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Arthurian Romances

(Arthurian Romances)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  8,175 ratings  ·  188 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 ques ...more
Paperback, 521 pages
Published January 31st 1991 by Penguin Classics (first published 1181)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,175 ratings  ·  188 reviews


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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.
Annette
Jan 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arthuriana
Have I ever told you that I have a HUGE obsession for Arthurian legends? Well, I'll tell you now :P
Chretien de Troyes works are so witty, extremely modern and romantic!
My favourite is -of course- Lancelot du lac ou le Chevalier de la Charrette... motivations?
1- This is the first novel EVER that has Lancelot as the main character. Infact, Chretien is actually Lancelot's "dad"...
2- It's fun! Lancelot looks so silly!
3- It's romantic! Lancelot&Guinevere are so in love...they're just...<3
4- Adventure
...more
Amanda Hupe
The Arthurian Romances by Chretien de Troyes. Troyes is a famous French poet known for his Arthurian work. One of the reasons I combined this review is because some of his works are also in the Arthurian Legends collection above. Anyway. The edition I have contains the stories of Eric and Enide, Cliges, Lancelot, Yvain, and Perceval. I love the stories of Erec and Enide. It is full of the chivalry concept that you think of when reading anything about King Arthur. Then there is Perceval and his s ...more
Inkspill
Aug 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: myth-king-arthur
I came across this one in my background reading of The Death of King Arthur . I knew these tales have left a huge impression as King Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere, Merlin and Sir Gawain are still part of our literary culture, but I never would have guessed its complex journey of going back and forth between two nations, England and France, leaving a mark on both.

The original is written in Old French poetry. This modern prose translation was not as tough to read as I had feared, but my bigger worry
...more
Luís
I really can't say enough in praise of this beautiful book. Each poem 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 more profound than merely telling cracking yarns. Each is sensitive and intelligent explorations of human nature.

Marital love is ever an essential theme in Chretien. In Erec and Enide, the hero neglects his knightly reputation to devote himself to his new bride, and in Yvain, the hero
...more
Faye
Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Read: June 2010

The stories in this book were written in the 1100s and are a translation from French. There are five stories altogether and some are better than others. They are all to do with knights from King Arthur's court.
The five stories are: Erec and Enide, Cliges, Lancelot, Yvain and Perceval.

Erec and Enide - parts of this story read like a fairy tale but de Troyes' overly descriptive and flowery language overpower the plot. He detours from the plot to spend a page describing a dress, or t
...more
Joe
From William W. Kibler’s introduction the 1991 Penguin Classics edition of Chrétien de Troye’s Arthurian Romances:

“Certainly no translation can hope to capture all the subtlety and magic of Chrétien’s 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 plagi
...more
Nicky
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 g ...more
Greg Lico
Mar 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
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
...more
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
...more
Ian Slater
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arthuriana
This is the old, and obsolete, W.W. Comfort prose translation from the early twentieth century: he offered FOUR Arthurian romances by Chretien de Troyes, excluding the fifth, Perceval. Since they are out of copyright, these translations are now being reprinted, complete or one at a time. They are usually available very cheaply -- I suggest getting all four in one file, like this one, if you are interested, and can't afford the modern translations. ...more
Suzannah
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!
...more
Becky
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
...more
Richard
In university, I was once so fascinated by the Arthurian romances of Chretien de Troyes that I considered a career as a medievalist. Here we find the element of the marvellous, some exciting descriptions of jousting and fighting, psychological depth, comedy, and of course the exaltation of love.

The translation of the poetry into more modern French prose makes the four stories in this collection quite readable. However two of the stories have been greatly abridged and this is my most serious obje
...more
Andrea
Apr 10, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, audiobook
I had to read Erec as part of my studies in Middle High German (please don't ask me how learning to translate Old and Middle High German into "normal" German was essential to studying it, I still don't know). So when I saw this English translation read by the brilliant Nicholas Boulton, I thought meh. Why not. 17 hours listening to the man is time well spent. But sadly, even the great narration didn't make up for the sheer mind-numbing boredom I felt.

narration: 4 stars
story: 2 "not my thing" st
...more
amelia
Mar 01, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars
Ryan
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 court ...more
Amelia
How can you possibly review a collection of stories which are more than 800 years old and which were a huge influence on Arthurian legend as a whole?

You can't. I think ratings and reviews should compare books to others within the same general area. There would be no point comparing an ancient Greek play, a biography, a YA vampire novel, an academic study and so on to each other because they aren't comparable. I've decided to give Four Arthurian Romances a rating of four stars on this basis. Held
...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 tales–‘Eric 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 th
...more
Markus
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 ga
...more
Lauren
Jan 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If you have any interest in chivalry, Arthurian legends, or Medieval texts, this book is a must have. Few people realize that so many of our cherished values and tales spawn from the rules of love and etiquette that Chretien de Troyes encoded in his writing. Ironically, his least favorite work became his best known--that of Lancelot. Eric and Enide, on the other hand, is singularly unique for its era: both the man and the woman function as main characters as they journey together towards a deep ...more
Ian Slater
May 25, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: arthuriana
This is the old, and obsolete, W.W. Comfort prose translation from the early twentieth century: he offered FOUR Arthurian romances by Chretien de Troyes, excluding the fifth, Perceval. Since they are out of copyright, these translations are now being reprinted, complete or one at a time. They are usually available very cheaply -- I suggest getting all four in one file, like this one, if you are interested, and can't afford the modern translations. ...more
Jo
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. ...more
inka
Oct 08, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
lmao bunches of simp
Ensiform
Nov 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: mythology, fiction
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 t ...more
Cherylann
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
CB
Aug 16, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Every now and again I pick up Chretien. As outrageous and totally preposterous as the characters are, I am often reminded that people don't change. They are just ridiculous today as they were in the 12th century. I mean, look at our politicians. At least back then they had manners, and swords. While "The Knight in the Cart" is probably my favorite, this time I decided to read "The Knight with the Lion." It's not quite as dynamic as the Cart, but definitely gets better as it goes and ends quite w ...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 E ...more
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Essays: Arthurian Romances: general comments 23 8 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 poet ...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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