The Continuations of Chrétien's Perceval

June 2012
256 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Arthurian Studies
ISBN: 9781843843160
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
BISAC LIT011000, LIT004150

The Continuations of Chrétien's Perceval

Content and Construction, Extension and Ending

Leah Tether

The Continuations of Chretien de Troyes' Perceval are here examined as constituting a discrete genre of medieval literature.
The notion of Continuation in medieval literature is a familiar one - but difficult to define precisely. Despite the existence of important texts which are commonly referred to as Continuations, such as Le Roman de la Rose, Le Chevalier de la Charrette and, of course, the Perceval Continuations, the mechanics and processes involved in actually producing a Continuation have found themselves indistinguishable from those associated with other forms of medieval réécriture.
The Perceval Continuations (composed c.1200-1230) constitute a vast body of material which incorporates four separately authored Continuations, each of which seeks to further, in some way, the unfinished Perceval of Chrétien de Troyes - though they are not merely responses to his work. Chronologically, they were composed one after the other, and the next in line picks up where the previous one left off; they thus respond intertextually to each other as well as to Chrétien, and only one actually furnishes the story as a whole with an ending. Here, these fascinating texts are used as a lens for examining, defining and distinguishing the whole concept of a Continuation; the author also employs theories as to what constitutes an "end" and what is "unfinished", alongside scrutiny of other medieval "ends" and Continuations.

Dr Leah Tether is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Cultures of the Digital Economy Institute, Anglia Ruskin University.

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Table of Contents

Authorial Changeovers in the Manuscripts
Distinguishing Continuations, Sequels and Ends
The First Continuation and Prolongation
The Second Continuation and the Imitative Mode
The Gerbert and Manessier Continuations: Interpolation vs. Conclusion
Appendix I: Keys to the Tables
Appendix II: Table 1 - Contents of the Manuscript
Appendix III: Table 2 - Changeovers Shown by the Manuscripts
Appendix IV: Listing of the Episodes in the Continuations
Appendix V: Plot Summary of Chrétien's Perceval
Appendix VI: Plot Summary of Section I, Episode 1-5: First Continuation
Appendix VII: Plot Summary of the First Continuation's Carados Section
Appendix VIII: Transcription of the Independent Conclusion


Tether's approach to her material is characterized by critical and scientific rigor, her theories and conclusions are lucid and generally measured, and her notes, figures, and graphics will be serviceable to readers at various stages of familiarity with the material. ARTHURIANA

Tether succeeds in broadening her analysis not only to all the corners of this chunky set of literary works, but beyond to an extensive, important, and still improperly understood aspect of medieval textual practice. SPECULUM

Offers new insights into understanding this fascinating corpus as well as the tools for analysing medieval Continuations more generally. MODERN LANGUAGE REVIEW

[This] is a lively and stimulating book that will be of interest to those studying the workings of medieval (and indeed modern) narratives. [...] Tether is to be saluted for placing these fascinating texts at the heart of her inquiry into medieval textuality. FRENCH STUDIES

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