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Erec and Enide

Erec and Enide

Chrétien de Troyes
Copyright Date: 1992
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  • Book Info
    Erec and Enide
    Book Description:

    In this new verse translation of one of the great works of French literature, Dorothy Gilbert captures the vivacity, wit, and grace of the first known Arthurian romance.Erec and Enideis the story of the quest and coming of age of a young knight, an illustrious member of Arthur's court, who must learn to balance the demands of a masculine public life-tests of courage, skill, adaptability, and mature judgment-with the equally urgent demands of the private world of love and marriage. We see his wife, Enide, develop as an exemplar of chivalry in the female, not as an Amazon, but as a brave, resolute, and wise woman. Composed ca. 1170,Erec and Enidemasterfully combines elements of Celtic legend, classical and ecclesiastical learning, and French medieval culture and ideals. In choosing to write in rhymed octosyllabic couplets-Chrétien's prosodic pattern-Dorothy Gilbert has tried to reproduce what so often gets lost in prose or free verse translations: the precise and delicate meter; the rhyme, with its rich possibilities for emphasis, nuance, puns and jokes; and the "mantic power" implicit in proper names. The result will enable the scholar who cannot read Old French, the student of literature, and the general reader to gain a more sensitive and immediate understanding of the form and spirit of Chrétien's poetry, and to appreciate the more Chrétien's great contribution to European literature.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-91097-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xii)
    (pp. 1-32)

    The first known Arthurian romance,Erec and Enidewas composed about 1170. Whether it had precursors is a subject of debate and conjecture. As far as we know, Chrétien de Troyes created the genre, drawing on ancient Celtic legend, classical and ecclesiastical Latin learning, and the literary and social conventions of French culture in his day. The twelfth century had already produced the French epic, or chanson de geste, which celebrated the matter of France (the deeds of Charlemagne and his warriors, and the epic cycles of William and of the Rebel Barons) and the matter of Rome (the deeds...

  5. Suggestions for Further Reading
    (pp. 33-38)
  6. EREC and ENIDE
    (pp. 39-252)

    The peasant in his proverb says

    that a scorned object often is

    truly a prize and a windfall;

    so if a man is wise at all,

    he makes good use of what he knows.

    If he’s assiduous, he shows

    he uses what he has: he works;

    for he who’s negligent, and shirks

    such duty, overlooks some treasure,

    often, that would have given pleasure.

    This is why Chrétien de Troyës

    urges what’s right; and why he says

    Think! Spare no effort! Learn fair speech,

    Learn how to well and truly teach.

    A tale ofavanturehe’ll tell,

    beautifully joined and crafted...

  7. Notes to the Poem
    (pp. 253-264)
  8. Glossary of Names and Places
    (pp. 265-274)