Ulrich von Zatzikhoven's Lanzelet

December 2000
1 line illustrations
274 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Arthurian Studies
ISBN: 9780859916028
Format: Hardback
BISAC LIT004170, LIT011000

Ulrich von Zatzikhoven's Lanzelet

Narrative Style and Entertainment

Nicola McLelland

Wide-ranging survey of a neglected but significant early German version of the Lancelot legend.
Ulrich von Zatzikhoven's Lanzelet, written around the turn of the thirteenth century, has long intrigued scholars both within and outside German studies: the only remaining trace of a Lancelot legend free of the adulterous affair with Guinevere, it has been seen both as a precursor of classical Arthurian romance in Germany, and as a post-classical imitation, and attempts to interpret it have often run foul of its contradictions. This new study takes a fresh look at its place in the history of German romance, arguing that Ulrich placed his work firmly in the Arthurian romance tradition, adopting its familiar motifs, courtly vocabulary, and idealised knightly hero, but rather than presenting a hero who falls from grace (as did Chrétien), his Lanzelet is truly flawless from the outset. While the repeated episodes and adventures emphasise this aspect of Lancelot, they are also related in strikingly different narrative styles, which Dr McLelland suggests are not the result of authorial incompetence, but rather a source of entertainment, and a challenge to the genre as a whole.

NICOLA McLELLAND is a Lecturer at Trinity College, Dublin.


McLelland's grounbreaking study will prove to be a reliable reference as well as a teaching tool for years to come. ARTHURIANA

A knowledgeable, lucid and interesting survey of the critical literature... the elaboration of her argument is devoted largely to ways in which she believes Ulrich's romance distinguishes itself from the contemporary "classical" romance... McClelland's basic theses remain compelling and doubtless will help scholars read Ulrich's Lanzelet with new eyes. JOURNAL OF ENGLISH AND GERMANIC PHILOLOGY

A solid work of scholarship and analysis that contributes significantly to the understanding of Lanzelet. SPECULUM

Also in Series