Posted by: vikingsinspace | July 25, 2011

VI.30.013. Read Chrétien de Troyes, Erec and Enide

Date Accomplished: 21 January 2011

Chretien de Troyes, Erec and Enide

Chrétien de Troyes, Erec and Enide, trans. Burton Raffel (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1997)

2    – Chrétien takes a swipe at other poets of his day, saying they usually ruin the tale of Erec and Enide

4-5    – Descriptions of wealth – “Brocade from Constantinople” and “Spanish Stallions”

17    – An old knight seems to have impoverished himself by spending his whole life at war

50-1    – An elaborate description of fine, elegant and expensive clothing for a woman

56    – Some thoughts on kingship – particularly interesting is that a good king does not make new laws or customs – he follows his father’s customs

62    – The king of the Antipodes came to Erec’s wedding!

65    – Steamy love scene, medieval style

68    – At the tournament, all the attacks appear to be directed at the opponent’s shield – they are deliberately trying not to harm one another

69    – Erec is said to be a great knight because he wasn’t “hunting / Horses or knights, he wanted / Nothing but good fighting”

78    – Erec, designing to spend all his time with Enide, gave up fighting – other knights called this a shame and called him lazy

89-90    – Hints that in Chrétien’s time, knights had taken to ganging up on single knights, & Chrétien does not approve…

121    – The King of the Irish is a dwarf!

125-8    – Arthur’s knights don’t recognize Erec because his Heraldry has worn off his shield

210    – Arthur, creating new knights gives them horses and robes

212-14    – A description of Erec’s robe, sown by four faeries of the four disciplines of Geometry, Arithmetic, Music, and Astronomy

Afterward by Joseph J. Duggan

221    – The story is thought to have been composed around 1170

    – It is the earliest Romance of King Arthur (notice – Romance. Arthur was involved in histories and stories beforehand)

223    – Says idea of a Round Table came to Chrétien from Wace

227    – The ‘Joie de la Cort’ episode may be derived from a Welsh story

228    – Their clothing represents the path along their way to sovereignty – Enide begins in tatters, Erec ends in most beautiful clothes imaginable

231    – Chrétien mentions no Patron for Erec and Enide

    └> Duggan suspects a connection with Henry II’s court since the wedding scene appears in Nantes – under Henry’s control – and Henry held court there in 1169

I find it interesting that it is through Enide’s speaking that she and Erec go on their quest, and it seems to me that because of Enide’s spoken words that Erec wishes her to not speak throughout – that this is his test of her. Undoubtedly, the point is to find a middling ground, as illustrated through Erec and Enide’s opposites in the ‘Joie de la Cort.’


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