Chrétien de Troyes in Prose: the Burgundian Erec and Cligés

July 2011
170 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Arthurian Studies
ISBN: 9781843842699
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BISAC LIT011000, LIT004150

Chrétien de Troyes in Prose: the Burgundian Erec and Cligés

Translated by Joan Tasker Grimbert, Carol J. Chase

First English translations of later adaptions of Chrétien's romances: a vital source for the development of Arthurian romance.
In the middle of the fifteenth century two anonymous writers "translated" into prose Chrétien de Troyes's first verse romances, Erec and Cligés (dating from the twelfth century), for the circle of Philip the Good, duke of Burgundy. For a long time unfairly dismissed as trite and slavish renderings of Chrétien's masterful narratives, the prose Erec and Cligés actually merit careful study in their own right, for these Middle French reworkings adapt the earlier romances to fit the interests of the fifteenth-century public. The authors updated not only the language but also the descriptions of chivalric exploits, tourneys, and siege warfare; furthermore, they showed real ingenuity in the way they modified the story line, clarifying motivation, rescripting characters, and shortening many of the descriptions. The romances offer valuable insights into the evolution of Arthurian romance, the history of reception of Chrétien's work, and the mentality and culture of one of the most remarkable courts to flourish in the late middle ages.
This volume presents the first English prose translations of the writings, accompanied by an introduction presenting the historical, cultural, and literary context, and notes.

Joan Tasker Grimbert is Professor of French at the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC; Carol J. Chase is Professor Emerita of French at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois.

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Table of Contents

Translators' Notes
The Story of Erec, Son of King Lac
The Book of Alixandre Emperor of Constantinople and His Son Cligés


Grimbert and Chase's well-made and attractive book certainly is a good invitation to study these intriguing texts. SPECULUM

[A] highly readable translation [...] will help bring late medieval persifications to the attention of a wider body of students and scholars. MEDIUM AEVUM

[The editors] rendering of the Middle French syntax and vocabulary of both texts is fluid, accurate, and believable, while the overall presentation of the volume is clean and unfussy. ENGLISH

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