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Arthurian Romances (Penguin Classics) Paperback – June 4, 1991
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Text: English (translation)
From the Publisher
Founded in 1906 by J.M. Dent, the Everyman Library has always tried to make the best books ever written available to the greatest number of people at the lowest possible price. Unique editorial features that help Everyman Paperback Classics stand out from the crowd include: a leading scholar or literary critic's introduction to the text, a biography of the author, a chronology of her or his life and times, a historical selection of criticism, and a concise plot summary. All books published since 1993 have also been completely restyled: all type has been reset, to offer a clarity and ease of reading unique among editions of the classics; a vibrant, full-color cover design now complements these great texts with beautiful contemporary works of art. But the best feature must be Everyman's uniquely low price. Each Everyman title offers these extensive materials at a price that competes with the most inexpensive editions on the market-but Everyman Paperbacks have durable binding, quality paper, and the highest editorial and scholarly standards. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
In addition to the important Lancelot story, Chretien's stories provide a very lucid glimpse of both artistic and broadly cultural views of these staple romances, along with a crucial view into the changing nature of written accounts of legendary material that was in flux soon after the tales were put to paper. The writing is particularly subtle, in the spirit of Sir Gawain's romance. On a personal note, I used to be quite involved in tales about Arthur but felt I lost my fire for the subject. Chretien de Troyes reignited that fire for me.
The book also has an appendix of Continuations of the Grail Stories, a Medieval glossary, and a good Notes section. I bought it as I was studying 'The Knight of the Cart' for a course on Magic in the Middle Ages.
I found this translation more readable than some of the previous ones I tried. The Notes and Glossary were also helpful as was the Introduction. It's written in a modern style yet keeps the flavour of knighthood, battles and ladies who need rescuing but may also be enchanted. I would recommend this book to anybody studying this period in literature, or to anybody interested in King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, or if you enjoy tales of adventure, romance and magic.
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.