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Lancelot: The Knight of the Cart

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: 254
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    In this outstanding new translation ofLancelot,Burton Raffel brings to English language readers the fourth of Chrétien's five surviving romantic Arthurian poems. This poem was the first to introduce Lancelot as an important figure in the King Arthur legend.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-13320-2
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Translator’s Preface
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Lancelot
    (pp. xi-224)
    Chrétien de Troyes

    Because my lady of Champagne*

    Wants me to start a new

    Romance, I’ll gladly begin one,

    For I’m completely her servant

    In whatever she wants me to do,

    And these are not flattering words.

    Others, who like to wheedle

    And coax, might start by saying

    —And this, too, would not

    Be flattery—that here was a princess

    Who outshines every lady Alive, as the winds of April

    And May blow sweetest of all.

    But I, by God, refuse

    To spin sweet words about

    My lady. Should I say: “This lady

    Is worth her weight in queens,

    One gem as...

  5. Afterword
    (pp. 225-238)
    Joseph J. Duggan

    Chrétien beginsLancelot: The Knight of the Cartin a manner untypical of his earlier romances, with a statement of his indebtedness to a patron, Marie, countess of Champagne. Marie, who was the daughter of King Louis VII of France and Eleanor of Aquitaine,* had been countess since her marriage to Henry the Liberal in 1164. When her husband died on March 16,1181, Marie became regent of the county of Champagne on behalf of her son, also named Henry.

    The date of composition ofLancelotis uncertain, but most specialists place it after 1176 and before 1182, at about the...

  6. Recommended for Further Reading
    (pp. 239-241)
  7. Back Matter
    (pp. 242-242)