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Yvain: The Knight of the Lion

Chrétien de Troyes
Translated from the Old French by Burton Raffel
Afterword by Joseph J. Duggan
Copyright Date: 1987
Published by: Yale University Press
Pages: 228
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  • Book Info
    Book Description:

    The twelfth-century French poet Chrétien de Troyes is a major figure in European literature. His courtly romances fathered the Arthurian tradition and influenced countless other poets in England as well as on the continent. Yet because of the difficulty of capturing his swift-moving style in translation, English-speaking audiences are largely unfamiliar with the pleasures of reading his poems.

    Now, for the first time, an experienced translator of medieval verse who is himself a poet provides a translation of Chrétien's major poem,Yvain, in verse that fully and satisfyingly captures the movement, the sense, and the spirit of the Old French original.Yvainis a courtly romance with a moral tenor; it is ironic and sometimes bawdy; the poetry is crisp and vivid. In addition, the psychological and the socio-historical perceptions of the poem are of profound literary and historical importance, for it evokes the emotions and the values of a flourishing, vibrant medieval past.

    eISBN: 978-0-300-18758-8
    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-xiv)
    Burton Raffel
  4. Yvain: The Knight of the Lion
    (pp. 1-204)
    Chrétien de Troyes
  5. Afterword
    (pp. 205-226)
    Joseph J. Duggan

    Chrétien de Troyes wrote in the second half of the twelfth century. What little we know about him comes from the prologue to his romanceCligés, where he identifies himself as the author of six other works:Erec and Enid; a tale about King Mark and Isolt the Blonde; adaptations into Old French of Ovid’sArt of LoveandRemedies of Love; two stories from that same author’sMetamorphoses—“Philomène,” probably preserved as part of the thirteenth-centuryOvide moralisé, and the lost “Bite on the Shoulder,” perhaps a version of the story of Pelops.

    That Chrétien was schooled in Latin...

  6. Recommended for Further Reading
    (pp. 227-228)
  7. Back Matter
    (pp. 229-229)