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Erec and Enide

Overview

In this new verse translation of one of the great works of French literature, Dorothy Gilbert captures the vivacity, wit, and grace of the first known Arthurian romance. Erec and Enide is the story of the quest and coming of age of a young knight, an illustrious member of Arthur's court, who must learn to balance the demands of a masculine public life—tests of courage, skill, adaptability, and mature judgment—with the equally urgent demands of the private world of love and marriage. We see his wife, Enide, ...

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Overview

In this new verse translation of one of the great works of French literature, Dorothy Gilbert captures the vivacity, wit, and grace of the first known Arthurian romance. Erec and Enide is the story of the quest and coming of age of a young knight, an illustrious member of Arthur's court, who must learn to balance the demands of a masculine public life—tests of courage, skill, adaptability, and mature judgment—with the equally urgent demands of the private world of love and marriage. We see his wife, Enide, develop as an exemplar of chivalry in the female, not as an Amazon, but as a brave, resolute, and wise woman. Composed ca. 1170, Erec and Enide masterfully combines elements of Celtic legend, classical and ecclesiastical learning, and French medieval culture and ideals.


In choosing to write in rhymed octosyllabic couplets–Chrétien's prosodic pattern–Dorothy Gilbert has tried to reproduce what so often gets lost in prose or free verse translations: the precise and delicate meter; the rhyme, with its rich possibilities for emphasis, nuance, puns and jokes; and the "mantic power" implicit in proper names. The result will enable the scholar who cannot read Old French, the student of literature, and the general reader to gain a more sensitive and immediate understanding of the form and spirit of Chrétien's poetry, and to appreciate the more Chrétien's great contribution to European literature.

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Editorial Reviews

Speculum
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.
South Atlantic Review
The English speaking world is indebted to Chrétien for shaping this marvelous legend and to Cline for an accurate translation.
Arthuriana
Her work constitutes the finest poetic translations now available of Chrétien's romances.
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: 9780520073463
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 12/15/1992
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 1,462,490
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.80 (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

Acknowledgments
Introduction
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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