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Yvain, or The Knight with the Lion

(Arthurian Romances)

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  2,425 ratings  ·  122 reviews
This verse translation of Yvain; or, The Knight with the Lion brings to life a fast-paced yet remarkably subtle work often considered to be the masterpiece of the twelfth-century French writer Chrétien de Troyes. The creator of the Arthurian romance as a genre, Chrétien is revealed in this work as a witty, versatile writer who mastered both the soaring flight of emotion ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published December 1st 1984 by University of Georgia Press (first published 1181)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
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Gabrielle Dubois
Jan 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 16th-and-less
In the 12th century, Chrétien de Troyes wrote this story happening during the reign of King Arthur in the 6th century. A simple, but great adventure which I liked from the beginning:
"In the past, King Arthur’s disciples were numerous and knew how to behave with honor, courtesy and generosity. This is no longer the case today. There are many who, wrongly, pretend to love while they don’t feel the slightest feeling. It’s very unfortunate to overwork Love and to make fun of it. "

Each century has
Bryn Greenwood
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this translation nearly as much as I love the original text. Cline has a great ear for rhyme and rhythm, captures the breathless excitement of Yvain’s battle with Sir Esclados perfectly.
Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast)
The great thing about classics like this one is that we’ve gained this great reverence for them, maybe just by virtue of how old and enduring they are, but so often if you actually take the time to read them you find they’re quite entertaining. To people in Chrétien de Troyes’ time, the idea of studying “low entertainment” like this would’ve been absurd—and yet I’m writing an essay on this very book for my Western Classics in Translation class.

When you get past the pretence that capital-C
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mark Adderley
May 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Mark by:
This is probably Chrétien de Troyes' greatest poem, beautifully translated into English octosyllabic couplets by Ruth Harwood Cline.

The story concerns the young knight Yvain who, having killed the Knight of the Fountain, falls in love with the knight's late wife, Laudine. So that's a bit of an awkward situation. Eventually, Laudine's lady-in-waiting, Lunete, is able to persuade Laudine to marry Yvain, as he will be able to protect her realm against an impending invasion. The invasion turns out
Anna Groover
Things this medieval romance made me want to do: befriend a lion who then follows me around like a loyal dog; unknowingly battle my BKBF (Best Knight Bro Forever) until the sun sets and we have to stop fighting and ONLY THEN realize that it's my BKBF and not some random knight; and, of course, go feral and live in the woods thanks to my wife breaking my heart because I broke a promise to her
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ok, I'm no expert. These are French remakes of Arthurian tales, and many pages are spent on courtly love and wealth. The adventures are exciting, but nothing like you might expect.
Emma Getz
I wish i had a pet lion
Shawn Peters
Absolutely F E R A L
Jul 29, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I bought this book by accident, to be perfectly honest with all of you. I was thinking it was a play by some author I forget, and instead I bought this story by Chretien de Troyes and imagine my surprised when I received the wrong book in the mail... I'm not sad about it, mind you. No, I'm quite thankful that the fates stepped in and gave me this book.

I have never read such a story of high adventure and knighthood in my life. Yvain/Ywain, the main character, is a knight in King Arthur's court.
A wonderful version of a spectacular romance. I'm partial to the Welsh version Owein better, and have had my problems with Chretien's romantics, but for Yvain the tale is really beautifully told. Cline's translation is poetic, and as I do not know any Old French, I'm not sure if it's very accurate. Still, it is very good, without too many forced modernisms, and sounds very good.
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it
Everybody says that Lancelot is the best but! I like more Yvain!!!
Sep 12, 2017 rated it liked it
the themes are boring and it literally sounds like a second grader wrote it both in terms of plot (and how quickly conflict is resolved) and also syntax. 3 stars for entertainment value and the fact that i can't quite figure out how to analyze the portrayal of women in this and anything that i can't figure out i love
Apr 01, 2012 rated it liked it
Having taught this twice and had it pop up in two or three classes I've taken, I feel like I'm pretty familiar with this text--and yet I keep getting surprised by it. I'm not a huge Arthurian lit fan, and I'm definitely not a French Romance fan, but this has so many layers that it's fascinating. You have to read the endnotes of this version, you just do; the sarcasm and brilliance of Troyes are just scathingly wonderful. The translation is really good, as well, in terms of ease of reading and ...more
Nov 19, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers of medieval literature.
Recommended to Luke by: It was a required read for a class
I really enjoyed this book! A brilliant peace of French literature that had me turning the pages until the end. Also I wish I had a faithful lion like Yvain. That was my favorite part.
Oct 10, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school
3.5 stars
Merey Merey
Apr 29, 2008 marked it as to-read
Bought this book in a run down used bookstore in the French Quarter. Should have read it by now.
Finn Longman
yvain: ultimate cat person, very gay for gawain, makes poor life choices because of peer pressure and bad timekeeping
Jose Portillo
Had to read it for Spanish class. Never read a medieval book before, guess why I wasn't into the writing and narrative style. The book really didn't have a plot, it was just like a compilation of Yvain's adventures, which is fine but I guess it was a bit too repetitive. Once again, never read a book as old so I'm not used to the style which made it really hard to get into it and enjoy it. Still, it wasn't that bad, I'm just not used to reading this sort of books. I love history, though,
Theresa Kenney
Jan 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Probably the most fun of all Chretien's romances, and a source for Mozart's Magic Flute. Yvain's trespasses at the beginning result in his self-inflicted punishment, but also grant him the strangest of allies -- a lion who seems to have human, or at least canine, feelings. One of the first real male -female friendships I know of in western literature, too! Lunete is a great character -- and in the end, to find his name again and restore his reputation and his marriage (to Laudine), can Yvain ...more
Sep 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
First novel of the schoolyear read! Note that I didn't read this version, which is the original in verse. I read the adapted version in prose, but there's no seperate Goodreads thing for it. My first experience with French medieval literature and I quite enjoyed the discussions we had on it in class! Three stars only because I have no point of reference, since I've never read any other (French) medieval literature.
Nov 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's a very good book, I like it a lot. Thick and rich, esp. when coming from Le Morte d'Arthur. It goes over the characters' feelings in a way that can be sickly, or verbose, or irritating, but by the end I'd warmed to it, and you can feel the author really speaking to you, which is either good or bad.
Jan 15, 2018 rated it liked it
-"If we haven't Gained by your presence, allow us, Please not to lose."

-That I felt myself filled with pleasure And hoped I might never again Need to move.

-For hunger is a lovely, well-made Sauce for any food.
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Chretien doesn’t just offer us wonderful adventures and stirring, enviable romance, he provides a moral vision for men and women and how through trial and tribulations they can bring peace and comfort in a world full of hostile treachery.
Philip Zaborowski
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Yvain is a twelfth century Arthurian Romance which is essentially about the great lengths a man will go to, in order to avoid apologizing after he's clearly screwed up. And people tell me medieval literature isn't relateable enough...
Tait Jensen
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Who would have thought that a 12th century romance could be so entertaining?
Astrid IG
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the most beautiful stories from Middle Age, I really loved it and I'm totally in love with the main character, Yvain.
This book was my first book talking about knight. It is very interesting but not my favorite book. Maybe a day I will read an another book talking about this.
Jessica Enriquez
Nov 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Definitely a new favorite!
Jan 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I had to read this book for a college lit class, but I actually liked it, at least the second half, I think I even cried a few times
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Chrétien de Troyes, commonly regarded as the father of Arthurian romance and a key figure in Western literature, composed in French in the latter part of the twelfth century. Virtually nothing is known of his life. Possibly a native of Troyes, he enjoyed patronage there from the Countess Marie of Champagne before dedicating his last romance to Count Philip of Flanders, perhaps about 1182. His ...more

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