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The Interlace Structure of the Third Part of the Prose Lancelot

The Interlace Structure of the Third Part of the Prose Lancelot

Frank Brandsma
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 308
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  • Book Info
    The Interlace Structure of the Third Part of the Prose Lancelot
    Book Description:

    Thematically and as a narrative technique, interlace, the complex weaving together of many different story-telling strands, comes to its full development in the intriguing conclusion of the Prose Lancelot. The Grail appears on the horizon and although Lancelot's love for Guenevere still makes him the best knight in the world, it becomes clear that this very love disqualifies him from the Grail Quest. Meanwhile, the adventures of a myriad Arthurian knights continue to be followed. This study explains how the interlace works and shows that it is the perfect vehicle for the relation of the events. It discusses the division of the narrative into threads, their interweaving, convergence and divergence, the gradual introduction of the Grail theme and its first climax (the begetting of Galahad), the distribution of information to the audience, the use of dramatic irony and emotions, and many other aspects of this major innovation in story-telling technique. Dr Frank Brandsma is Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature (Middle Ages) in the Department of Modern Languages at Utrecht University.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-912-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. Editorial Conventions
    (pp. x-x)
  5. List of Abbreviations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Plot Summary of the Prose Lancelot and Vulgate Cycle
    (pp. xiii-xxvi)

    This summary of theLancelotfocuses on Part 3 and is succinct with regard to Part 1 and brief with regard to Part 2. It will be followed by a résumé of theQuesteandMort Artu, and is preceded by information on the contents of the texts preceding theLancelotin the Vulgate Cycle.

    TheEstoire del Saint Graal(S I), a text coming directly from Christ according to its prologue, describes how the Grail (the dish of the Last Supper, also used to collect the blood of the crucified Christ) came into the possession of Joseph of Arimathea...

  7. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-23)

    In the decades just before and after 1200, the art of storytelling in the Old French vernacular went through a period of rapid innovation. In the second half of the twelfth century, Chrétien de Troyes created the first Arthurian romances and achieved the genre’s highest quality right from the start. His tales of love and adventures became models of composition, yet the genre developed further, ranging from Chrétien’s one-hero verse romances of some 7,000 lines to far more elaborate texts in prose, like the ProseLancelot(circa1215) and the ensuing Lancelot-Grail Cycle (1215–1235), which describe the adventures of...

  8. 2 Interlace: The Narrative Technique in Lancelot Part 3
    (pp. 24-112)

    One of the most intriguing aspects of the narration in the Vulgate Cycle is the way it suggests trustworthiness by explaining what the story is based upon. Since this ‘source fiction’ in theLancelotis helpful in understanding and defining the narrative technique of interlace, it will be discussed in some detail here. The text itself explains that the ultimate source of the ProseLancelottale is the narration of the events by the protagonists. The knights are reliable spokesmen according to the medieval ideas on narrative veracity, because they are eyewitnesses.¹ When they leave the court to begin a...

  9. 3 Interlace: The Themes of Lancelot Part 3
    (pp. 113-199)

    The technical aspects of the interlaced narrative are, in a way, a theme in itself: the presentation of the text as a pseudo-chronicle gave a specific message to the contemporary audience. Whether the audience perceived the text as absolutely true or saw through the disguise and recognised the tale’s essentially fictitious nature is hard to decide. The prologues traditionally cited in discussions of the verse–prose debate in France just after 1200 strongly argue for the truthfulness of prose narratives, yet the authors were making things up, inventing new adventures concerning for instance the Grail, a fact the probably well-informed...

  10. 4 Conclusion: Narration (Revisited) and the Audience
    (pp. 200-227)

    Much remains unclear with regard to the making of Part 3 of the ProseLancelot: we do not know who was responsible for the creation of the text in this phase of the genesis of the cycle, or for whom the tale was intended. The conclusion to theQuestementions the alleged author Gautier Map († April 1, 1209 or 1210) and his patron, King Henry (the second, † 1189), but the chronological distance of these persons from the actual creation of the cycle in the first decades of the thirteenth century reveals that this is a fake.¹ Naming this...

  11. Appendix 1: Survey of Prose Lancelot Manuscripts According to (1) Date and (2) Contents
    (pp. 228-238)
  12. Appendix 2: The Interlace of the Primary Narrative Threads in Lancelot Part 3
    (pp. 239-254)
  13. Appendix 3: Reading time experiment (cf. ch.4, note 15)
    (pp. 255-258)
  14. Bibliography
    (pp. 259-272)
  15. Index
    (pp. 273-278)
  16. Back Matter
    (pp. 279-282)