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

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

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

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

Synopsis

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.

Excerpt

My interest in the formation of narrative cycles dates from 1992 when, together with a number of Dutch colleagues, I organised an international colloquium in Amsterdam on the development of narrative cycles in chansons de geste and Arthurian romances. Since that time I have been working — with long interruptions — on this book. I wished to show that in any study of medieval Arthurian romance, compilations or cycle formation the Middle Dutch Lancelot Compilation deserves to play a prominent part.

Over the past few years my colleagues at Utrecht University, Frank Brandsma, Marjolein Hogenbirk and Erwin Mantingh, have read earlier versions of chapters of this book. I have benefited from their critical comments, and am grateful for their help and their friendship.

This book was written in Dutch. The generosity of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) made translation into English possible. It was pleasing to find the Organisation's implicit confidence in the book's value expressed in this way. Working in collaboration with Thea Summerfield, who translated my book, was a great privilege.

Both the publishers and myself would also like to thank the trustees of the Vinaver fund for their generosity in making a grant available for the publication of this book.

It is not, I expect, surprising that, being a medievalist with an obvious interest in Arthurian literature, I have long fostered hopes of one day publishing a monograph with Boydell & Brewer. I am greatly pleased that that wish will now be fulfilled. I was gratified to find my contact at the publishers, Caroline Palmer, ever patient and warm-hearted. Finally I should like to thank Norris Lacy for his willingness to include my book in the Arthurian Studies series.

Editorial Note

For all quotations from the Lancelot Compilation in this book the only available complete edition by W. J. A. Jonckbloet was used (Roman van Lancelot 1846—9). Roman numerals indicate a particular book in the compilation (II, III or IV), Arabic numerals refer to line numbers. Where necessary, punctuation, printing and reading errors have been silently amended. If a romance is also available in a more recent edition, a reference to that edition is given in the notes. It concerns the following publications:

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.