The Complete Story of the Grail

The Complete Story of the Grail

Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval and its continuations

Chrétien de Troyes, Nigel Bryant

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The mysterious and haunting Grail makes its first appearance in literature in Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval at the end of the twelfth century. But Chrétien never finished his poem, leaving an unresolved story and an incomplete picture of the Grail. It was, however, far too attractive an idea to leave. Not only did it inspire quite separate works; his own unfinished poem was continued and finally completed by no fewer than four other writers.
The Complete Story of the Grail is the first ever translation of the whole of the rich and compelling body of tales contained in Chrétien's poem and its four Continuations, which are finally attracting the scholarly attention they deserve. Besides Chrétien's original text, there are the anonymous First Continuation (translated here in its fullest version), the Second Continuation attributed to Wauchier de Denain, and the intriguing Third and Fourth Continuations - probably written simultaneously, with no knowledge of each other's work - by Manessier and Gerbert de Montreuil. Two other poets were drawn to create preludes explaining the background to Chrétien's story, and translated here also are their works: The Elucidation Prologue and Bliocadran.
Only in this, The Story of the Grail's complete form, can the reader appreciate the narrative skill and invention of the medieval poets and their surprising responses to Chrétien's theme - not least their crucial focus on the knight as a crusader. Equally, Chrétien's original poem was almost always copied in conjunction with one or more of the Continuations, so this translation represents how most medieval readers would have encountered it.

Nigel Bryant's previous translations from Medieval French include Perlesvaus - the High Book of the Grail, Robert de Boron's trilogy Merlin and the Grail, the Medieval Romance of Alexander, The True Chronicles of Jean le Bel and Perceforest.

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Table of Contents

Chrétien de Troyes: Perceval
The First Continuation
The Second Continuation
Gerbert's Continuation
The Third Continuation
Appendix 1: The Elucidation Prologue
Appendix 2: Bliocadran
Appendix 3: Independent conclusion to the Second Continuation in the Bern manuscript [Burgerbibliothek 113]


Bryant's translations are very readable. FABULA

This fine edition of the Grail story surrenders many treasures to a close read. Bryant capsulizes the seminal Chrétien version and the continuations in the introductory section, providing a helpful guide through the nearly six hundred pages that follow. COMITATUS

Nigel Bryant's translation is highly reliable, engaging, and as lively as he can make it (his stint as Head of Drama at Marlborough College has served him well). . . . This new and Complete Story of the Grail offers a fresh translation with complete texts for all four continuations, as well as two prequels, along with more supporting apparatus to guide a twenty-first-century public. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

This book makes a significant contribution to Arthurian studies. . . . Bryant should again be commended for his ability to bring that which was distant closer and make it just as compelling. Highly recommended. CHOICE

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