Title: Arthurian Romances
Author: Chretien de Troyes
Rating: 4 / 5 stars
Reading Challenges: Classics – Translated; Mount TBR; Fall into Reading
How I Got It: I own it
Chrétien de Troyes was a French poet and trouvère who flourished in the late 12th century. His work on Arthurian subjects represents some of the best regarded of medieval literature. His use of structure, particular in Yvain, the Knight of the Lion, has been seen as a step towards the modern novel. Chrétien’s five romances together form the most complete expression from a single author of the ideals of French chivalry.
- Erec and Enide — This story of bravery and romance felt very flat to me. I just couldn’t get behind Erec and Enide’s love story. To me, he didn’t sacrifice anything for his love. Hmmm… on to the next.
- Cliges — A tale of adultery that ends well. Not the most romantic story of all time. I did enjoy the discussions of the adventures by both Cliges and his father, Alexander.
- Lancelot — Ah Lancelot. The beloved of Guinevere and best friend of King Arthur. According to Wikipedia, this is the first story that mentions Camelot and the affair between Guinevere and Lancelot. Growing up I always thought these two were idiots for sneaking around the betraying Arthur who did nothing but support and love them. Reading the “original” story, I still have issues with the “love” depicted. It just doesn’t sit well with me.
- Yvain — After stupidity forgetting his wife, Laudine, Yvain must prove himself and his love to her. I do like the motif of redemption in this story. Worth a read.
- Perceval — This one was left unfinished by de Troyes. Supposedly he died before finishing the poem. At any rate, the first story of the quest for the Holy Grail was a great start. Unfortunately we don’t get de Troyes version of an ending, although there are many out there.
Overall, I am really glad that I finally picked up this volume of stories. It renewed my interest in myths and fairy tales after some disastrous previous reads. I might even have to read Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur next year. We’ll see…