Erec and Enide

Erec and Enide

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: 250
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  • Book Info
    Erec and Enide
    Book Description:

    Erec and Enide, the first of five surviving Arthurian romantic poems by twelfth-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes, narrates a vivid chapter from the legend of King Arthur. Chrétien's romances became the source for Arthurian tradition and influenced countless other poets in England and on the Continent. Yet his swift-moving style is difficult to capture in translation, and today's English-speaking audiences remain largely unfamiliar with the pleasures of reading his poems.Now an experienced translator of medieval verse who is himself a poet has translatedEric and Enidein an original three-stress metric verse form that fully captures the movement, the sense, and the spirit of the Old French original. Burton Raffel's rendition preserves the subtlety and charm of a poem that is in turn serious, dramatic, bawdy, merry, and satiric.Erec and Enidetells the story of Erec, a knight at King Arthur's court, whose retirement to domestic bliss with his beautiful new wife Enide takes him away from his chivalric duties. To regain his knightly honor, Erec sets out with Enide on a series of amazing adventures. Eric dispatches thieves and giants with prodigious strength and valor but treats his wife rather harshly for doubting his abilities. When Enide is kidnapped by a robber baron, Erec revives from near-death to perform a courageous rescue, and at length the two are reconciled.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-14410-9
    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. Erec and Enide
    (pp. 1-220)
    Chrétien de Troyes
  5. Afterword
    (pp. 221-234)
    Joseph J. Duggan

    Erec and Enide,thought to have been composed around 1170, is the earliest romance of King Arthur. Other romances in French preceded it, but they were devoted to figures and events taken from the Greek and Roman past (the fall of Troy, Aeneas, Oedipus, Alexander the Great). As an educated man, and probably a cleric, Chrétien would have been familiar with these romances of antiquity. He refers to Alexander in several places and has the story of Dido and Aeneas carved on Enide’s saddlebows in II.5332-42. He also alludes to the story of Tristan and Yseult, which would be the...

  6. Recommended for Further Reading
    (pp. 235-236)