Chrétien de Troyes was a late 12th century French poet and trouvère known for his work on Arthurian subjects, and for originating the character Lancelot. This work represents some of the best-regarded of medieval literature. His use of structure, particularly in Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, has been seen as a step towards the modern novel. Chrétien may have become known as Christian of Troyes in contrast to the Jewish Rashi, also of Troyes. Little is known of his life, but he seems to have been from Troyes, or at least intimately connected with it, and between 1160 and 1172 he served at the court of his patroness Marie of France, Countess of Champagne, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine, perhaps as herald-at-arms (as Gaston Paris speculated). One source of information on Chrétien de Troyes' novels is the book by M. Altieri entitled, Les Romans de Chrétien de Troyes: Leur perspective proverbiale et gnomique (1976, A G Nizet, Paris).
Cliges: A Romance by Chretien De Troyesby Chretien De Troyes, William Comfort
Cliges is the second of five surviving Arthurian poems by twelfth-century French poet Chretien de Troyes. In Cliges, Chretien creates his most artful plot and paints the most starkly medieval portraits of any of his romances. The world he describes has few of the safeguards and protections of civilization: battles are brutal and merciless, love is anguished and desperate. Cliges tells the story of the unhappy Fenice, trapped in a marriage of constraint to the emperor of Constantinople. Fenice feigns death, then awakens to a new, happy life with her lover. Enormously popular in their own time, each of Chretien's great verse romances is a fast-paced psychologically oriented narrative. In a rational and realistic manner, Chretien probes the inner workings of his characters and the world they live in, evoking the people, their customs, and their values in clear, emotionally charged verse. Cliges is filled with Chretien's barbs and bawdiness, his humor and his pleasure, his affection and his contempt.
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