Perceval: The Story of the Grail

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D.S. Brewer, Jan 1, 2006 - Literary Criticism - 334 pages
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Chrétien de Troyes' Perceval is the most important single Arthurian romance. It contains the very first mention of the mysterious grail, later to become the Holy Grail and the focal point of the spiritual quest of the knights of Arthur's court. Chrétien left the poem unfinished, but the extraordinary and intriguing theme of the Grail was too good to leave, and other poets continued and eventually completed it. This is the only English translation to include selections from the three continuations and from the work of Gerbert de Montreuil, making the romance a coherent whole, and following through Chrétien's essential theme of the making of a knight, in both worldly and spiritual terms. It is thus the most complete account available in English of the essential Arthurian romance, the origin of the Grail legend.

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About the author (2006)

Author of early Arthurian romances, Chrétien de Troyes was born in France around 1150. Little is known about this medieval writer. His poems cannot be dated, except to say that they were written sometime in the second half of the twelfth century. His most famous works include Erec; Cligès; Lancelot, ou Le Chevalier à la Charrette; Yvain, ou Le Chevalier au Lion; Perceval, ou Le Conte du Graal, and Guillaume d'Angleterre. He also composed a version of Tristan and Isolde. During his life, he enjoyed the patronage of Marie de Champagne, the daughter of Philip of Flanders and Eleanor of Aquitaine. Although it is not confirmed, it is believed that he died in Paris in 1190.

Nigel Bryant is head of drama at Marlborough College.

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