The Book of Lancelot: The Middle Dutch Lancelot Compilation and the Medieval Tradition of Narrative Cycles


The Book of Lancelot is a study of the highly intriguing Middle Dutch Lancelot Compilation, a collection of ten Arthurian verse romances, compiled around 1320. Although the compilation is one of the most important Middle Dutch works, and has important implications for Arthurian studies, it is not well-known outside the Low Countries. This monograph, the first full-length English study of the compilation, aims to bring it to a wider audience, analysing the Middle Dutch work and comparing it to French narrative cycles, Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, and Ulrich F etrer's Buch der Abenteuer. The book consists of five chapters. The introductory chapter deals with the study of cyclicity, the literary context of the Lancelot Compilation, and the manuscript tradition. In the following three chapters the ten romances are studied one by one. Each analysis consists of two parts: a description of the compiler's source and a survey of his interventions. In the fifth and last chapter the Lancelot Compilation is characterized as a narrative cycle and compared with French, English and German cycles. The monograph concludes with an attempt to describe the essence of the compilation. BART BESAMUSCA is Associate Professor in the Department of Dutch at Utrecht University.