Arthurian romances by Chrétien de Troyes, William W. Kibler, Carleton W. Carroll

By Chrétien de Troyes, William W. Kibler, Carleton W. Carroll

Fantastic adventures abound in those courtly romances: Erec and Enide, Cligés, The Knight of the Cart, The Knight with the Lion, and The tale of the Grail.

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Ll. 5125–29] [They awoke at daybreak and all prepared again to mount and ride. ] Perhaps Chrétien’s most spectacular use of vocalic harmonies, repetition and chiasmus is in the following lines from The Knight with the Lion, where the repetition of the ui and oi diphthongs and the high vowels u and i underscores the mental anguish of the girl caught in a storm in the forest: … tant que vint a la nuit oscure. Si li enuia molt la nuiz, et de ce dobla li enuiz qu’il plovoit a si grant desroi com Damedex avoit de coi, et fu el bois molt au parfont.

He has also produced editions and translations of Guillaume de Machaut’s Le Jugement du Roy de Behaigńe and Remede de Fortune (with James I. Wimsatt, 1988), Raoul de Cambrai (1996) and Huon de Bordeaux (with François Suard, 2003). He has previously published facing-line translations of Chrétien’s Lancelot (Le Chevalier de la Charette), Yvain (Le Chevalier au Lion) and (Perceval Le Conte du Graal). CARLETON W. D. degrees from the University of Wisconsin. Since 1974 he has taught at Oregon State University, where he holds the rank of Professor of French.

Chrétien also excels in his descriptions of nature – of the plains, valleys, hills, rivers and forests of twelfth-century France and England. Natural occurrences such as the storm in Brocéliande forest early in The Knight with the Lion, followed by the sunshine and singing of birds, or the frightening dark night of rain the maiden later rides through in search of Yvain, are vividly evoked in octosyllabic verses of pure lyric quality. Castles, such as that of Perceval’s tutor Gornemant of Gohort, perched on their rocky promontories above raging rivers, with turrets, keeps and drawbridges, are all in the latest style of cut-stone construction.

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