'Hungrie Shadows': Pierre Sala and His Yvain

By Taylor, Jane H. M. | Arthuriana, April 1, 2009 | Go to article overview

'Hungrie Shadows': Pierre Sala and His Yvain


Taylor, Jane H. M., Arthuriana


Pierre Sala's intralingual translation of Chrétien's Yvain (1520) inflects the source text not simply linguistically but also ideologically, to chime with the tastes and preferences of his sixteenth-century readers. (JHMT)

Pierre Sala has never had a particularly good press: this unscrupulous plagiarist, it used to be said, copied Chrétien's Yvain more or less verbatim, with only a scattering of meschans vers de sa façon [wretched verses of his own composition].1 This is all the sadder in that Pierre Sala's Yvain-or more precisely, to use his own title, Le Chevalier au Lion-completed in about 1522, is the work of an enthusiast,2 what would later3 be called an 'antiquarian.' Yvain is not his only Arthurian adaptation: he also translated or adapted a version of the Tristan legend, Le Roman de Tristan de Leonnois et de la belle Reine Yseulte;4 he compiled a volume of Antiquitez de Lyon, and another devoted to the Hardiesses de plusieurs roys et empereurs;5 he collected antiquities, sedulously, and built himself what amounted to a small medieval château, l'Antiquaille, in Lyon. True, more recent critics have been kinder: François Suard uncovered a preamble where Pierre makes his debt to Chrétien perfectly clear,6 and the text's recent editor, Pierre Servet, salutes the Renaissance Yvain as presenting at the very least a réécriture 'fût-elle de moindre envergure que celle du maÎtre' [even if of less merit than his master's].'7

What I intend in this paper is not rehabilitation, on aesthetic or translational grounds: Servet's excellent edition, and especially its long and very full introduction, has done much to show just how Pierre Sala's translation, which seems at first sight so close as to be often slavish, in fact cuts, extends, and rewrites the original, in the interests of simplification, narrative logic, clarity, vraisemblance. This paper argues, however, that there is an important additional dimension, an ideological component, to his proceedings (something Servet touches on, but does not elaborate). What I say will be based in the first instance on Pierre Sala's 'translation' of Kay (Keu), one of whose interventions he subjects to a number of what could seem to be minor cuts and simple abridgments, unremarkable tricks of style;8 I then move on to two other crucial rewritings, the first recounting the remarkable change of heart that brings Laudine to accept Yvain as her husband, the second the scene where Gauvain unscrupulously persuades a suspiciously willing Yvain that for the sake of his reputation he must leave the wife he has just married and pursue chivalric renown. I suggest that the translational moves in these three sections of the text, many of which seem quite minor, amount in fact to a process characteristic of late-medieval and Renaissance romance adaptation and intralingual translation:9 a process of what I have elsewhere called 'textual management,'10 whereby the social language of romance-myths, legends, rituals, symbols, stock characters, topoi-is appropriated, as a rhetorical and ideological enterprise, to affirm the nostalgic values assigned to Arthurian romance. Translation, of course, is always a hermeneutic enterprise, a process of reception and appropriation, however little this is expressed and however little conscious it is11-and Pierre Sala, contrary to appearances, has a complex, dialectical relationship with his source text, and no doubt too with his target audience,12 one that may allow us privileged insights into socio-cultural phenomena in his own, the target, culture.

Let me start, then, with an episode whose editorial moves, in the transition from twelfth- to sixteenth-century verse, will, I hope, begin to show precisely how revealing are the text-management processes deployed by Pierre: a sour little commentary from Kay to be found in the opening episode of Chrétien's Yvain. The reader will remember that, having heard about Calogrenant's debacle at the Fountain in the Forest of Broceliande, Yvain, with a sort of grandiloquent verbal fanfare, had sworn to salvage his cousin's honor.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

'Hungrie Shadows': Pierre Sala and His Yvain
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.