Chrétien de Troyes

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Chrétien de Troyes

Chrétien de Troyes or Chrestien de Troyes (both: krātyăNˈ də trwä), fl. 1170, French poet, author of the first great literary treatments of the Arthurian legend. His narrative romances, composed c.1170–c.1185 in octosyllabic rhymed couplets, include Érec et Énide; Cligès; Lancelot, le chevalier de la charette; Yvain, le chevalier au lion; and Perceval, le conte del Graal, unfinished (see Parsifal). Chrétien drew on popular legend and history, and imbued his romances with the ideals of chivalry current at the 12th-century court of Marie de Champagne, to which he was attached. His other surviving works include imitations of Ovid and Guillaume d'Angleterre, a non-Arthurian narrative. Translations of the Arthurian romances are included in W. W. Comfort's edition (1913) and in R. S. and L. H. Loomis, Medieval Romances (1957).

Bibliography

See L. T. Ropsfield, Chrétien de Troyes: A Study of the Arthurian Romances (1981); J. Frappier, Chretién de Troyes: The Man and His Work (1982); N. J. Lacy et al., ed., The Legacy of Chrétien de Troyes (2 vol., 1988).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Chrétien de Troyes

 

(or Chréstien). Born circa 1130, in Troyes; died there circa 1191. French poet who wrote verse in the style of the trouvères of northern France and translated Ovid's Art of Love and Metamorphoses.

Chrétien's best works are the courtly romances Erec and Enide (c. 1162), Cliges (c. 1164), Lancelot, or the Knight of the Cart (c. 1168), Yvain, or the Knight of the Lion (c. 1172), and Perceval, or the Tale of the Grail (c. 1182). They inspired numerous imitations and adaptations. In his works Chretien used the legends about King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table. But these legends are only a colorful background for depictions of real life, the amorous experiences of the main characters, and important social conflicts.

WORKS

Les Romans de Chrestien de Troyes, vols. 1–4. Paris, 1953–63.
In Russian translation:
In Khrestomatiia po zarubezhnoi literature srednikh vekov. Moscow, 1953.

REFERENCES

Istoriia frantsuzskoi literatury. vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1946. Pages 110–17.
Deks, P. Sem’ vekov romana. Moscow, 1962.
Frappier, J. Chrestien de Troyes. Paris, 1957.

A. D. MIKHAILOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.