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This is a title in the Bristol Classical Press French Texts series, in French with English notes, vocabulary and introduction. Marie de France occupies a unique place in the history of literature as one of the earliest female writers of medieval Europe. In the second half of the 12th century she composed 12 poems, known as the "Lais", which offer a blend of romance and realism. Through these poems it is possible to gain an understanding of feudal society and glimpse the problems which beset both male and female members of the aristocracy at that time. The collection was first edited in 1954 by Alfred Ewert. Professor Glyn Burgess has re-written the introduction and provided an update of the bibliography, which lists all the substantiated literary studies devoted to these poems.