Erec and Enide / Edition 1

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Erec and Enide, the first of five surviving Arthurian romantic poems by twelfth-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, narrates a vivid chapter from the legend of King Arthur. Chrétien's romances became the source for Arthurian tradition and influenced countless other poets in England and on the Continent. Yet his swift-moving style is difficult to capture in translation, and today's English-speaking audiences remain largely unfamiliar with the pleasures of reading his poems.

Now an experienced translator of medieval verse who is himself a poet has translated Eric and Enide in an original three-stress metric verse form that fully captures the movement, the sense, and the spirit of the Old French original. Burton Raffel's rendition preserves the subtlety and charm of a poem that is in turn serious, dramatic, bawdy, merry, and satiric.

Erec and Enide tells the story of Erec, a knight at King Arthur's court, whose retirement to domestic bliss with his beautiful new wife Enide takes him away from his chivalric duties. To regain his knightly honor, Erec sets out with Enide on a series of amazing adventures. Eric dispatches thieves and giants with prodigious strength and valor but treats his wife rather harshly for doubting his abilities. When Enide is kidnapped by a robber baron, Erec revives from near-death to perform a courageous rescue, and at length the two are reconciled.

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Editorial Reviews

Anglophone students and general readers can trust that Cline's translations, surely a sustained labor of love, are faithful to the poignant characters and suspenseful situations that make Chrétien's earliest romances well worth reading.
Her work constitutes the finest poetic translations now available of Chrétien's romances.
South Atlantic Review
The English speaking world is indebted to Chrétien for shaping this marvelous legend and to Cline for an accurate translation.
Library Journal
A new verse translation makes this first Arthurian romance (composed around A.D. 1170), also the first of five extant works by French court poet Chretien de Troyes, a pleasure to read. Erec and Enide, newly married and lost in erotic, conjugal bliss, are brought back to reality when gossip suggests that Erec, son of a king, prefers life at home to the existence of a fearless, heroic knight. Celtic legend, classical motifs, and ecclesiastical elements are masterfully interwoven in this tale, whose colloquial translation brings to life the clashing sounds of battle, de Troyes's multiple poetic tones and colorful expressions, and the rhyme and meter of the original's lively octosyllabios. This is not a literal translation along the lines of Carleton W. Carroll's (Garland, 1987), yet it remains scholarly and mindful of the vocabulary of de Troyes's day. Both scholars and general readers will surely enjoy this story of the quest for honor, glory, and the Arthurian way.-- Danielle Mihram, Univ. of Southern California Lib., Los Angeles
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300067712
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/1997
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 250
  • Sales rank: 1,140,213
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Dorothy Gilbert's original poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, The Iowa Review, and other journals. An independent scholar, she has taught literature and writing since 1971. She lives in Oakland, California.

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Table of Contents

Prologue 1
The Hunt of the White Stag 2
The Sparrow Hawk 11
The Kiss 37
Erec's Wedding 53
The Edinburgh Tournament 61
Erec's Departure for Carnant 65
Enide Recalls Erec to Chivalry 73
The Three Robbers 82
The Five Robbers 86
Count Galoain 91
Guivret the Small 107
King Arthur's Court 115
Cadoc of Cabruel and Two Giants 126
Count Oringle of Limors 134
Guivret Returns 144
Guivret's Sisters 149
The Joy of the Court 157
Erec's Coronation 189
Notes 203
Bibliography 215
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