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Arthurian Romances [Kindle Edition]

Chretien de Troyes , William Comfort
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Chretien de Troyes was a French poet in the late 12th century whose work represents some of the best examples of Arthurian legend from medieval times. Contained in this volume are the four complete Arthurian romances that have survived. The first of these stories is that of "Erec and Enide", which recounts the story of Erec, one of King Arthur's knights, and the conflict between love and knighthood he experiences in his marriage to Enide. The second romance is the tale of the knight "Cligès" and his love for his uncle's wife, Fenice. The third romance is that of "Yvain, the Knight of the Lion", in which Yvain seeks to avenge his cousin Calogrenant, who had been defeated by an otherworldly knight. Lastly is the tale of "Lancelot, the Knight of the Cart", which centers on Lancelot's rescue of Guinevere, King Arthur's queen. These classic medieval poems form some of the earliest and most prominent examples of the legend of King Arthur.

Editorial Reviews


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Language Notes

Text: English (translation)

Product Details

  • File Size: 674 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0486451011
  • Publisher: (July 1, 2004)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000FC1YPI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #530,226 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
46 of 47 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Arthur October 8, 2005
Chretien de Troyes is an early French romantic writing, who wrote the first known story about the Holy Grail. De Troyes lived in the Champagne region of France during the latter twelfth century. Peripherally attached to courts including that of the famous Eleanor of Acquitaine, de Troyes stories of the Arthurian legends provides a foundation for almost all future Arthurian stories.

Chretien's major works include four poems included in this collection: Erec and Enide, Cliges, The Knight of the Cart (Lancelot), and The Knight of the Lion (Yvain). For Grail seekers, the story of most interest will be the unfinished Perceval: The Story of the Grail. Although the tale exists in finished form (in fact, several variations of finished forms), de Troyes in fact only wrote the first 9000 lines of the approximately 32,000 line text. (De Troyes also was embellished or supplemented by later additions to the tale of Lancelot, perhaps because de Troyes did not want to include an adulterous affair).

The story of Erec and Enide is a love story between one of Arthur's knights, Erec, who while out with Guinevere encounters a mean-spirited knight Yder; Erec's pursuit of Yder leads to his meeting Enide, and the two have a stormy relationship (by medieval romantic standards) but ultimately are able to reconcile their love and relationship with public duty.

The story of Cliges is one of tricky and forbidden relationships. Cliges, a native of Greece, falls in love with Fenice, his uncle's wife (Cliges' uncle happens to be the emperor). Their love is discovered, but with the aid of King Arthur, their relationship continues in Cliges' home country of Greece.
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44 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book February 1, 1999
By A Customer
I found the book to be fascinating, even for a person without a background in the classics. I felt the translation was fine, overall a very smooth read. I would highly recomend it to anyone with an interest in Arthurian legends.
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41 of 51 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Odd translation, but moving stories July 29, 1998
By A Customer
This book was translated from the old French oddly, perhaps too literally, and the result is that sometimes the fact that it used to be in verse form gets in the way of the story. Most of the time, though, the stories are the fun and gripping legends Arthur-enthusiasts will love.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Drawing legends from legends, conventions from myths October 7, 2007
D.D.R. Owen, late professor emeritus of French in the University of St. Andrews, states of his translation that he kept "the needs of students" in mind. For that reason, Owen tells us, his "renderings...incline towards the literal." In other words Owen's translation of Chrétien of Troyes's "Arthurian Romances" shuns poetic and literary licence. Decide what you want. This is a scholar's book, a dry literal translation from twelfth century French of original tales that were too long to start with. General readers may find it dull.

Near the end of his substantive Introduction (which itself makes a useful essay for students of Chrétien's times) Owen comments that "Chrétien has bequeathed to us a brilliant portrait of the society that gave him his livelihood." That's true, but these romances set up portraits that will seem "brilliant" only from a scholar's perspective.

Chrétien's productive years spanned 1170 to 1182, the very pinnacle of chivalry -- and of chivalry's unlikely twin, courtly love. Chrétien was an eye-witness, working in the halls of noble patrons, observing and recording the highest values of the culture of his time. He wrote "Lancelot" around 1177, dedicating it to Marie of Champagne (Eleanor of Aquitaine's eldest child), and bringing the world the first mention of Camelot. By 1182, Chrétien was introducing the Holy Grail in "Perceval: the Story of the Grail." Before he won fame under Marie's sponsorship, one wonders if Chrétien had made his observations about the conventions of courtly love and chivalry earlier, at Eleanor's Court of Ladies in Poitiers (1168-'73). Owen was too much the perfect scholar to speculate, but we can.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Okay for a prose translation March 18, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've been through this text now several times for private reading and for teaching classes on Arthur specifically and medieval studies generally.

This book affords very good prose translations of Chretien's romances, from which both I and my students profited. The notes and introduction are quite sound. But something is clearly lost when verse is lost. I understand full well that there are serious complications when translating from the verse of another language into English (which has its own maddening complications, starting with its bizarre irregularities), but I sense something is lost, terribly lost, when the stories are not presented in verse.

While they will cost you a good bit more than this volume, there are very fine verse translations available both from the U.Ga. press and from the Yale U. press.

So a sensible strategy for the Arthurian seeker or scholar would be to start with this modestly priced volume and then move on to the verse translations.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Arthurian Romances July 10, 2009
Format:Kindle Edition
Four Arthurian Romances: Erec et Enide -- Cliges -- Yvain -- Lancelot by Chretien de Troyes. Published by MobileReference (mobi).

I've read several books on Arthurian literature, and this is one of my favorites. In Knight of the Cart, Chretien really makes Lancelot shine as he sacrifices more than anyone (Arthur particularly) to save Guinevere. Knight with the Lion is a little on the twisted side as Yvain falls in love with the wife of the man he kills, breaks a promise with her, then gets her back through trickery of words. If chivalry and courtly love interest you, this collection of romances is sure to please you. Very solid, very readable translation.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Item as described. Would use seller again.
Published 23 days ago by D. H.
4.0 out of 5 stars Beauty combined with sadness that echoes over a millenia.
Beautiful in many ways and these stories carry lessons and sorrows people need to think about. The historic influence of these is undisputed except by political zealots pushing... Read more
Published 1 month ago by Lexander
5.0 out of 5 stars <3 good read anab ahsh badge
I orders it for class but couldn't put it down once I read the first page hdjdjd hdjdjd hdjdjd DNS
Published 3 months ago by Maria C.
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
Bought for my daughters college class
Published 4 months ago by Jeff E. Ager
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Great Buy!
Published 5 months ago by apg0092
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good product and service
Published 5 months ago by private
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 6 months ago by Madeleine Davis
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Ordered this book for a friend
Published 6 months ago by jennie
4.0 out of 5 stars Great general read by an established Arthurian scholar
Owen was a strong scholar of Arthurian romances, whose work I was able to make use of in several instances. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Flint F. Johnson
4.0 out of 5 stars If you like courtly romances
Chretien of Troyes wrote four complete Arthurian Romances that are translated into readable texts in this book. It does not cover the Grail story. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Kindle Customer
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