Lancelot: The Knight of the Cart

Overview

The romantic poems of twelfth-century French poet Chretien de Troyes were of immense influence across Europe - widely imitated, translated, and adapted. Giving rise to a tradition of story-telling that continues to this day, the poems established the shape of the nascent Arthurian legend. In this outstanding new translation of Lancelot, Burton Raffel brings to English-language readers the fourth of Chretien's five surviving romantic Arthurian poems. This poem was the first to introduce Lancelot as an important ...
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Overview

The romantic poems of twelfth-century French poet Chretien de Troyes were of immense influence across Europe - widely imitated, translated, and adapted. Giving rise to a tradition of story-telling that continues to this day, the poems established the shape of the nascent Arthurian legend. In this outstanding new translation of Lancelot, Burton Raffel brings to English-language readers the fourth of Chretien's five surviving romantic Arthurian poems. This poem was the first to introduce Lancelot as an important figure in the King Arthur legend. Lancelot tells of the adulterous relationship between the knight and his mistress, Guinevere, the wife of King Arthur. Thematically this poem differs from Chretien's other romances - Lancelot and Guinevere's love is a serious crime against their king, Lancelot casts aside his knightly ideals and reputation for the sake of his beloved, and Arthur is endowed with a weaker personality. Raffel has created an original three-stress metric verse form that captures Chretien's swift-paced narrative and lively, sparkling Old French. A consummate translator, Raffel enables the modern reader and the reader who is unfamiliar with French to appreciate the beauty of Chretien's original.

This is a new translation of the first story (composed about 1772) about Lancelot and Guineverre. The translation is lively, readable and up-to-date.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300071207
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/1997
  • Pages: 254
  • Product dimensions: 5.69 (w) x 8.57 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

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[citation needed]. 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).
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