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Chrétien de Troyes revisited

Author: Karl D Uitti; Michelle A Freeman
Publisher: New York : Twayne Publishers ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, ©1995.
Series: Twayne's world authors series, TWAS 855.; Twayne's world authors series., French literature.
Edition/Format:   Book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
In Chretien de Troyes Revisited, author Karl D. Uitti at last places Chretien in context, offering a strong sense of the author's identity and the milieu in which he lived and wrote. Uitti's 30 years of work on the subject pay handsome dividends for the reader, as we view Chretien - likely for the first timeoutside of a vacuum. Uitti locates Chretien within the theological and philosophical setting of his time;
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Uitti, Karl D.
Chrétien de Troyes revisited.
New York : Twayne Publishers ; Toronto : Maxwell Macmillan Canada ; New York : Maxwell Macmillan International, c1995
(OCoLC)623233055
Named Person: Chrétien, de Troyes; Chrétien, de Troyes; Chrétien, de Troyes; Chrétien (de Troyes)
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Karl D Uitti; Michelle A Freeman
ISBN: 0805743073 9780805743074
OCLC Number: 31045166
Description: xv, 169 p. : ill. ; 23 cm.
Contents: Ch. 1. Biography and General Background --
Ch. 2. Schools, the Vernacular, and the Court --
Ch. 3. Erec et Enide and Cliges: Conjointure, Clergie, and Translatio --
Ch. 4. Le Chevalier de la Charrette (Lancelot) and Le Chevalier an Lion (Yvain): Twin Romances --
Ch. 5. Myth and Spirituality: Le Conte du Graal (Perceval) --
Appendix: A Note on Philomena (Ovide moralise) and the Lyric Poems.
Series Title: Twayne's world authors series, TWAS 855.; Twayne's world authors series., French literature.
Responsibility: Karl D. Uitti with Michelle A. Freeman.

Abstract:

In Chretien de Troyes Revisited, author Karl D. Uitti at last places Chretien in context, offering a strong sense of the author's identity and the milieu in which he lived and wrote. Uitti's 30 years of work on the subject pay handsome dividends for the reader, as we view Chretien - likely for the first timeoutside of a vacuum. Uitti locates Chretien within the theological and philosophical setting of his time; views him as a worker-craftsman who produced stories on demand for his patron; depicts him as a clerc, that is, a learned man who took possession of the literary heritage coming down from Greece and Rome, thus becoming a successor to Virgil and Ovid; establishes a link between the "joining" of Heloise and Abelard and the numerous couples depicted in Chretien's romances; and argues persuasively that he advanced the French language to new heights through his work.

This beautifully written book, born out of exhaustive research and informed study, covers the five major romances in octosyllabic rhyming couplets that may with certainty be ascribed to Chretien de Troyes, and touches upon a few minor works that have been attributed to him. In what is undeniably the definitive study on this subject. Uitti breaks new ground at nearly every level. He shows how Chretien explored two principal issues that serve to structure every one of his romances: the development of the young man into adulthood, and the problems of the couple. In each of his works, Chretien builds on these elements, developing the themes in a series of adventures undergone by a number of successful couples, and virtually singing the praises of marriage.

So too does Uitti provide a new perspective through his careful intertextual reading of Le Chevalier au Lion (Yvain) and Le Chevalier de la Charrette (Lancelot), arguing that together they constitute a "super romance." When we read them together, Uitti suggests, we see that one of the subjects being treated is the writing of the romance itself. Finally, Uitti establishes startling and vital links between the Conte du Graal (Perceval) and all the works preceding it, as well as between Chretien and other literature - both Latin and vernacular - of the Middle Ages (especially Tristan et Iseult, which exerted a powerful effect on the social elites of the day, and which, in Chretien's view, glorified destructive passions). This contextualization of Chretien furnishes not only marvelous insight into the subject matter, but also a rare glimpse of scholarly work in its most inspiring guise.

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