The Evolution of Arthurian Romance: The Verse Tradition from Chrétien to Froissart: 35

The Evolution of Arthurian Romance: The Verse Tradition from Chrétien to Froissart: 35

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Beate Schmolke-Hasselmann
Cambridge University Press
Edition: First Edition, 5/28/1998
EAN 9780521411530, ISBN10: 052141153X

Hardcover, 374 pages, 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
Language: English

This 1998 study serves as a contribution to both reception history, examining the medieval response to Chrétien's poetry, and genre history, suveying the evolution of Arthurian verse romance in French. It describes the evolutionary changes taking place between Chrétien's Eric et Enide and Froissart's Meliador, the first and last examples of the genre, and is unique in placing Chrétien's work, not as the unequalled masterpieces of the whole of Arthurian literature, but as the starting point for the history of the genre, which can subsequently be traced over a period of two centuries in the French-speaking world. Beate Schmolke-Hasselmann's study was first published in German in 1985, but her radical argument that we need urgently to redraw the lines on the literary and linguistic map of medieval Britain and France is only now being made available in English.

Part I. The Response to Chrétien
Tradition and Innovation in Arthurian Romance
1. The stigma of decadence
2. Consolidation of the form
3. Changes in the relationship between ideals and reality
4. Knight or lover
Gawain as a paragon divided
5. Old matiere, new sens
innovation in thought and content
6. Aspects of the response to Chrétien
from plagiarism to nostalgia
Part II. An Historical Survey of the Impact of the Arthurian Verse Romances
7. The popularity of Arthurian verse romances
8. The audience
9. Arthurian literature in French and its significance for England

"In English the book reads with remarkable freshness. Scholarship on the verse romances has continued in recent years, but has concentrated on the production of (very welcome) new editions and articles on fashionable aspects of individual texts; Schmolke-Hasselmann's breadth of approach remains unparalleled. Like all the best criticism, Schmolke-Hasselmann's book raises as many stimulating questions as it answers." Rosemary Morris, Albion