolur sr{ orueu s(lreqo)I ur ecunouue (T,6Z0I'ppv '-Ifl ^\olloJ :g leseq s.eqcrl4l 'LbL'JJ UNg :f.) sldrrcsnueur ror{}o o r} tezreryroq tlluecgruErg 'ecueJeJur Äq ,(po rulq 01 polnqrJlle oq uec 1! 'eureu s(Ueqol{ uor}ueru lou seop p^nad-topr1 aql sV 'pelsrxe re^e uorsnlcuoc s,Ä8oyrrl eq1 go yeur8 -rJo esJel e'ßLll ecuepr^o ou JoJlo plaJad-topl1l eql3o sldrrcsnueru o \l eqI 'uluaw 0rI1ro/pue ailosg oql Jo suorlc€peJ snorJu^ ur suorleldepu esord ureluoc sldrrcsnueru os ro erocs ooJrll Jerllo eHI qr'(9-? 'upe uerurog,g) ,ftn1uoc qluoolJrrll oql Jo pue eql ruo.t; se}ep (1OOZ '"t3 UNg) U Sru 'ldr.rcsnueru srql lÄ}ure}rec q}r^\ urlq o} pelnqlJlle,(11n9 eq ueo'lducsnueru orues eql ut 'u11ta1q esre^ eq1 teqloue Jo luoru -3e4e pue'po"tg nop a.ilotsg esJe^ eql 'ldrrcsnuuru euo ur {Jo.& euo go ged .(po ]eÄ '(8s6I eqoll tr i71-p'upa uerurog.O) s-reqto ;o slueur8e.r; r{}l^\ Euole e r^rns qclq1!\ 3o ,(1xrs euros 'sldrrcsnuBru Jo Jeqrunu e3.re1 ,{1ge1J€rueJ e ueeq e^eg ol sreodde leq/v\ q puo,(eq pue plJo^\ euoqdocuerg le^erpeul oql lnoq8noJr{} pol€urruessrp erea rulq o] pelnqrJllu s{ro1( 0q1 pue oru€u srq pu€ 'lrcrg eg} uo,$uoqlne eruud e peJoprsuoc set\ lreqoä se8y e1pprry eq] uI

go,fuo1srq oql L9Z






eq ueqA\ uo3nLri-' JO U€Iu e SE.\\ aq Jo Jeqlunu aiJf l

'pr€ll?Qluo6 li, eqI '007,1 ;ea i ::

,(punErng 1euad. -ICOSSB Se,,!\ O{_{ 'r

ser(o,r; ep uortari.;

'02#) perdoc rr ; eH 'GVOy oztr-\ oq 1t]un 'euo.iur'

ur 'orer{l e^ll III \.'

poo lBql IE.\e]r:


:U-g '61#) st



sFI spue]







of manuscript transmission and textual translatio. Nevertheless, although his skills in versification are certainly not those of a Chr6tien de Troyes, he has few of his poetic vision or, a prime concern in medieval poetics, in his inventive use of sources. Robert's verse romances and the second-generation prose adaptations had a tremendous influence on Arthurian literature to come, particularly on the Vulgate Cycle: the Vulgate Merlin, where Robert's contribution will be discussed in detail in chapter VII, the Vulgate Estoire del Saint Graal and the Queste del Saint GraaL From Robert's Joseph onwards, the Grail will always be referred to as saint and will always be identified with Christ's cup. Moreover, as we have seen, the Joseph connects Grail history with the history of human redemption and, via Joseph of Arimathea and his family, it makes Great Britain the preordained haven for the Grail-keepers. Robert's Estoire seeks to place Grail history, as Chr6tien de Troyes reveals it and Robert interprets it, within the context of sacred history, for it translates and incorporates several authoritative texts, including the peers in the scope

Bible and apocryphal works (James edn, de Santos Otero edn) such as the Gospel of Pseudo-Matthew, the Protevangelium of James and the Gospel of Nicodemus (or Acts of Pilate), as well as a Cura sanitatis Tiberü and Vindicta Salvatoris, which recount, in turn, the healing powers of Veronica's veil and the destruction of Jerusalem (see Micha 1968, O'Gorman 1979). Accordingly, the Estoire opens with references to the Old Testament Prophets and the confinement of all dead souls to hell, and continues the history of redemption with the Immaculate Conception and birth of Mary (Pseudo-Matthew, James),ae the Annunciation and the birth of Christ. It then moves to an account of Christ's trial before Pilate (Pilate, Nicodemus), the Crucifixion, the descent from the Cross, the Harrowing of Hell, the Resurrection (Nico demus as well as canonical accounts), the healing of Vespasian (Cura, Vindicta) and the imprisonment and liberation of Joseph of Arimathea thanks to the intervention of Titus and Vespasian(Vindicta). Similarly, the Merlin succeeds in conjoining Grail history with British history, also in harmony with Chr6tien's Perceyal. The sacred texts Robert employs to create a context for early Grail history, especially those pertaining to the Virgin Mary and the conception and birth of Christ, provide parallels that are developed in the Merlin, which Robert deliberately opens (§§1-16) with a series of episodes that mirror the beginning of the Estoire (11-614). In negative correlation with the Estoire, the Merlin begins with devils discussing the Harrowing of Hell;they complain about how Christ came to release the prophets who had been their prisoners (cf. Nicodemus). They plan revenge and hatch their plot to produce an Anti-Christ by having an incubus impregnate a young, pious virgin (cf. Protevangelium, canonical Gospels).50 She gives birth to a precocious boy she names Merlin. He is saved from the devils thanks to her prayers and the ministrations of her chaplain, who makes clear to her the nature of the being who raped

her. E,ventll.-r. '

boy turns tir: olded his iir: r


. -:


Robert inr er.: .

with a co rri i: purposes. \ l::. powers and tc -..

Just as sig:


. -

material ft r.:.; Wace's Brtrt' 1.,, because

oi rr- ;

Geoffre)'s IJ

not n a -r -; Ygerne (\\ r.i. does


Robert (§61. world. Robe::', below.



s. .'

Arthurian lit;r.: satisfies in r. -:.return to the L;, much else. n,. outcome in t;r - sets into p1.,1.. : dynamics oi \ 1.

as instigator : reintroduce> ..- ; ical fact, bl ir. . of the 'encit.,..

King:5l Arthr.: -they find the::. : adventures .1 ..:. :' court, in a cc i, r ,* ment to the C:", success is th.= ! -. only to Chre t.; Grail histor) tRT .

latul drolsrq II?rC go ,fierr1ue oql 01 osle lnq 'uorlenu4uo3 puoces-ultlc-1r.L»"tad s.uoIlgJI{C o1 ,(1uo lou eJnsolc s8uuq p^ilDd-toplg oql 'eurTcop s.rnrllJv Jo esnec oql sr sseccns s.l€^ecJed 'poopul 'eruo5 lsure8e r€,& oql r{l!,l pue s1r o1 'e11su3 Irurg eq} ol }ueru -eJrleJ s.lelecJed Surpnlcur pue uorsnlcuoc utLtaIN ogl qlrzv\ ecuepJocce ur olrnoc

s,JnrIUV Eur; Euno,( Jo osrr eql ruo4 '€ueunquv xed egl Sur.rnp seJnlue^pe IB^ecJed er{} solenlrs .(llrcqdxe lt^ilDd-toplq eql snqJ 'ecuerd ur ruoq} pug,(eq1 puu 'ueql Jo rlcJees ur spusl uSrero; o1 oB lsnu slq8rul sq puu Jnr{uv ,r:3ut;1 IreJc se uorsseccns s.l€^ocJed rlu^\ (seJnlue^pE, pu€ .sluorulueqcue, er{} Jo GI-LI##) ,n]rv uol4tr, s.ecelv\ 8ur1e;od.rocur ,(q '1ceg yecr uorl€ssec eql SurA\o[oJ

-Jolsrq Suunsueur JoJ pJepuels oq] s? ,Goyrl s6lJoqog olur rutg oql secnporlurer osle p^»Dd-topl6l or{J 'ocrnos s.uogog Jo uA\op Surtu,t er{} Jo ;o}e8rtsu se pue peqsqdruocce eJe serurlsep r(qereq.u sueeur eq] s€ seloJ s(urlJo141 go scrureu.(p er{l Jo pue ,fuo1srq IreJC uellrJA\eJ srr{ Jo sruJo} ur fledrcur.rd '.(e1d o}ur sles ror{lne eq1 secroJ oql ,(q peullu:e1ep ,(1oqm il p^»Dd-topll eql uI oluoclno ^\ou (utod,rug) lsJrd orll uorlueru o1 lou 'es1e qcnur eql to^errroH 'uorlenurluoJ pue uorlces ure^neg s.uerl?rq3 serouEr 1r qEnoqtye 'ollse3 lrurg er{} o} urn}er lueqdurnul s(lelecJed ,(q ecuuuro; s,uollgJq3 go cr3o1 eql sr(un Äueur ur segsrles 1eq1,(qde;8org s(le^ecJed ol uorsnlcuoc e sepu,o.rd lxol s[lJ 'eJnleJelrl uerJnq]Jv 07 lo{ilDd-top!(I erl} Jo uorlngrrluos eq} }e {ool sn 1e1 'uorsnlcuoc uI '1Y\oleq

1yn reldeqc ur yelop ur possncsrp sr uu.DW orll ur ecely\ Jo osn s.uegog 'plJo.&\ ueunqlrv erll olur urlrel4l s8uuq,(1e,rr1ue,rur osle geqoU lnfl'(II 'r9§) Ueqe{ ur su '(y113 'upe ploury) 1e1erg sr 1r oce^& ur ]nq '(tgt§ 'upe 1q3lr16) eu;e?a acnpes ol Jegln Surdleq ur soIel urTJeIN rrrJoJ esoq.&\ ueru oql erueu lou seop ,(ergoeg '(t t+ lc) eldurexe rcA'ulqary qlroqo5 ur rncor wql optotslH s,,(ergoeg ur punoJ lou slrelep se IIe&\ se Jol]eru uerJnqpv uo srseqdue slr Jo esneceq rurg eqt ,(yuregsc lsolu sr ecJnos s.lJogou 'ut1e1 ur lueleduoc ,{lsnor,rqo s€^\ eq q8noqlly 're{l1 pue uo8erpue4 'u.re8rpo1 o} pe}o^ep se8essed :rutg s.eceg\ pue aDruuolt,tg run8ay Dt"totstH s.r{}noruuol J go ,(e;g3oeg ur punoJ Ieuelsur Jo suorlces e8rel Surlu,,(q uorlue^ul sFI spuelxe UoqoU tyluecgru8rs sB lsnf 'urulrJg ur ecr^Jes s,pog ut ruoql osn o1pue,rod Iecrloqerp srg uruleJ o1 ecer8 eql peprocce pue peuoepeJ sr urlJol4i 'sesodrnd 1n;e8ue,r (slrlep eql 01 ,(re.r1uoc 'leq1 teneuvroq '11nse; Surpuodseuoc e qlrt\ -,fto1srq peJces e^rlelrJor{1ne Jo uorsJe^ur uelo u€ s€ Je}}el eql slue^ur ueqog 'sluepece.ld u.,tlolq-llnJ ,(ue ezreq o] u1y\oul lou eJu ulUaIN er{} ur slue^o Suruodo egt'a"4olsE erll ur seposrde snoSoleuu eq1 o>llu1 'lseud € qll.&\ rorlleJ srrl peplo -{cnc Jer{}oru u.^ao srq l€ql ruFI o} Euuro;d .(q e8pnl eql uo solqel eq} surnl ,(oq oql ueqa pellrnbce sl ]nq 'uorlecru.rog roJ Ierrl o1 lq8norq sl eqs ',(lenluo^E 'rerl 692


peder oq \\ 6ui:-erlsruFu 3LI1 p _:: eqs Aoq snonc, t urErrn snord 'S::

ol ]old



ueeq peq oll \,' s _l go 8ur^\orreH : -e[oJJOo O,\rlrF::: .,' JO SerJeS e rltl -le^ep erE 1r?r{1 >

urErrl eq] oi i:. o] sÄoldrua 1r:.. .Ärolsrq qsl}lrg , '(ttlri'1":

Jo r{dosof

]o L:c


Eurleeq eq] '(s-:.' EurmoJJeH ar{t '

elElld eroJsq If :_ uorlercunurr\- : el€lnculuurJ :ripeep II€ Jo tLr:L:. suedo ailot§1 ::, uorlsnrlsop er{] 'stloqolps t) 1 .;,;' Snruapnll\ ./r, ,.. ,^

pdsog eql sts r{:: eq] Eurpnlrul 'S peJces Jo ]xalLIrr,l

se {"lo1srq IIrrt peurep"loe-ld

a{,t -

eIA 'pue uoltdur: 'uoes eleq o.\\ s 1' ' o1 peJJeJeJ 3q S .,

pp aqsanfi er{t ; pässncslp 0q III


eql uo Kpelllrr e pBI{



ur 'sorleod IE \trp ,!\oJ SeI{ oq

'S3 it--,:

sH qEnoqtle






Li hauz livres du Graal (The Noble Book of the Grail) as it is named in the three complete surviving manuscripts,s2 is a prose Grail romance dating from the first half of the thirteenth century. Extensive research and critical debate have so far failed to fix anything approaching a precise date,53 and in particular it has yet to be determined whether Perlesvaus pre- or post-dates the other great prose Grail romance of its period, La Queste del Saint Graal. Perlesvaus,like the Queste, is a significant work partly because it is one of the Perlesvaus, or

earliest romances to recount the successful completion of the Grail adventures. It follows the tradition of Chr6tien de Tioyes and his continuators in making the knight Perceval, or in this case Perlesvaus QterdJes-vaus, so named because his father had been dispossessed of certain of his territories, 42 references are to page numbers in Nitze edn), the Grailwinner. The Quest for the Grail is set here in the context of those antecedent narratives, for at the start of Perlesvaus we are told that the eponymous hero has already visited the Grail Castle once and failed to ask the questions that would have resulted in the Grail adventures being


brought to a successful conclusion.5a There have been two modern printed editions of the text, by Potvin in 1866 and Nitze and Jenkins in 1937 .ss The latter edition, though extremely useful, is unfortunately once more out of print and diflicult to find. More readily available are Bryant's English translation and Marchello-Nizia's abridged version in French. Perlesvaus is quite a substantial text, divided by the author into eleven branches (all three extant manuscripts agree on this number), and it displays a highly complex internal structure, both in broad terms of narrative interlace (whereby the tale follows different strands, thus charting the progress of various characters on the Quest) and in terms of what have been described by critics (Nitze edn, II, 165-9; Lacy 1989, 169-78) as linking and analogy, forms of interlace which operate at the level of detail and involve groups of, or individual, figural and other elements, within and across episodes. It is unquestionably the case that repetitions and variations on a theme provide the building-blocks for this romance, as they do for others of the period (Burns 1985 , 13940; Williams 200 1 , 1 8 6). Perlesvaus is, however, an unusual Arthurian romance in that King Arthur himself plays a considerable role in the adventures, rather than merely providing a base, through the setting of the court, from which knights errant depart and to which they return (or not, as the case may be) at the conclusion of their individual quests. Indeed, the openin g of Perlesvaus is not quite what a reader familiar with Arthurian tradition might expect, departing as it does from the Arthurian romance topos of court celebrations being interrupted by the occurrence of an aventure; this departure is achieved in a very bold and arresting manner.

Branch i :.: : The queen 1s --: former tinle s .:' symbolic siS:..-. a lack of atl,,-:.. .

ters concern - St Augustine. .-r- . persuades \r..-. *. aventure. anc. ..-:

si-;: without hinr , crucial role .:. ': ure, Cahus


recorded the >: angle' (tlte 1, . :


the trall 'qoes ! bier on \^,'hici: ... sticks of ._qrr]c .stowing it in -. giant who is ':. bladed knite T .

side, up

to t1-; :

Scream, the k. . - :

squire lying n.,: :-.

stick, still


cr; .:

ledement a\ er--

This bloocii -: ' work. Man) r--,t very violent.: I those of GaL.'.,: .

completin,_s a

r. -

In branches After vario Li s -- * cousin) and ar:


9I-2), Gau\ rir:l Baptist,




Unfortunatel,,. Gauvain is Str .-. .

white tableclot:. : the Holy Vesse. -. ways A worthr ...

'ueJe8rng Surgezruoc uI pepeeccns seq oq ecuelsul rog) 1q3ru1 Äqlro.^,r e sr(e.u ,(ueru ur q8noqlyy'(tZ-gtI) rsenö eql w ernlreJ € snql sr pue losse1,(1og eq1 go esodrnd eql o1 se suorlsenb FrcnJc erll {se o1 s1e3ro3 eq }eq} rsglolcelqe} olq \ eqt ot uo 8uq1eg poolq go sdorp eerql Jo lq8rs sqt ,(q pelcu.llsrp os sr urc^n€C 'ecue1 eq] pue IrBJC ogl ;o ecueserd egl ur ecuo te.te^rrroq .,(leluungoJu1 '(St-Zt 1) uorssrurpe urc? ol url{ rog elrsrnbererd e sr qcrq,&\ Jo uorssessod '1sl1deg eql uqof Jo pro^\S oql uo.r\ Surrreq '9 qcuerq ur oJeql suJnleJ ure^nug '(Z-16 '69 'g qcuerq ut pel€ler qtoq) e11se3 Irerg er{l ol trstlr InJsseccnsun ue pue (ursnoc s.sne^selJed 'snesol q1r,r\ Jolunocue ue Surpnlcur) seJnlue^pe snorJ€^ JeUv 'ure^ne0 Jo seunlJoJ eql s^\olloJ e^rleJJBu egl 'e^rsnlcul 9 ol Z seqcueJq uI 'ellse3 IreJC or{1 o1 e8eurrrElrd e Surleldruoc JoIEI Jlesurrq JnqUV Eur;1 qlrm 'snelselre4 pu? lolocuel 'urua.nug Jo osoql :slsenb purg ledrcur-rd eerq] eqrrcsep saq)untq luenbesqns ogl e§'luelom. ,(rea. ,{puenbe.rg pue '3ur4r.r1s oJe po}unocer seJn}ue^pu eql go ,(ue141 'lJo1( eql Jo lsoJ erll roJ euol oql sles sposrde Suluedo Surlernbsrp pue ,(pooyq srql '(gg'tnu Tuosoa1dun lsoru o ut pazlloat) .zetete lueruopel lloru, ueoq s€q rueerp s,olrnbs sseldeq eql snr{J 'esoq srg ut pelorces illls '{cr}s -elpusc eql sBq osle 0H 'eprs srq ul oJIDI 3 r{}r^{ 'pepunorrr ,(1legour 3ur,(1 o-lrnbs eql pug pue Joqruuqcelu€ er{} Je}ue urelroqrueqc pue ueenb 'Eur1 eq} 'uleelcs eq1 8ur.ree11 'lno sorJc pue se{eA\ sngeJ lueruoru srq} lV 'llF{ er{l o1 dn 'eprs sq olur eJrDI egl Suqsnd 'e"rmbs eql squls luer8 eql uodnereqrvr 'op ol sesnJoJ eq qclq^\ '1cr1se1puuc og1 urnler snqe3 turll spueuep luer8 eql 'oJIu>I pepelq -elqnop euosJeoJ B qlrlv\ perur€ pue (62'QBn puo ryDn) 61el 1e rrou, sr oqrrr 1uet3 3 sJelunocue arl eJeq^\ '1se.roJ ogl olul JJo seprJ uoql 'slesno.rl sFI ul 1r Eur.ttols 's1cr1se1puec er{l Jo ouo s»le} snqeJ 'sJeuroc JnoJ slr Jo qcee 1e plo8 Jo s{crls -olpuec ur Sururng selpuec rnoJ r{}rl\ '}q8ru1 e go .(poq peop eq} serT qcrrllv\ uo Jerq B spurJ oq 1r ul pue 'srelue elnbs or{1 qcrr{ll\ 'ledeqc e eprslno ploc seo8 Irurt oql 1nq 'es;oq s.rnqlJv Jo s{cerl or{} s.,l.\olloJ snrlE3 '(g7'1a3uo uo to anott aqt) P13ue un(p zro^ eL ett urII 01 pelltrusueJl ueeq Surzreq 11 'Surllrrrr ur .(ro1s or{} pepJoceJ roleJJeu egl leq] en3o1or4 eql ut plol or? e.& peepur :lxel sql ur eloJ lercnrc e ße1d secro^ pue suorsrl 'sruee.rp lerll oJeq pelou eq plnoqs 1l) rulq lnoqlr^\ JJo les seq 3ur;1eql ieql sruuerp pue Joqru?qc s6Jnquv oprslno sdeels snqe3 'ern -pedep Jrer{} Jo e^o oq} vO'Qd snqeJ ureuoc ? sesooqc 8uq eq1 pue,atnluato stql uo urg qll^\ errnbs e e>1u1 o1 'luerue8pnf.re11eq srq lsure8u tnr{Uv sepens;ed erls Jloslr ur eJnlue^p? ua sr 1edeq3 eqt Surpug luql soS.lorue lr pue ,oullsn8ny 1g go 1edeq3 eql ot lno eprr plnoqs rnqlrv teql stseSSns ueenb eq1 '(peurecuoc srel -ceJerlo Jo JelceJerlc er{} Jo ssouquoa\un s}cegeJ,{lqeuenur seJnlue^pu Jo {cel e 'uorpe;red lenlurds o1 qled eql Suop seEels lueserder pu" ecu€c$ru8ls cqoqu,(s e^?q seJnlue^pe eql eJor{1!\ 'secueuroJ Ir€Jc or{} Jo }xo}uoc eql u0 solur} JeruJoJ o1 pe"reduroc Unoc lu sernluelpu oq1 Surlueruel ,,(ddequn sr ueenb eq1 Jo {cel 'uorsuecsv eql Jo lseeJ erll JoJ IenpJeC le rnrllJv Sury qlrarr surEeq qcuurg I I9Z

Eutlse JJe pur: I -rncco eql (q r eql IuoU sat-rp JepeeJ e JErl \., -IpuI rleql lo ';. o1 pu€


- -:

Eurprno"rd .(1e-r:::




op ,(eq] se 'oJrrl': suorlllede"r ]ELI:

Jeqlo pue 1u:ni: qclqr!\ e3EIre 1:i: 'II 'upe ezll-\ r uo sJelceJEqf sr' et{t Äqe"req^\\ ) 3-i:l

ÄtqBU e s,iEIC.; seqcueJq ue.\31: 'tlSuoJc ul rrc;: ere elqelru,\E itt -JoJun sl 6lnJ3sr1. puB 9981 ul ur \t,

Eureq soJnluo \l pelleJ pue 03ur-r ole eM snotrs 2 f .t )r1 ersI{ }es sr IIUrD 01 eJe secusJsJ:: sF{ ssnecoq p3LLI

oql Eur4eur ur


1I 'seJnluo^pE Irf eql Jo euo sr 1r 'lt20t9 lulDS ,i ,-^! eql selep-]sod r, ur pue ss'elep t I€srlrJc puE L{]"r:

Eurlep ecuuluoi pelueu sl 1l sE {,,":




from whom he won the Sword, to Christianity), Gauvain lacks the spiritual perfection required to achieve the Grail. The end of branch 6 takes up Lancelot's narrative thread briefly: he attempts (unsuccessfully at this stage) to find the Grail Castle and in the Waste City becomes involved in a Beheading Game (137-8) which is resolved later on in the tale (see p. 285). Lancelot's exploits are more fully recounted in the eighth branch (branch 7 being devoted to several of Perlesvaus's lesser adventures). Here he finally reaches the Grail Castle, but is not permitted even to see the Holy Vessel because

of his sinful love for Queen Guinevere (166-71). Thus, like Gauvain, but for

rather different reasons, Lancelot is unsuccessful in the Quest. In fact, the text clearly suggests that Lancelot has further to go on the path to spiritual perfection than does Gauvain, who did at least see the Lance and the Grail, even if he failed to ask the questions that would have brought the adventures to an end. The narrative thread now returns to Perlesvaus, who encounters his devilish uncle, the king of the Chastel Mortel (signifying evil incarnate), for the first time (178), and then, after several adventures in which he has the opportunity to prove his prowess and his spiritual worth, the hero learns from his sister Dandrane that the Fisher King (another uncle, keeper of the Grail Castle and a mirror image of his wicked brother), has died. His untimely death has given the king of the Chastel Mortel the opportunity to seize the Castle, and the Grail has vanished (225). Branch 9, however, describes the successful outcome of Perlesvaus's Quest: he defeats several enemies, retrieves the sacred relic of the Golden Circlet (which is the Crown of Thorns encased in a reliquary,254), and returns to the Grail Castle. On seeing his nephew triumphant, the king of the Chastel Mortel despairs and commits suicide by throwing himself from the battlements (267). Perlesvaus has thus regained control of the Grail Castle on behalf of the Church Militant, and in a sense the main goal of his quest has been achieved. There is no longer any necessity (nor, indeed, possibility, now that the Fisher King is dead) for the questions to be asked regarding the purpose of the Grail. At this point, then, the focus of the narrative returns to King Arthur. In branch 9 Arthur is told by a voice that he must go on a pilgrimage to the Grail Castle (270). As he is about to depart, he learns that his son Loholt has been treacherously killed by Kay. The latter flees to Brittany, there forming an alliance with Brian of the Isles (274) - the two men begin a plot against Arthur, the consequences of which are developed in the subsequent branches. This section of the text ends with the reporting of the passing of Guinevere, who has died of grief at the loss of her son Loholt (302). Branch 10 is principally concerned with Arthur's successful journey to the Grail Castle: he is rewarded with a vision in which the Grail appears under five different guises (304-5). In the latter part of the branch, Brian of the Isles, now Arthur's new seneschal, manages to turn Arthur against Lancelot (353-5).

The final



and succeed s ... Lancelot anti { Four Horns r i: Grail Castle : His mystel ir-r ,-: * may recall tit;. in a ship). L-\1' .. character as .: Castle, but .i::; chapel, which , . Throu-uho,.: theme: that including lrrrt .' of the Churcr. .-l the case of Q) ..: : Law, sometin.; subsequent tt'r. -..


few detailed s: .. * but it is also ,--,r-.: Perlesvaus h.i,, - .:

dating of the ..

other hand




antecedent ta' . -:

Foulet (1959 ,. E, a date later tir.. One of the :: study of Peri. manuscripts. i r. text itself clrr ,:r ' Sources. Thel'r .: of central ctr:-; rraffative. T. E \ cism to tackie . analysis of nl.'. t divided into t,,,. -


ca,r. *

Jo leeJep oql Surur€luoc puoces oq1pu? ellsBJ IrBrc eql Jo lsonbuoc s.snB^solrod Surpnlcur puu plun sernluo^p€ eql SursuduroJ lsrg ogt :suorlces o^u olur pop1,rlp eq r(1n;esn u€c e^rleJJeu eql ]eq} sepnlcuoc pue seposrde or{i Jo ,(ueur ;o srsr(1eue esolc e sepnord oH 'lrelop Jo puq ,(uu ur pue uo-p€eq onssr eql oplce] o] tusrc -lllrc Jo >po,l tpo oq] e]€p o1 pue 'lsrg oq] sr .(pn1s 7161 s,,(y1e; 'A 1 'e^rlerr€u agl Jo ,(lrxelduroc pue 'qfue1 ooJnleu eql ue,r.r8 'crlrlc oql ol uJecuoc IeJluoc Jo eq lsnur Jellel eql 1nq 'e.rn1cn.rls pu€ e1,(1s uo uorlces JorJq B osl€ sr eJeql 'secJnos ,(yo1q pue 8ur1ep uo I?rJoleru sB IIelYr sB '(60, 'uollceuuoc e Suunelc Jleslr ]xe1 eql) Äeqqy ,{rnquolselg pue ecueruor srq} uoe Ueq s>lurT elqrssod 'sldr.rcsnuuur eql uo selou suleluoc uolllpe ZL6l slLl Jo olunlo^ puoces eqJ-'sn^saua7 3o ,(pn1s crruepece snorJes lsJrJ erl] {oogopun osle 'ez1r11 6}xe1 eql Jo sJolrpo erl} Jo euo 'e1c,{3 e1e81nn eq} uer{t relel o}ep e 8ur].roddns sreqlo pue (sgI '7,661.) lulz'(Ig-V,'rg6l) mouepSog '(OSOt) telnod 'G8Z6lttZ61) ecnrg '(g-9tt 'g16I) ]o-I pup 'llutg-top)uD7 eql ot luepocelue 'e1ep ,(1;ee ue Surrnoreg sreqlo pue (6g6I) loler{}reg '(Vrci f,tte> '(tr§6t) rerdderg'(upe) e4lN'(9€6I) uerure3 gl1l telleur reuroJ eql uo pep1lr1p sur?ruer uorurdo IecrlrJc 'ezroqe pouorlueu sV 'eJnlcnJls s.olrleJJuu oql pueq Jeqlo 0q] uo pue 'secueruoJ uerrnqpv rerllo o1 drqsuorleleJ sll pue lxe1 or{} Jo 8ur1ep eql 6pueq ouo eql uo :scrleuolqord ureur uo sncoJ ol popuol et\etq snalsaqad Jo serpnls lecrlrJc teg snql ,r'poued s1r go seceldJelseru er{} Jo euo osle sr }r }nq ',l llncrJllp pue xeyduroc e,(lqeruepun s[ ]I 'rl]8ue1,(ue go serpn]s pelru]op ^roJ ,(1e,rr1e1e; pelc€Jlle ser4snotsaLtadr se qcrJ se lxel e ßql Sulsudrns sdeqred s1l1 G-ltZ 'g qcuerq ur seJoIAI sep orrs er{} Jo eJnpol luenbesgns pue leeJop eql 'ecuelsur rog 'ees) ,(11en.rc Sur4coqs lsotulu qlr.4t serurleuros 'rrre1 uerlsrnl3 .ro 'zvre51 eql Surlueserdsr slsruo8elo.ld Äq (ee"rpue1 ueen§ Jo esec eql ur se 'pepeluoc lou gr) peqcledsrp ,(lssepcreru pu? rlq^\ il€ep ere qcJnq3 oql Jo ser{uoue eql 'suprlsrJqC-uou ]ng 'qlleJ qsr^\ef eq] Jo esoql.(1uo 1ou Surpnlcur [e rellel eql 'plo eql pue lrreT oq1 uee.^aleq e133n;1s eql Jo lerl] :eueql ^AeN luelsuoc euo sr ereql 'e.rrleJJeu eql Jo sepnlrssrcrl ,(ueur eqt lnoqSnorql '(gOt),(ep sqt ol lculur suraruer plol or€ e,ll qcrqa 'leduqc eq] Jo uorldecxe eql qlr^r surnr olur slleJ ocrJrpe eq] qleep srr{ JoUe }nq 'epseC IreJC 0q1 lB sureruoJ 'snesol 'ursnoc s(snelsolJed 'lslJqJ go edÄ1 B sp JolceJegc srrl pBeJ 01 eJ? 0,[ 1?ql uoqou eql ocJoJuroJ 01 pepuelur eq ,(eru 1r to ,(drqs e ur lxe sq so{etu sne^selred tnqilV e41l nlry uory eql ur rnrlgv Jo teql gece.l,(uru 1l 'elduruxe JoJ :suorlulerdrelur eydrlpur go eyqrldecsns sr ,(urlsep snolrels,(ur slH 'uorlBurlsop pesolcsrpun ue o1 ,(ezvre 8u[res eJoJeq elurl lsel orll JoJ el]seJ IreJc eql slrst,t pue '(66€) lueureuJnol B le ecr1€r{c ueplo8 e sulr\ '(tO-tgE) suroH rnoC

eql Jo ellse3 snouels.(ur eq] slrsh sne^selrod 'pelrcuoJer oJe rnqlrv pue ]olocue-I '(t-St),(1ruer1sr.rq3 o1 'ueenb ue?ed e'ee"rpue1 ?ur1re.tuoc ur speeccns pu? ruo{ Jeqloru srq see.t;,{geug sne^selJed 'olel eq} Jo sluoruelo pe^los osortueuo

Jeq Surureruer eql Jo lueruenougp eql sogrJcsep '11 reqrunu ,gcuerq IBuU


./ ^ '(s-L!a


A\ou 'se1sl orll j aAIJ Jepun sJrr:.i.

eq] o]


Äeu-rtt c


serl or{A\ 'aJa r:t:.' sIqJ'ser{JrrBr.l tnqlrV ]suruii' ue Eurur-ro3 aJ:::. SBq Uoqo-I {.It-rS eql o1 e8eutrFi:sncoJ er{} 'uatil '-senb eq] roJ (F,'; tlue;eEuol ou s: pue '}uB]IIII,\ L; r S€q SneASOlJad


pue srredsap I:-* 'o[]se3



sl qcFlm) relrrl3 eq :lsen§ s snrr,.S 'Gee) p:qs

Iolseqf er{} 1o i:. go eEerur


wql euurpuEc *; enord o1 ÄlrunJJ,-r

etull ]srlJ 0t{1 rcr qs{r^ep sF{ srst':: 'pu::-:


uorlceJ;ed IEll


pelleJ 3q JI u3 1x31

eql 'l)eJ



JoJ lnq 'uIE \nt-'r esneceq Iosse \ i. Ä11eurg er{ oraH

L qcuerq) qJlrl-'*

erueg Eurpeol{;I 3q] pulJ o] 1a.i,.': s6lolocua1dn s:v IenlrJlds oql srj--





the Black Hermit and Perlesvaus's withdrawal from the world (75). This bipartite structure, he claims, reflects the duality of the work's main themes: God and man, divine intervention and human response (181). More recently, E. Kennedy (1998) has written an illuminating examination of the place of interlace in the structure of Perlesvaus, comparing and contrasting it with narrative technique in the Lancelot, and there have been other useful studies on structural issues in connection with specific episodes, notably by Berthelot (1994). Much in this domain, however, is still uncharted territory, and as Lacy (1996, 157) states: 'The most productive studies remaining to be done surely involve not simply the selection of motifs, but also their uses and the effects achieved by their modification and recombination'. It will no doubt be difäcult to produce a definitive study of the myriad motifs in Perlesvaus and their function in the narrative in terms of structure. However,

such a study would help to elucidate the place of this text within the wider context of French Arthurian romance. Perlesvaus can be shown to have had direct influence on at least two later narratives. The character of Brian of the Isles plays a significant role in the thirteenth-century romance Meriaduc, and the Anglo-Norman prose romance Fouke le Fitz Warynse contains an entire episode from Perlesvaus. No doubt the dating of the text will continue to be of central concern to critics, as well as problems of categorization. Berthelot (1994,31) summarizes the enigma of Perlesvau,s thus: A priori,le Graal ne se distingue pas aussi clairement qu'on pourrait le souhaiter des autres merveilles du royaume de Logres; en mettant les choses au mieux il y a toujours un r6sidu de merveilleux paien qui contamine les 6pisodes les plus ais6ment röcup6rables par I'allögoröse du plus orthodoxe des ermites.

My own view is that the relationship between Perlesvaus and the other Grail romances, the Queste in particular, is analogous to that between the so-called 'version commune'and the 'version courtoise'of the Tristan, but further detailed study will be necessary to provide sound arguments in support of this theory. Irrespective of its precise date and position in the Arthurian tradition, Perlesvaus is unquestionably one of the most striking and multifaceted of the extant Grail romances. [AMLWI

extant part tr,' . -: and revision :- ;: 2 Mons. B :..




tion to the E'-, 3 I-sndrrn.






Marie l' Eg.t Jr : 4 The se\-: :--.-




all the good :! . 5 An Old F:- --

ment'. 6 Thus. in T.. :- 7 Blihos B^...- Vengeanc€

Rtt :


8 Doubtles: -- : ##11 and 1l i:. e Meneqhe .:: :

r : AsintheF


explanations 10

: .

transferred to P; - 11 Each t-cr , : easy to identi:-,

(357-8); (5th H -(361*4); (3rC , -,



t2 Two otl.;: account: (i) Bl._

pany the



discourse is 'n,take its place. 13




For alr ,-':l




Larrative Sunlt-- -:. . 15


- " -' -_





and Doner 19v: 17



'chapelet de 1a.. . 331). On the c: : the frequent 1i1... l8 The con:.:. -. "

I This information is given to us by Gerbert de Montreuil in his Continuatron, written c.7225 (6986). Gerbert's proximity to cultural circles in the north-east, where the roots of romance lie, suggests that his information was reliable (Baldwin 2000). It has also been claimed that Chr6tien wrote himself into a corner and was unable to find a satisfactory outcome to the romance. While the notion of the old poet's powers failing him is not inconceivable, the accomplished state of the


been termed b,.


of Chrötien S ;.t: te Wauchie:".

". -

editions includ; -



tq'pe 'aldwtg al ruod-tulDs ap aUl 07 ap aams aldt8E,p sauolu sap ano§lH,I opnlcur suorlrpe luece1 'lectqderSotSeq-opnesd .ro yuctqderSor8eq ,(Ireurrrd ere rorllo s.rerqcned\ 6r 'qg-rg6l

,{qs8ug 'suorlenurluo3 eqt ur scrloqlse s.uert?ll3 Jo soc€rl roJ osle eos '(OOOZ'OOO1 '9661 't661) (uortenurluor go scrleod or{1, reu{crug,(q peurer ueeq 3ur1ur1 pue Surpee; qll^\ urecuoc (sro}enurluoc orll 8r s€II Jeqlo qceo pue uerl?rrl3

qtlu dn

er{l Jo olels perls. * ollq1!\'ecuBLlirrj :- uerl?Jq3 tErll pr _-. ,' 'et1 ecueuloJ Jr- s-



u01]IJ.\\ 'I.,,-



'uorl?rqJ ol slurt luenborg eql

1no lurod pue 6xneqqeJ,€1, srurol eql Jo osn oql elndsrp ppoc ouo .puerl ror{1o eqt ug .(1gg 'd'SSOt) (uerrnqlre roc?p np ecueueurred BI ellel olnos enb srolrnoc xnertqeJ op no sr€l ep rc1edeqc, € se uor]€nurtruoJ eql ol peJJeJor erl ueq.r\ puDI oql 3o Surqleuros pesues rerdderg ,, lsrrd .g66I rouoc pue '*9961 .(gsng ees t11ereue8 suorl€nurluoJ oqtr ur ure^neg Jo uorl€luosord eqf ug ,(peyoqcs oruos Jo 1celgo eq1 ueoq seq eposrde sr-I ep ellecnd eql er

qr96l srell€D äeS 'uorluolle

'uorlrsodruoc e rleJreu ornleu eql slcelJeJ ul sreedde I€^orperu Jo CI Snf 1rse,(lrelncrged)uorlenurluoJlsrrdetllJoreprosrpoqll€qlpelseSSnsosleseq(6t6I)urdne1 r, '(O-SSOt) fpnls e.r.rlsneqxe pue o^rt€l -IJoqlne §.SIBIIBC leirenoq 'ee5 'reldeqc qql;o ged I€rluBlsqsns r urJoJ gcrrl,&\ sorreruruns e rleJJeu erll roJ uor}Bcurlsnleql sr lereue8 ur suorlenurluo3 orll Jo 1ce18eu,(peyoqcs eq1 ,, ,(q18ue1 rär{}eJ

'oJeq ol porräJeJ esoql ore tetsseuel pue uorJenurluo3 puocos 'uor1enur1uo3 l trsrld oql Jo suorlrpo srq ol suorlcnpoJlur eq1 pue 9s6I r{c?o5 ees ,rrrerareiro uB Jod rr

'ece1d s1r e1e1

IIe \ se lsnf plnoc uDtpDcollg os puu '.ecueuror quep?JrlJ Jo lsoJ erll roJ I?rluesse 1ou, sr osJnocsrp ,1uele ,(ue uI .selrxo eql ,(ued 1ecr8o1eaus8 slregtrolu oqt teql so^rosqo (0rc '1SAD uosduroql -ruoccB slue^res roqlo pu€ sq'pr€^\els eq1 (rr) isreqtorq uo^ole sBq uerpscortg (r) :lunocce s(uerl?Jq] 01 suorleJcce lnq "(pureJ 'suortrcrpeJluoc Jou ere uosduroql,(q pelou socueJeJlrp Jorllo 01r\J zr 'BL-L1'vpe uosduroql eos 'slr€tep rod '(09-§r€) plerqs oqt Jo orntue^pe erll (lsl) :@-On) qlSuerts Jo ssol qlolocue'I (puZ) :(O-Sgg) uos s.uoSueuv popuno,& leqt {.r\Eq € (pre) :b-tSt) u€1rrs € ,(q u.rerp leog 3 ur ]qEru{ psop e (wil:(os-osg) (13op s,ue1srr1) uepng (qrs) :(g-rss) e3u1s leer8 e (q19) :(S-gSg) snur8uol Jo ecu€l oql s€ ocueT Surpeelg or{1 (qtr) :,(Jr1uepr o1 ,(see IIe lou äre feqf'(t-OtS) punoJ sr ilnoc s.rerlsrd qcr11 eql (6) seulp ue^es eql Jo ouo roJ {c€fl rr '(6uorlenurluoO puoces eq1 uorledrcrlue ur) perreJsueJl ol 3o I€^ocJed srerl sr uorlenulluoc lsJrd oql uI sseccns lerlred s.ure,rn€c snqJ, 'uorlenurluo3 lsJrd eql ul sv or '(3t suorleueldxe t-et t) pue suorl€rreu ornlnJ eql pue (ett,qtt) s.le^ocred slrelop eql pleq8euell sopnlcxe trrstzr Jo u 'repro 'pelerreu 1ou 'lecrSolouoJrlc ur Zl pue U## slueserd 111eq3eue1atr 'uorlenurluoc lsJrd erll ur lrsr^ Ir€Jc s(ur?^nBc 01 ocuoteJoJ e ssollqnoc 8 'l-02' ,16961lse \ ees 'uorlenurtuo3 s(lrnerluol4tr op lroqreg pue ,ppm8oy acuoa?uarl sa1'nuuocul pg


ap sailaMary

a7.aplug ta )atg ur sreedde osle srrorlr1g sogllfl r quosduroqJ ur .snrlJ e

'pe1e1odre1ur ere saurl ggy 3o ,{1euru 'rtrer,r

-essrlso^8J1, ueeur .{eur 1l


'uorsnlcuoc s.JerssoueI I pue uorlenulluo3 puoces


IIsrO ]uetx3 3LisnolsalDd 'Uor1.: {roeql slq} Jtr pellslep reqirl11 peilec-os 0LI1 rr:;

Ilero rer{}o sril


seJln€ sep Jrirr-


esp,ro89lle.l -iri 0p nprseJ un st:-







eposrde eJrlua



eql pue 'cnpr-tr.t'l eql Jo u€rrg Io pBt{ e^eq

o} u \\,.



UIL{1i r'

leneznoH 'aJnttr sJllour perr,(ru :1.


ssen8 eql seJnluol ,(o-rgepog .uouawo?al xodoq qcuetg plO uV s '(Ot-St 'ppt uaaq a^nq ruW sauo4s poo? aqt 17o

DAo plto|| aqt fioq8no.tq| tta|sow atoq),ltp e uo,c soluoc suoq sel snol el red luoru lnol trueureaoS, / Äeqt :(gf-Og€) lrnoc s.roqsrd rlcrg oqt punoJ o^Brl oq.r, sre11e1-.fto1s er€ spren8 ue^es eqJ , 'auuaqdt8g,l at"oyg

atulDs ap a4 o7 ÄqpeÄolloJ suorl€nurluo] puocos puu (uorsre,t lroqs) lsrrg oq|'pM)DJ s.uerlgrq3 'uotpo)ottg 01 uollrppe q'VI99E Str\l Ieuolllppy trerqrl qsrlrr8 ,uopuol ,



pue (uorsre,r goqs) lsrrg eq1 sureluoc 4 '1otacn4 s,uort?rqJ prra uDtpz)otlg ,uoltDppryg eql ol uorl

.suol -pp€ uI '(9997,(peuroJ) gOZllEE ep ep enbpqlo[qrg tneureH-suol^l StrAtr ?]lsro^rul].1 Iz 'slueruielsur Jo seposrde,{g uorsraer pue uorlrsoduroc Jo Jno&J ut Ä13uor1s sen8re pue,r\er^ strltr goddns trou soop ecueruor erll Jo Ued lu€lxe



uorleclJlporu rr:i -oeles eql {ldrurs

eql,:seluls (isl sF{} uI qcnl,\ '{ ; UI SOflSSI I€JI1111'r ur onbruqcsl 3 \ri: eql uI melJelur . Äpeuue) 'E 'i1lri pue poo :s3ur:1. e}Ipedlq slqJ_ '( i




! -, -rI



427 (Geneva, 1993) ard La Vie mon signeur seint Nicholas le beneoit confessor,ed. by J. J. Thompson, TLF 508 (Geneva, 1999). 20 If Corley is correct, the idea of returning the narrative to Perceval would be attributable to the First Continuator. It is curious that the last line of BNF, fr. 794 (A 10268lE 20530), 'Percevax molt s'an desconforte', anticipates (or echoes and contradicts?) the last line of the Second Continuation itself (E 32594),'Et Percevaux se reconforte.' 21 The story of the hound (brachet) has been examined by Luttrell (1989). 22 The 'child in the tree'motif with its variant of an illuminated tree also appears in Manessier's Continuation, the Didot-Perceval and Durmart le Galoß.It has been studied most recently by Saly

M. Szkilnik, TLF

(le8e). 23

It is possible, of course, that the interpolation was carried out by a scribe or planner of MSS


Gerbert de Montreuil, Le Roman de la Violette ou de Gerard de Nevers, ed. by D. L' Buffum, SATF (Paris, 1928). See also Baldwin 2000,7-11,59-60. The only monograph devoted to Gerbert's Continuation is Cocito 1964. Gerbert does not actually call himself 'de Montreuil' in the Continuation, but stylistic and other evidence renders the identification with the author of Ie Roman de la Violette quite secure. See Frangois 1932. 25 The Williams-Oswald edition of Gerbert has no convenient episode divisions such as those found in Roachh editions of the other Continuations; I have given line numbers from the edition, preceded by episode numbers taken from De Riquer and De Riquer 1989. 26 Gowans (2004) presents evidence, often compelling, suggesting that the loseph and Merlin were originally written in prose; the loseph by Robert, the Merlin by an anonymous continuator' She proposes that R represents the later work of an unknown versifier. 27 So called in honour of Ambroise Firmin Didot, once owner of the Paris manuscript, which is one of two bearing witness to the text: Paris, BNF, nouv. acq. fr. 4166, and Modena, Biblioteca Estense, E. 39. The Modena text, much fuller than that of the Didot manuscript, is also in 2a

Cerquiglini 1981a. 28 Roach, for one, was convinced that the Didot-Perceval'is a much-interpolated and rewritten version of a fairly faithful prose rendering of Robert's original "branches" dealing with Perceval and the last days of Arthur'(Roach edn, 16, also 113-25). Micha is also'strongly inclined'to ascribe the supposed original to Robert (Micha 1980, 10-29). Pickens (1984,49+5), argued that lhe Didot-Perceval could not be by Robert de Boron; more recently, after examining the trilogy in light of different assumptions about translatlo and rewriting, I have concluded that undeniably it is consistent with Robert's modes of rewriting his sources and with the spirit of the Estoire and Merlin (Pickens 1988, esp. 20). In O'Gorman 1996, Robert's authorship of the Didot-Perceval is a given. In any event, there is no evidence that the Didot-Perceval ever existed in verse form' 2e So called in honour of the bibliophile Henry Huth, who owned one of the two manuscripts to

transmit this Continuation (London, British Library, Add.38l17; the other is Cambridge, University Library, Add. 7071).

A lacuna occurs followitg2752 in the manuscript (R: Paris, BNF, fr.20047), due to the loss of a bifolium, which must have contained about 128 lines. Material in square brackets is taken from the edition of the prose Joseph d'Arimathie in O'Gorman edn,ll. 1115-62. 31 A reference tothe Didot-Perceval or a text like it. 32 After the fragmentary beginning, references are to paragraphs and line numbers in the prose text of Micha 1979. The opening episode and the one following are a vast amplification of three short passages in direct speech from the Brut (Arnold edn): the boy Merlin's defence against a 30

tormenter (Brut,7373-84) (cf. #5 below), the confession Merlin's mother makes to Vortigern (7414-34),and the explanation of incubi made by Yortigern's clerk Magant (7439-56). 33 ln Brut,7929-62, Merlin has nothing to do with the surrender and departure of the Saxons, who are not sent abroad by the king, but given unoccupied lands in Britain. 34

This reflects the three generations of Joseph's lineage inthe Estoire, which also represent the

Trinity. ChriS. -: . - (cf.893-91f , i.:-: the Round T,: r which does n.,. - ' is noteworth'. -.. Round Table -:: r- -


and, implicitli. 37



:i -.:'


38 There rr :-. -3e Episode>- --



represented b'. --

Roach's editi;':.

Estense.E,iv :'-"A concludes ti--

40 These

.rr; r--- '

Round Table i .-, 41 In Chrö:.,:'. , labra (two \ tr -. ..- : above): Lance.


ü r- ---

43 PerhapS -:

44 'Messires



volum,/Sanz- -


(3461-5) (-1/r 45 In the t1... three king He :.. -

Brut (Arnoid e :. 46 R was cc''r. * -

Grail historr


popular. enc\-. bifolium of tl. :







the book rece.'. : * average

of i



instead of the -: : based on the i -. r' - - ' version, is son:. 47 But Gtr\,, , : -: 48

By conlr-::. --

passing refer::--




49 o'Gor ir^-:-Matthew is :r,-:




comparesalli,..' 50

In fact. :.. ;

orthodoX äccrr





'fi1n reldeqc eos) ssäce I Jo osn qlr.r uorlercunuuv ärl1 Jo lunocc€ xopor{lro erll Jo uorsJe ur suroluoc snqncur ue se roql€J ,(lplro,trreqto s,urlrotr l ;o ,(Iluepr oql ']ceJ uI 0§ 's.lsrJq3 qll,r{ qurq pue uorldecuoc s.ullJeIAI s}seJluoc pue se;eduroc

oql lueserda.t 'suoxeg eql

leql rrrsllellered eq1 go ecuecgru8rs oql qsrururp lou seop lurod eq1 'GV 'u'lVt'upe ueurrog,6) y ur pelelodJolur ueeq e,req ,(eur tl tet{l stseSSns'qdaso1 esord eql ur punoJ lou sr A\oqlleIAI -opnesd urorS ,(llecgrceds ue1e1 gg-9tr 'a.t1otsg ur Ierrol€u eql leql Euraresqo 'uerurog,g u, '1ereue8 ur socueruoJ esord go ecuelrodurr oql soSpolÄ\ou{ce oqs qSnoqtle 'asotd ua saslw eqt pue secusruoJ osJo^ srq ol ocuoJoJoJ Surssed ur 'ocr^u fpo uorog ep geqo1 suorluotu *866I/086I uuerulesseH-o{lourqcs lserluoc ,(g ,, '1eur8uo ere suorsro^ esord eql leqt

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sr The Didot-Perceval marks the end of enchantments and adventures in Britain (D: 1571-2; E: 19234) which begin, according to what the Fool tells Arthur in Chr6tien's Perceval (Busby edn,

Premiöre Cttni.i

1257-9),with Perceval's departure from Carduel: 'Ore aprochent vos aventures; / De felenesses et de dures / En verrez avenir sovent' (Now your adventures are about to begin. You will frequently see them happening, dreadful and arduous ones). s2 Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Hatton 82; Brussels, BibliothÖque Royale de Belgique, MS 11145; Chantilly, Mus6e Cond6, MS 626. There are also several extant fragments. 53 See Carmatlg36; Nitze edn (esp. II,73-39); Frappier 1954, 194; Foulet 1959; T. E.Kelly 197 4, 9-1 5; Lloyd-Morgan 1 984; E. Kennedy I 986, 8-9. 5a It must be said, however, that certain elements of the Perlesvaus fit lll with ChrÖtien de Tioyes's version and with the Continuations. For instance, in Perceval we are told that Perceval's mother is dead; irt the Perlesvars, she is very much alive and plays a significant role in the narrative. s5 References are to the Nitze and Jenkins edn; the text itself is contained in vol. 1. s6 It seems unfortunate that various critics, following Bruce (1928*,II, 18), have dismissed Perlesvaus as a highly derivative text. A detailed reading suggests that the opposite is true: witness for instance the episode recounting the death of Loholt, son of Arthur and Guinevere (pp.2l6ff.,

Robert de Boron

272tr.). 57

This is clearly a motif derived from ChrÖtien de Troyes's Perceval. 58 According to Berthelot, Perlesvaus is 'un roman absolument unique, qui constitue un des chef-d'euvre de la littörature romanesque mödiövale, et est 6crit dans une prose magnifique'(1989,



Ed. by E. J. Hathaway, P. T. Ricketts, C. A. Robson and A. D. Wiltshire (Oxford, 1975). The extant text dates from the fourteenth century, but the passage concerned, relating to Arthur and Cahus's dream, is in verse and presumably retained from the original thirteenth-century verse romance.


Robert de 8,,, , i' R. O'Gonr,:.. Robert de 8,.-,r',,i'

The Didot- Pt, -

I ',

.', --

Merlin and tli,


Attributed r



Le Roman dtr Q, . Lancelot: t'onttii'




288, 306. 31 r- : Le Roman de, i E '

Merlin, fonlun t,' Huth. Ed. b,', (-i The Story o.l' \[ Arthuriart I :, -'. The Vulgare I: 1908-16) The Post-L'ul,{,; The


Deuth -

Arthuriart I ., -'

\. . -r

167-21 7.


Le Haut Lit'rt

Reference List For items accompanied by an asterisk,


Perlesvaus: Lr, If . Lögende lti,' .,

the General Bibliography.


by N. Brr

The Prologues

A Prologue to the

Conte del Graal.E;d. by


translatioit. The High 361tÄ: '

Texts and Translations

The Eluci.dation:



and 1937:

A. W. Thompson (New York,



lElucidationl. Bliocadran: A Prologue to the Perceval of Chrötien de Troyes, Edition and Critical Study. Ed. by L. D. Wolfgang. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für romanische Philologie 150 (Tübingen, 1976) lBliocadranl. Chrötien de Troyes (ii) below (Other Editions).



Chrötien de T

Other Editions The Apocrvpll,t. .', other I\ urru : Chrötien de Tr -- ', -"

C.Potvin.6' .

The Continuations

Der Per,,

1932) (Elut;,,:.,


The Continuations of the Old French Perceval of Chrötien de Troyes. Ed. by W. J. Roach (Philadelphia, 1949 S3).I: The First Continuation, Mixed Redaction of MSS. TV (1949); II (with R. H. Ivy, Jr.): The First Continuation, Long Redaction of MSS. EMQU (1950); III, i: First Continuation, Short Redaction of MSS. ALPRS (1952); III, ii: Glossary to the First Continuation by L. Foulet (1955); IV: The Second Continuation (1971); V: The Third Continuation by Manessier (1983). Gerbert de Montreuil, La Continuation de Perceval. (i) Ed. by M. Williams, 2 vols, CFMA 28, 50 (Paris,1922-5); (ii) ed. by M. Oswald, CFMA 101 (Paris, 1975) [Gerbert].

Le Conte clti (-,'


Los Evalge







,. ''

1963; 1Oth ec:.

Geoffrey of \lc,:.::' (lJrbana. 1 q: : Burgerbibli,,,', Geraldi Cantbrt i '



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Gerbert de Montreuil, Le Roman de la Violette ou de Gerard de Nevers. Ed. by D. L. Buffum, SATF (Paris, 1928). Jehan Bodel, La Chanson des Saisnes. Ed. by A. Brasseur, TLF 369 (Geneva, 1989). Marie de France, Lais.Ed. by A. Ewert (Oxford, 1944). La Mort le roi Artu: roman du XIIF siöcle. Ed. by J. Frappier, TLF 58, 3rd edn (Geneva, 1964). La Queste del Saint Graal.Ed. by A. Pauphilet, CFMA 33 (Paris, 1923). La Vie mon signeur seint Nicholas le beneoit confessor. Ed. by J. J. Thompson, TLF 508 (Geneva, 1999). Wace: (i) Le Romande Brut de Wace.Ed. by I. Arnold,2 vols, SATF (Paris, 1938-40); (ii) Ze Roman de Rou de Wace. Ed. by A. J. Holden, 3 vols, SATF (Paris, 1970-3). Wauchier de Denain, L'Histoire des moines d'Egypte suivie de La Vie de Saint-Paul le M. Szkilnik, TLF 427 (Geneva, 1993).


Busby 1998 "'E. r.-I-



Busby, K.. T.


. "


The Mzntt;,-,' ; Carman. J. \. - -:-


Cerquiglini. B




Cocito, L. 19-! ,,-, Corley, C. 19S: '3 :

Corley 1981. '\\ ,-. - Corley 1986 '\ i .: : 57 4-9r Corley l9Sl . T: : ' .

M. 1995. 'Introductior., The Post-Vulgate', in N. J. Lacy ed. Lancelot-Grail: The Old French Arthurian Vulgate and Post-Vulgate in Translation, New York and London, IY 163-6. Baldwin, J. W. 2000. Aristocratic Life in Medieval France: The Romances of Jean Renart and Gerbert de Montreuil, I190 1230, Baltimore. Baumgartner, E. 2001. Le Merlin en prose: fondations du röcit arthurien,Paris.


Bazin-Tacchella, S. 2000. Le Merlin de Robert de Boron (with T. Revol and J.-R.Valette), Neuilly. Becker, P.-A. 1935. 'Von den Erzählern neben und nach Chrestien de Troyes', ZrE 55,257-92. Beer, J. M. A. 1992. Early Prose in France: Contexts of Bilingualism and Authority, Kalamazoo, MI. Berthelot, A. 1989. Histoire de la littörature frangaise du Moyen Äge,Patis. Berthelot 1994. 'L'Autre Monde incarnö: Chastel Mortel et Chastel des Armes dans le Perlesvaus', in Buschinger and Spiewok eds König Artus und der heilige Graal, Greifswald,2T-37 . Bogdanow, F. 1966. The Romance of the Grail: A Study of the Structure and Genesis of a Thirteenth' Century Arthurian Prose Romance, Manchester and New York. Bogdanow 1 984.'I[. Le Perle sv aus', it GRL M A*, IY :2, 43-67 . Bogdanow 1996. 'Post-Vulgate Cycle', in Lacy ed. 1996c*,364-6. Bozoky, 8.1974. 'La Böte Glatissante et le Graal: les transformations d'un thÖme allÖgorique dans quelques romans arthuriens', Revue de I'Histoire des Religions, 186, 12748. Bozoky 1980. 'Quötes entrelac6es et itin6raire rituel (regard sur la structure de 1a deuxiÖme continuation du Perceval', it Mölanges de langue et de littörature frangaises du Moyen Äge et de la Renaissance offerts d Monsieur Charles Foulon, 2 vols, I, Rennes, 49-57. Bruckner, M. T. 1993. 'The Poetics of Continuation in Medieval French Romance: From Chr6tien's Cont e du Graal to the Perceval Continuations', F F, 18, 13349. Bruckner 1996. 'Rewriting Chr6tien's Conte du Graal - Mothers and Sons: Questions, Contradictions, and Connections', in Kelly ed. 1996* ,21344. Bruckner 1999. 'Knightly Violence and Grail Quest Endings: Conflicting Views from the Vulgate Cycle to the Perc eval Continuations', M &H, rcw series, 26, l7 -32. Bruckner 2000. 'Looping the Loop Through a Tale of Beginnings, Middles, and Ends: From Chr(tien to Gerbert inthe Perceval Continuations',in'Por le soie amistö': Essays in Honor of Norris l. Lacy, Amsterdam and Atlanta, GA, 33-51. Bruggeq E. 1930. 'Der sog. Didot-Percevaf , ZISL,53, 389+59. Burns, E. J. 1985. Arthurian Fictions: Rereading the Vulgate Cycle,Columbus, OH.


Busby 1993b. 'T..: -: I. Short ed. . --:


1983. 'Der Tristan Menestrel des Gerbert de Montreuil und seine Stellung in der

altfranzösischen Artustradition', V R, 42, I 44-5 6. Busby 1987-8. 'William Roach's Continuations of Perceval', RPh,41,298-309.

Busby 1993a. 'Text, Miniature, and Rubric in the Continuations of Chr6tien's Perceval', in Busby,

Nixon, Stones and Walters eds 1993,I,365-76.

Study, Lond,-


De Riquer.


. -:--

ciones" N,{ac:.: Doner, J. 199i 'L:,, Doner 1996. 'S - Continuut ir ,:- '


Dubost, F.

ll7 , 449-- : Fauchet, C. 1 i: Geneva.


i' . :-





Foulet, J. 1959 '> -.



19ri 'L.


Frangois,, C.

Frappier. J.

Frappier 195S


Gallais. P. 1 9r-., Continulli, ,i.-,-Gallais 196-+b, e . mödiövl/€ r,.'-.

Gallais 1961 . 8.: Littörattu', ( Gallais 1910. 'R. de la Renui,


I 98



r ; -'


S-" :





de Troye.r. J Gentry. F. G. I - -

Giffin, M. E.



Gowans, L. 19t- : Boron', ]-F5. :'

Gowans 200-+. '\\-.


Field, Camb,i. * -:






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Grigsby, J. L. 1987-8a. 'Heroes and their Destinies in the Continuations of Chrötien's Perceval', in Lacy, Kelly and Busby eds. 1987-8*, II, 4l-53. Grigsby 1987-8b.'Remnants of Chr6tien's,iEsthetics in the Early Perceval Continuations and the Incipient Triumph of Writing', RPh, 41, 31 9-93. Grimbert, J. T. 1990-1. 'Testimony and "Truth" in Joseph d'Arimathie', RPh, 44,379401. Hoepffner, E. 1951. 'L'Estoire dou üaal de Robert de Boron', in R. Nelli ed. Lumiöre du Graal:


Larmat 1979. 'Perceval et le Chevalier au Dragon,


Croix et le Diable', in Le Diable au Moyen

Äge, Senefiance, 6, Aix-en-Provence, 293-305. Leupin, A,. 1979. 'Les Enfants de la mimösis: diff6rence et r6p6tition dans la premiöre continuation

dt Perceval , VR,38, 11026. Leupin 1982.'La Faille et 1'6criture dans les continuations du Perceval', MA,88,237-69. Lloyd-Morgan, C. 1984. 'The Relationship between the Perlesvaus and the Prose Lancelot', Med. Aev,53,239-53. Loomis, R. S. 1963. The Grail: From Celtic Myth to Christian Symbol, Cardiff and New York. Lot, F. 1918. Etude sur le Lancelot enprose,Paris. Luttrell, C. 1989. 'The Arthurian Hunt with a White Bratchet', AL,9,51-80. Lynde-Recchia, M. 2000. Prose, Verse, and Truth-Telling in the Thirteenth-Century,Lexington, KY. Meneghetti, M.-L. 1987-8. 'Signification et fonction r6ceptionnelle del'Elucidation dtt Perceval , rn Lacy, Kelly and Busby eds 1987-8*,



Micha, A. 1956-7.'L'Origine de la Table du Graal et de la Table Ronde chez Robert de Boron', RPh,9, t73-7. Micha 1958. 'Les Manuscritsd:u Merlin en prose de Robert de Boron', Rom,79,78-94,145*74. Micha 1960 and 1963 . 'Les Manuscrits dt Lancelot en prose' , Rom, 8l, 145-81;84, 28-60. Micha 1964 ar.d 1966.'La Tradition manuscrite du Lancelot en prose' , Rom, 85,293-318, 478-517; 81,194-233.

Micha1968."'Matiöre"et"sen"dansl'EstoiredouGraaldeRobertdeBoron', Rom,89,457-80. Micha 1978. 'L'Influence du Merlin de Robert de Boron', TLL,16,395409. Boron,PRF 151, Geneva. Nitze, W. A. 1943.'The Esplumoir Merlin', Spec,l8,69-79. Nitze 1953. 'Messire Robert de Boron: Enquiry and Summary', Spec,28,219-96. O'Gorman, R. 1971. 'La Tradition manuscrite du Joseph d'Arimathie en prose de Robert de Boron', RHT,1,145-81. O'Gorman 7979.'A Note on the Orthodoxy of Robert de Boron', NM,80,387-90. O'Gorman 1996. 'Robert de Boron', in Lacy ed. 1996c*, 385-6. de Robert de





Pickens 19ES 'HBoron et ie ..'. :. - :


Pickens 199-1



199: F" -


ötudes et text e s, Paris, 1 39-50.

Hoepffner 1956. 'Robert de Boron et Chr6tien de Troyes', in Les Romans du Graal aux XIF et XIIF siäcles, Strasbourg,29 mars-3 avril 1954, Paris,93-106. Ivy, R. H., Jr. 1951. The Manuscript Relations of Manessier's Continuation of the Old French Per c ev al, Philadelphia. Kelly, T. 8.1974. Le Haut Livre du Graal: Perlesvaus, a Structural Study,Geneva. Kennedy, E. 1986. Lancelot and the Grail: A Study of the Prose Lancelot, Oxford. Kennedy 1 998. 'Structures d'entrelacement contrastantes dans le Lancelot et prose et le Perlesvaus' , in Miscellanea mediaevalia: mölanges offerts d Philippe Mönard,2 vols, Paris, 1I,745-51 . Kjaa J. 1990. 'L'Episode de "Tristan mönestrel" dans la "Continuation de Perceval" par Gerbert de Montreuil (XIII'siöcle): essai d'interprötation', Revue Romane,25,356-66. Lacy, N. J. 1989. 'Linking in the Perlesvaus', in G. Mermier ed. Contemporary Readings of Medieval Literature, Michigan Romance Studies, 8, I 69-78. Lacy 1996.'Motif Tiansfer in Arthurian Romance', in Kelly ed. 1996*,157-68. Larmat,J. 1974. 'Le P6chö de Perceval dans la Continuation de Gerbert', in Mölanges d'histoire littöraire, de linguistique et de philologie romanes offerts ii Charles Rostaing,2 vols, LiÖge, I,

Micha 1980. Etude sur le Merlin

Pickens, R. T.

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Roach 1966.

French Pt ,'. . Rossi. M. 19:


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tElspeth Kennedy (ed.), Michelle Szkilnik, Rupert T. Pickens, Karen Pratt and Andrea M. L. Williams

Lancelot with and without the Grail

the journer : first advenL.:;


.L.,.' -


The Lancelot-Grail Cycle, which, to judge from the number of surviving manuscripts, was, like the prose Tristan and the Roman de la Rose, a medieval 'bestseller', consisted in its final version (the Vulgate Cycle) of the following parts:


L'Estoire del Saint Graal

(ii) Merlin and its Suite (aprose version of the Merlin of Robert de Boron and a Continuation) Le Lancelot proper (a modern, not a medieval title) which begins 'En la marche de Gaule'with an account of the events that led to Lancelot being carried away by the Lady of the Lake and contains all the adventures of Lancelot and some of those of other Arthurian knights up to the beginning of the Grail Quest (iv) La Queste del Saint Graal or Les Aventures del Saint Graal (v) La Mort le roi Artu.l


However, it is generally agreed that the romance was not planned from the beginning in these terms. The contrasts and contradictions within a closely interlacing structure have fascinated scholars for years. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century Brugger (1906-10) argued that the Cycle was preceded by one combining a Lancelot romance with a Perceval quest; Bruce (1918-19) emphasized what he saw as the disunity of the work and ascribed a major role to interpolators and remanieurs. Lot (1918), whilst admitting that the Merlin (atd its Continuation) was a later addition, maintained that all the other branches of the Cycle were by a single author and stressed its unity. Frappier (1954-5;1961, appendix; 1978a) believed that the romance from 'En la marche de Gaule'to the end of the Mort Artu was planned by an 'architect' directing a team of writers. Micha (1961; 1973) too argues eloquently for the unity of the Cycle. Both scholars maintain that the Estoire and Merlin, which was provided with a Continuation to link up with the beginning of the Lancelot in many, but not all manuscripts containing this part of the Cycle, are later additions (see the section

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s.JnrIUV Jo Jeqrueu lueueur.ted e ouoceq o1 uorsrcop s6]olecueT pue loqoluC Jo qleop 0q1 rlll^\ ocueruoJ eql spue qcFlr!\ uorsre^ e ,1q3ru1 B sB oJnlue^pe ]sru s.leuorT pue eposrdo oJo^eumc eslBd eq] ']oqeleD Jo spu€l oql ol fournol aq1 Jo uorsJe^ c{c,(c-erd ro cqc,(c-uou eql sr oseql Jo }sJU orlJ 'suorsJe^ ureu o,4a1 o}ur


lducsnueu er{l leq} lso8Sns lelervroq ,ppo.lrr


e^Bel puu olqeJ punoU eql slq8ru; ouoceq puu toqeleg Jo ]olecue.I [tun.elnug ep orlcJ"ru el ug, Suruedo eql ruo4 seJnluo^pe s,]olocuBT uorsJe^ elues eq] Jo err.6 sldr"rcsnueru gy'1sen§ IreJc B elerodrocul ]ef lou seop ]olaou€T Jo olu] erl] qclr{ \ ur'rc1acuo7 eso"ld eq} 3o luerudole^op eql ul e3e1s }sJg e so}ecrpur uorlrpeJ} eyc,(3 eqt Jo e}Bp eq} uo SLZ









1918, 120,n.15; Micha 1964,297-8). As can be seen from a study

of the variants, the inconsistency with the Queste is perceived by a number of scribes, including that of London, British Library, Additional MS 10293 (the base manuscript for the editions of both Micha (LM,7,59) and Sommer for this part of the text), who names 'Galaat'as the knight who sat in the Perilous Seat and saw the Grail 'apertement' (openly) and identifies Pell6s as his grandfather (E. Kennedy 1993). The uncorrected allusions to the Grail in the part of the text common to all manuscripts before there is a division into pre-cyclic and cyclic versions would fit in, therefore, with the whole pattern of allusions outwards to the wider Arthurian context to be found in the tale of Lancelot up to his installation as a Knight of the Round Table. The version to be found in BNF, fr. 768 and its related manuscripts, which brings the story to an end with the death of Galehot, would indeed seem to represent the first stage in the development of the prose tale of Lancelot (cf. Micha 1987, 57_.83). The second stage incorporates a prose version of Chr6tien's Chanette,adding other adventures (including some preparing the way for a Grail Quest), a Queste with Galahad as the main Grailwinner and a Mort Attu.Inthe third stage, an early history of the Grail (the Estoire) is specially written to prepare the way for the Galahad Queste, but also looks forward to other events in the Cycle (compare the building of Solomon's boat in Estoire,283-90 and Queste,220-6; the history of the Croix Noire in Estoire, 479-84; LM,2,3204). At this stage too was added a Merlin based on the prose version of Robert de Boron's work, to be followed by a Continuation preparing the way for the Lancelot with episodes looking forward to the war that led to the death of Lancelot's father (for example ,S, II, 444-50, 465-6).In stage three, alongside correlation there is also contradiction: for example, that between the version of the birth of Merlin to be found in the account of Lancelot's childhood, where Merlin is an unredeemed child of a devil, useful only to give the Lady of the Lake lessons in magic and then imprisoned by her, and that given in the Merlin, where he is a prophet of the Holy Grail. This and other such contradictions do not pass unnoticed, so that even after the third and final stage in the structural development of the Cycle is reached, scribes often attempt to smooth away such contradictions, though frequently removing one form of inconsistency only to create another (E. Kennedy 1970,525-7;1986, 111-55, 309). An interesting feature of a manuscript such as BNF, fr. 113-16, is the attempt to bring some Tiistan adventures into the Lancelot story, as opposed to setting the Tiistan story in the context of the Lancelot-Grail Cycle, as happens in the prose Tristan (Baumgartner 1975, 11S-32). Those manuscripts that link up with the prose Tristan prepare the way for the Reader's Digest type of compendium of Arthurian romance to be found in a fifteenth-century manuscript such as BNR fr. Il2, which contains some chunks of the Lancelot-Grail in unshortened form


pesn),8u[qureJ, pu€,snoqdJorrre, sruJe] eql ueql olunocce olut ue{€l ere (1xe1eq1 urglr^! peryeu,(Feelc suorlcurlsrp) lecl.roSelle-uou eql pue 1ecrro3e11e oql ueo.e{}eq epeur eJe ]eg1 suollcullslp oql JI pue 'pezr:esqo eJ€ 'spremlcuq pue spJu^\JoJ secueJoJoJ Jo '1se.r1uoc pue Suuted go su.re11ud relnctped s1l JI pus 'sur.rel urrro s1r o1 Surprocce peqceordde sr 1xe1Ie^olpeur e Jrwql ]soEEns plno,tt 1 terrezvroll '1xeleg} 3o Surluryrer ponurluoc e ur uorlrledeJ JO uJollsd eq1;o ecueuodun eql pezrseqdue ,(11qEr.r seq lnq'lueurdoye.tep o^IleJJeu ]ueJetloc ro euq-1o1d IsIlueJeJeJ snonulluoc e JoJ r{cr€os oql ruo:3 sleer}er eqg 'qcuordde lue.regrp 3 uo{e} seq (e9361) surng ' \olloJ o1 seA\ l€q1Y\ qllA\ s>lulT u.&\o rleql pelEeJc pue relel peppu eß1'l' ulLtaw eql otustctluc,fte"lelrl pue ailolsg egl leql trupe plno,ry\ €qclntr puu retdderg q8noqrle Jo srrrJo] Ie^orpeu-lsod leq.ueuros uI sorulleuos 'e1c,(3 er{} Jo ,(1tun eq1 pezls -uqdue IIe e^eq €qclhtr pue rerdderg '1o'I 'uor1e1ueur8"r3 e^I}€JJeu uo pue seyc,(c uo ocnJf, pue reEEn.rf, s€ qcns scIlIJc ,(q uolle;luecuocJe^o ue JoUY ,(pee


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by Burns) seem also to be a post-medieval imposition on a work that requires a different kind of reading. Because of the immense length of the Cycle in its 'final form'(a term to be wary of in relation to much medieval vernacular literature) scholars have tended to concentrate upon a particular part of the text without always placing it within a wider context; no one branch should ever be read in isolation from the whole. The references to what the tale has told and what the tale will tell or not tell are significant, as can be the recurrence of similar episodes that may serve to make links, to emphasize certain themes. It must be admitted that some parts of the Cycle are more successful at creating meaningful patterns than others, but this is a complex work in which different kinds of truth are explored. Lancelot remains the central figure for much of the Cycle, but there are subtle or more obvious shifts in the way he himself and his relationship with Arthur and Guinevere are presented as the narrative progresses. There is no single voice to be believed without question; earlier events are continually being reinterpreted. 'Li contes' can introduce new information that leads to a reinterpretation of the past, but it is not the sole voice of authority. Nor should the interpretation of earlier episodes given by men of religion and true for the time of the Grail adventures necessarily still be valid after the end of the Queste. As in that other great romance that developed in more than one stage and was widely read for centuries, the Roman de la Rose, there is a tension between various possibilities, no single answer is given, and we oversimplify at our peril (E. Kennedy 1996a). 1nrl

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L'Estoire del Saint Graal


The anonymous prose text, the Estoire del Saint Graal, has always belonged to the Lancelot-Grail Cycle; conceived as part of a whole, it was never an independent romance. Occupying the first position in the internal chronology of the Cycle, it recounts the translatio of the Grail from the foot of the Holy Cross to the shores of Great Britain, which is subsequently christianized. Evidently inspired by Robert de Boron's verse Estoire dou Graal, otherwise known as Joseph, it considerably expands the story in order to account not only for the existence of the Grail, but also for many characters and places found in the Lancelot-Grail Cycle. In a long prologue (##1-30), the narrator, a hermit living in the year 717, explains how, on the night before Good Friday, Christ gave him a small book. Whilst reading it, the narrator was taken in spirit to heaven, where he was given access to the mystery of the Holy Trinity. Having returned to his senses, he locked the book in a box containing the host, but on Easter day, the book was missing.

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This strange text has long suffered from scholarly contempt. Lot (1918,278) described it as weak and boring; Frappier (1961, 56) commented on its literary mediocrity. These very severe judgements by two respected scholars explain why until very recently no one had chosen to edit or analyse the Estoire. Three editions of the text had been published: two in the nineteenth century (Furnivall and Hucher) and one at the beginning of the twentieth (Sommer). But all are hard to find and all are unsatisfactory. This is all the more surprising since the text was obviously very popular throughout the Middle Ages; two versions (a long and a short) exist, in forty-four extant manuscripts dating from the thirteenth to the fifteenth century. There are also a number of fragments dispersed in several manuscripts and two sixteeenth-century printed editions. Besides being the first part of the Lancelot-Grail Cycle, the Estoire was probably reused to form the first part of the Post-Vulgate Roman du Graal, see chapter IX). It was also translated and adapted into other languages, notably Portuguese and Spanish. In the last decade of the twentieth century, however, scholars rediscovered this very original work and began to re-evaluate its qualities. ln 1997, Ponceau published a new edition, based on two manuscripts: Amsterdam, Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, MS 1 (fols 1a-63d) for the first half, and, for the second half, Rennes, Bibliothöque Municipale,255 (fols 43f-100e), a representative of the long version that Ponceau (edn, xxviii), Micha (LM,l, xiv) and most other scholars now deem to be the original one.5 An English translation has been provided by Chase (Lacy transl. I, 1993), but to date there is no translation into modern French of the long version, only of the short (see Le Livre du Graal, Poirion and Walter edn, vol. 1). Nothing is known about the author of the Estoire; some scholars have suggested that the author might be from Corbie (Picardy) or Meaux (near Paris), and Ponceau does not refute these hypotheses (edn, xi, nn. 3 and 4). As in many other parts of the Cycle, the name of Robert de Boron is given several times as the person who translated from Latin into the vernacular the book first transcribed by a hermit who acquired the story from Christ himself (Ponceau edn, §§613, 757). Ponceau (1998) clearly demonstrates what many scholars had stated earlier: the Estoire andthe Questewere not written by the same person (Szkilnik 1991b), and it is now generally accepted that the Estoirewas added to an existing Cycle. What has mainly fascinated scholars in this unusual text is the long and elaborate prologue in which the narrator, who presents himself as a hermit living in a remote place, explains how he happened to receive a book written by Christ, which contains the story we are going to read. Leupin (1979;1982) was the first scholar to produce an enlightening study of the prologue and to question the locus from which the discourse originates (Szkilnik l99la, esp. chapter 3; Kelly 1988). Other scholars, such as Burns (1985b) and Chase (1994), have examined narratorial interventions in this branch of the Cycle. The linguistic approach


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