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Lancelot: The Knight of the Cart (Chretien de Troyes Romances S) Revised ed. Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0300071214
ISBN-10: 0300071213
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Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Burton Raffel is Distinguished Professor of Humanities at the University of Southwestern Louisiana, Lafayette. He is the author of The Art of Translating Poetry (Penn State,1988), How to Read a Poem (1984), and T.S. Eliot (1982, 1991) and translator of Beowulf (1963), Chretien de Troyes's Yvain (1987), and Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel (1990).

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Product Details

  • Series: Chretien de Troyes Romances S
  • Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Yale University Press; Revised ed. edition (October 20, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0300071213
  • ISBN-13: 978-0300071214
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #136,035 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jordan M. Poss VINE VOICE on April 25, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Chretien de Troyes is one of the unsung heroes of world literature in general and Arthurian legend in particular. In Perceval he introduced the Grail, a fundamental symbol that fascinated other medieval writers, who expanded on it until the Grail became the defining object of the entire literature. And in Lancelot, Chretien created a story of love and betrayal that achieved almost equal importance with the Grail legend.

Chretien was the first poet to ascribe importance of any kind to Lancelot, who had been sometimes mentioned in Arthurian tales but never a major figure. In this poem, Lancelot becomes one of the bravest of Arthur's knights and, what is more, Queen Guinevere's lover.

The poem begins as so many do that concern Arthur--the court has gathered for merry-making and the festivities are interrupted by an evil figure. Here, it is Maleagant, who challenges Arthur to entrust his queen to any knight in the court. The knight will combat Maleagant, and whoever wins takes the queen home. Arthur is hard-pressed to choose, but the royal steward, Sir Kay, forces him to a decision by swearing he will leave the court if he is not chosen for the contest. Arthur submits to the demand and Kay is defeated.

Sir Gawain sets out to follow the captive queen and, perhaps, rescue her. He is joined by a young, unnamed knight, who is just as determined to rescue the queen. The knight, however, is forced to ride in a cart, a humiliating gesture that soils his reputation for the rest of the story. This "knight of the cart," of course, is Sir Lancelot, and he is bound to find and rescue Guinevere because of his deathless love of her. Lancelot and Gawain agree to journey separately to Maleagant's kingdom and try to save her.
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Format: Paperback
This is Chrétien de Troyes' best-known romance, the first telling of the Lancelot and Guinevere story.

Raffel has now translated all five of Chrétien's surviving romances. Although a number of other translations are available, Raffel is a poet and has produced the only translations that read like poetry, replicating the wit and speed of the original Old French.

That said, compromises must be made to produce a poetic translation. When it comes to small details, Raffel's translation isn't a close to the original text as other available translations. In the Knight of the Cart, infamously, Chrétien does not name Lancelot until the midpoint of the romance (in the first half, he's simply "the Knight of the Cart"). Raffel, on the other hand, drops Lancelot's name into the prologue!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I'm reading this to a 7 year old and 9 year old; the 9 year old understands what's going on and the words aren't too big for her. I've brought a paperback copy for her to follow along.

The plot and the descriptions keep the reader going. The hardcover is well-priced and worth it.
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