Chrétien de Troyes

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Chrétien de Troyes


Chrestien de Troyes

(both: krātyăN` də trwä), fl. 1170, French poet, author of the first great literary treatments of the Arthurian legendArthurian legend,
the mass of legend, popular in medieval lore, concerning King Arthur of Britain and his knights. Medieval Sources

The battle of Mt. Badon—in which, according to the Annales Cambriae (c.
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. 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 ParsifalParsifal
, figure of Arthurian legend also known as Sir Percivale, who is in turn a later form of a hero of Celtic myth. The name originally occurs as Pryderi, an alternative name of Gwry in Pwyll Prince of Dyved, a tale in the Mabinogion.
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). 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).


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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.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.


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


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.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
The Ethical Structure of Courtly Romance: Chretien de Troyes' Yvain and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.
El Grial aparece en la literatura medieval francesa a partir de dos modelos diferentes: uno representado por El cuento del grial de Chretien de Troyes y el otro representado por el Joseph d'Arimathie de Robert de Boron.
Pavel imagines the average reader situating him- or herself on a moral scale falling far short of the ideals exemplified by Chaiclea in The Ethiopian Story or even Yvain in the stories by Chretien de Troyes, but somewhat above the wicked picaros or picaras.
In conclusion, I postulate that in the works of Chretien de Troyes beneath Catholic dogma and proscription and beneath a contemporary cultural norm lies an intimation of inexpressible desires, whether or not this was his conscious intent.
Close to 40 contributions (a few in French) address topics in the realm of his interests, including, for example the poetry of Lemmo Orlandi da Pistoia, Chretien de Troyes's romances (a reconsideration of the order), transmission and individuality in medieval glossaries, and family drama in the Middle English Breton lays.
Irony has often been used to describe the poetics of Chretien de Troyes's Arthurian romance Cliges.
In Le Chevalier de la Charrette, the prose romance written by Chretien de Troyes, Lancelot, Chretien de Troyes's invention, appears as the queen's lover, as well, of course, as the best knight in the world.