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Arthurian Romances

(Arthurian Romances)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  7,317 ratings  ·  131 reviews
Taking the legends surrounding King Arthur and weaving in new psychological elements of personal desire and courtly manner, Chrétien de Troyes fashioned a new form of medieval Romance. The Knight of the Cart is the first telling of the adulterous relationship between Lancelot and Arthur's Queen Guinevere, and in The Knight with the Lion Yvain neglects his bride in his ...more
Paperback, 521 pages
Published January 31st 1991 by Penguin Classics (first published 1190)
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  7,317 ratings  ·  131 reviews

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Luís C.
I really can't say enough in praise of this wonderful book. Each poem is translated into prose in a lively and vivid style. The dialogue is crisp and natural and the action non-stop. But Chretien's intentions go even deeper than merely telling cracking yarns. Each are sensitive and intelligent explorations of human nature.
Marital love is ever an important theme in Chretien. In Erec and Enide, the hero neglects his knightly reputation in order to devote himself to his new bride, and in Yvain the
João Fernandes
Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Exams are finally over, time to return to books and Goodreads! Will catch up on reviews as soon as I can.
Joe Totterdell
From William W. Kiblers introduction the 1991 Penguin Classics edition of Chrétien de Troyes Arthurian Romances:

Certainly no translation can hope to capture all the subtlety and magic of Chrétiens art. But one can hope to convey some measure of his humour, his irony and the breadth of his vision. He was one of the great artists and creators of his day, and nearly every romancer after him had to come to terms with his legacy. Some translated or frankly imitated (today we might even say
I can't believe it's taken me so long to get round to reading this. I've had it on my reading list for ages -- before I knew it'd be a set text -- and I'm glad I finally got round to it. It isn't a novel, as such, of course, but a set of somewhat connected stories, the last one of which is unfinished. I'm surprised by how great a part Gawain plays, even in the stories of the other knights, particularly in The Story of the Grail -- I don't think I've really seen him get so much attention in the ...more
Greg Lico
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Arthurian romances is a particular favorite genre of mine to read. Chretien de Troyes is more or less the originator of some of the most famous episodes in the Arthurian mythos.

In my junior year of high school, I took a class on Medieval literature and it was defiantly my favorite class in high school. I had a great teacher who was passionate about the subject and a class willing to learn. It was there that I first read Chretien de Troyes and his stories of chivalric romance. We only read one of
Evan Leach
The British may have started the whole Arthurian movement, but the French really took it to the next level. French writers added a number of innovations to the legend we know and love today, including the character of Lancelot. Chrétien introduced the character in Erec and Enide, then added the whole Guinevere love wrinkle in The Knight of the Cart. Both of these poems are included in this collection, along with Cligès, Yvain, and Perceval.

Altogether this excellent collection contains all five
Jun 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
It finally happened.

I finally got around to reading Chretien de Troyes' Arthurian romances.

Everyone has been telling me how delightful Chretien is, and I've always believed them. I believe them even more now.

Read my detailed review now at Vintage Novels!
Jan 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
I decided that the first book on my challenge this year was going to be one that I have been working on for like... three years. It's been brutal, you guys, I hate it. Chretien was such a misogynist. At one point this guy complains that women are all afraid to give in to their passions, so you HAVE to rape them, because even when they really want it (and they ALWAYS really want it) they'll always kick and scream and say no, and then, when you go through all that trouble they don't even thank you ...more
Simon Mcleish
Originally published on my blog here in March 1998.

This Everyman volume contains the four romances Erec et Enide, Cligés, Yvain and Lancelot, translated into prose. It's always interesting to read the early source material for the Arthur legends. Although I had read both the Mabinogion and Malory's Morte d'Arthur, these romances were new to me, though they are even earlier than the Welsh legends and I had known their importance for ages.

One of the most interesting parts of these tales is the way
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Jun 12, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literature
The predecessors to the medieval romance (of which the Arthurian tales are probably the most famous) were the chansons de geste (songs of deeds), epic poetry written down in the 11th and early 12th centuries, though sung much earlier. Their subject was war, which was plentiful, and martial honor, which was perhaps less so. Things started to settle down a bit as monarchies consolidated power, and with the rise of court culture comes a literature that develops elaborate codes of chivalry and ...more
St Jerome
Probably a 3 1/2 stars...

'Chrétien, a poet at the court of the Count and Countess of Champagne, invented the courtly romance and is recognized as the greatest romance author. He wrote his Arthurian stories in the latter half of the 12th century, at the suggestion of Marie de Champagne.
Arthurian Romances includes five talesEric and Enide, Cliges, The Knight with the Lion, The Knight of the Cart, and The Story of the Grail.

'Reading through the Romances, I am particularly struck by their depiction
Chrétien de Troyes
Romans de la Table Ronde written in early French language from 1170 to about 1185
The stories of King Arthur and his Knights, five of these stories have survived the centuries and are assembled in this collection.
- Erec et Enide
- Cligès
- Le chevalier de la Charrette, the story of Lancelot
- Le Chevalier au Lion, the story of Yvain
- The Legend of the Graal, the story of Percival and Garvin
This is the book that defines the rules and laws by which the knight has to flourish and
Four stories from the world of King Arthur translated from the original 12th century French. I don't think I was in the right mood for tales of courtly love because the attitude towards and treatment of women mostly irritated me and spoiled my enjoyment of the adventure in the stories.
Nov 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, mythology
A prose translation with an introduction and footnotes, by William K. Kibler. I enjoyed them somewhat. The antiquated style, the endless repetition, the dry description and the meandering, random, red-herring plots that seemed to have been invented by Chrétien as he went along, were detrimental to absorbing and appreciating the stories fully. On the other hand, the dialogue was often witty and the character development good. Surprisingly, Chrétien wrote many strong women characters. The stories: ...more
Daniel Pecheur
Jul 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: myth-legend
I read Chretien de Troyes' famous Grail story of Perceval, which is the first story of the Grail legend. Unfortunately the work was unfinished so it's hard to look at the tale as a complete story. It was entertaining to read, certainly not great literature. Some parts are actually silly and laughable, which made it more interesting to read in light of having just read Cervantes' Don Quixote which mocks the genre of chivalry and knight's errant. Nevertheless it's got some good stuff in it, with ...more
Feb 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
At last I have discovered a literary world (besides Harry Potter) I would be more than content to live in. Knights who will fight to the death for their ladies, lions that are loyal companions, feasts to rival those of The Odyssey, what is not to like? Then there is that convenient truth about romances: they end happily. Unlike in realistic literature, I don't have to wonder whether the protagonist will live or die, or whether happily ever after is a possibility. This allows for a more relaxing, ...more
Fiona Robson
Jan 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This wasn't a quick read, but being mad about anything Arthurian, I enjoyed these early writings. Escpecially the one which, like Stephen Matthews, places the court of King Arthur, quite clearly in Carlisle, Cumbria! I also loved the connections to Brittany etc. too. I was a little disappointed with Parsifal, after it has been so bigged up by anyone conntected to grail-hunting, Rennes-le-Chateau etc. and thought it was a bit of a damp squib, but shall look forward to trying out the Wolfram von ...more
Jan 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Note: I only read one romance by Chretien de Troyes in this excellent Penguin edition and translation. It was "The Knight of the Cart," which was fantastically interesting and well told.
Demetrios Georgalas
Jan 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
love it ... a great book
Y O U should read it !
Jun 11, 2012 rated it liked it
I don't really like the "romances" cycle of the Arthurian literature, but i can accept it ^_^
T.R. Rankin
Sep 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I was 7 maybe 8 when I was over at my Grans house when I first saw it Excalibur. My Uncle J was sitting on the couch, completely engrossed in the story as I stormed in, threw my book bag on the ground complaining about the events of a second graders life. Realizing that my uncle neither responded or that he was paying attention to me. So I sat on the couch, arms crossed upset J didnt understand the gravity of the upcoming dance competition and I not having a routine set as yet.
Suddenly from the
Andrea Blythe
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
The verse written by 12th century poet Chrétien de Troyes represents the earliest of the Arturian romances as we recognize them today. These poems have been widely popular and have influenced the shape of every King Arthur and his knights tales that came after. This translation of these five tales puts the verse into prose format.

"Erec and Enide" follows the story of the two title characters, starting with Erec's adventures and eventual winning of Enide's hand, followed by Erec and Enide riding
Sarah Parker
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Oh god, I love Arthurian myths and legends! Have I said that already on here? Probably, but its still true.

This is a wonderful little edition with a really decent translation that doesnt take away from the poetry of the original stories. That remains, even though the difficulty of the original French has been taken away.

The only thing I would say, is that while the stories are in one order, there is a note in the inside cover saying that they should be read in a certain order if you want to
Mary Koepke
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It might be strange language and unusual story-telling at first but once you got into it, you truly enter a new world full of adventures, knights and, to my own surprise,quite a few heroines, saving the plot through their wit, rhetoric and survival skills!
Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
Read some of these in college for an Arthurian legend course, and I enjoyed them in that context, but they're not the making of fun pleasure reading. Maybe I'll try again someday if I want to make a study of Arthurian legend for fun, but I certainly don't now.
Sep 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A trip back into medieval romance with knights in shining armour, wise maidens and plenty of graphic violence.
Leila Jaafari
Sep 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I got to see a French perspective on British folk lore.
Ronald Light
May 29, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: classics
A collection of tedious narratives, whose only worth is an historical insight into the naive and insufferable attitudes of the time.
Jessica Morgenstern
Apr 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
All I can say is gorgeous, beautiful and amazing. I was enthralled by all the stories and would definitely reread!!
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Essays: Arthurian Romances: general comments 23 7 Jun 13, 2018 12:24AM  

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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

Other books in the series

Arthurian Romances (6 books)
  • Erec and Enide
  • Cligès
  • Yvain, or The Knight with the Lion
  • Lancelot: The Knight of the Cart
  • Perceval, or, The Story of the Grail

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