Rewriting Arthurian Romance in Renaissance France

Rewriting Arthurian Romance in Renaissance France

From Manuscript to Printed Book

Jane H.M. Taylor





First comprehensive examination of the ways in which printers, publishers and booksellers adapted and rewrote Arthurian romance in early modern France, for new audiences and in new forms.
Arthurian romance in Renaissance France has long been treated by modern critics as marginal - although manuscripts and printed volumes, adaptations and rewritings, show just how much writers, and especially publishers, saw its potential attractions for readers. This book is the first full-length study of what happens to Arthur at the beginning of the age of print. It explores the fascinations of Arthurian romance in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, from the magnificent presentation volumes offered by Antoine Vérard or Galliot du Pré in the early years of the century to the perfunctory abbreviated Lancelot published by Benoît Rigaud in Lyon in 1591; from Pierre Sala's dutiful "translation" of Yvain to Jean Maugin's exuberant rewriting of the prose Tristan; from attempts at "new" romance like the little-known Giglan to the runaway best-seller Amadis de Gaule. The book's primary focus is the techniques and stratagems employed by publishers and their workshops to renew Arthurian romance for a new readership: the ways in which the publishers, the translators and the adapters of the Renaissance tailor romance to fit new cultural contexts. Their story - which is the story of the rise and fall of one of the great genres of the Middle Ages - allows privileged insights into socio-cultural and ideological attitudes in the France of the Renaissance, and into issues of literary taste, particular patterns of choice and preference.

Jane H.M. Taylor is Emeritus Professor of French at Durham University.


January 2014
13 black and white illustrations
294 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843843658
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
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Table of Contents

Pierre Sala, Poacher
'Books Printed Here': The Business of the Print Shop
'A Condition of Survival': Lancelot and Tristan
'Skimble-Skamble Stuff': Meliadus, Merlin, Greaal
'Imperious Seductions': Giglan and Perceval
'Satyric Scenes in Landscape Style': Amadis de Gaule
'Fruitlesse Historie': Maugin's Tristan, Rigaud's Lancelot


Theoretically informed, well documented, and comprehensive, Rewriting Arthurian Romance in Renaissance France provides a much-needed map with which to navigate a prolific textual production that was seen as anecdotal, in part because it did not fit traditional histories of literary culture in the Renaissance. H-FRANCE

This volume is a valuable tool for those interested in the power of the print market to shape literary history. Its bibliographical analyses show an acute sensitivity to the role of the book as material object in the various afterlives of past textual practices. . . . (It serves) as a springboard for further study of these uncommon works by medievalists and early modernists alike. MODERN LANGUAGE STUDIES

With this book, Jane Taylor offers us a remarkable, sophisticated study of how Arthurian materials were treated in the age of print. . . . (A) pioneering book. The approach should be of interest to medievalists of all stripes (not just Arthurians) as well as Renaissance scholars.THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

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