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Drawing on a broad range of sources, from Plato's Timaeus and Ovid's Metamorphoses to the anonymous Ovidian tales translated in the twelfth century and Marie de France's Lais, Murray demonstrates that Chrétien and his contemporaries learned the importance of translation from the Mediterranean-centered classical tradition. She then turns to the Celtic world, examining how Irish monastic scholarship, as demonstrated by the Voyage of St. Brendan and Celtic saints' lives, influenced the cultural identity of medieval Europe and paved the way for an interest in Celtic stories and legends.
With penetrating insight and lucid prose, Murray locates Chrétien's singular genius in his ability to look to the future and to lay the foundations for a thoroughly new, and French, tradition of vernacular storytelling.
Pt. 1 The Mediterranean
1 Reading Plato, Writing Romance 3
2 Rewritings of Ovid 48
Pt. 2 The Atlantic
3 Brendan's Voyage 87
4 "The Wave Cry, the Wind Cry" 131
Pt. 3 France
5 The Dawn of Arthurian Romance 173
6 Lancelot and the Future of Lettreure 218