Chrétien de Troyes
Translated from the Old French by Burton Raffel
Afterword by Joseph J. Duggan
Copyright Date: 1997
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 248
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    In this extraordinarily fine translation ofCligès, the second of five surviving Arthurian poems by twelfth-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, Burton Raffel captures the liveliness, innovative spirit, and subtle intentions of the original work. In this poem, Chrétien creates his most artful plot and paints the most starkly medieval portraits of any of his romances. The world he describes has few of the safeguards and protections of civilization: battles are brutal and merciless, love is anguished and desperate.Cligèstells the story of the unhappy Fenice, trapped in a marriage of constraint to the emperor of Constantinople. Fenice feigns death, then awakens to a new, happy life with her lover.Enormously popular in their own time, each of Chrétien's great verse romances is a fast-paced psychologically oriented narrative. In a rational and realistic manner, Chrétien probes the inner workings of his characters and the world they live in, evoking the people, their customs, and their values in clear, emotionally charged verse.Cligèsis filled with Chrétien's barbs and bawdiness, his humor and his pleasure, his affection and his contempt. It is the unmistakable work of a brilliantly individualistic poet, brought to modern English readers by Raffel's poetic translation in a metric form invented specifically to reflect Chrétien's narrative speed and tone.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14413-0
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Translator’s Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
    Burton Raffel
  4. Cligès
    (pp. 1-214)
    Chrétien de Troyes
  5. Afterword
    (pp. 215-230)
    Joseph J. Duggan

    In the Prologue toCligés,Chrétien de Troyes identifies himself as the author ofErec and Enidebut does not mention any of his other romances.Cligésis therefore likely the second in order of his five extant major works, the three others beingYvain, Lancelot,andPerceval.Under whose patronage Chrétien wroteCligésmay never be known. Features ofErec and Enideindicate that he composed this romance shortly after 1169 for a noble in the orbit of Henry II Plantagenet (1133–1189), king of England and suzerain of most of western France as far south as the Pyrenees....

  6. Recommended for Further Reading
    (pp. 231-233)