Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Marie De France; Lais

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Marie De France; Lais

Article excerpt

Marie de France; Lais, ed. (and trans.) Philippe Walter (Paris: Gallimard, zooo). 484 pp. ISBN 2-07-040543-5. F. Fr. 40.00.

This edition, published in the Folio Classique series, is clearly aimed at the student or general reader. The introduction covers such topics as the general nature of Marie's Lais, their combination of Breton source material with the ethos of the troubadour lyric, their presentation of various love situations, and their use of symbol. A more specific context for the Lais is provided at the end of the volume: a useful chronological list of political and literary or other cultural events during the period between i o66 and i zoo, a brief account of Marie's career, some comments on Anglo-Norman literature, and a discussion of the relationship between the narrative lai and the roman. Marie's popularity and influence are then illustrated from the passage which pays tribute to her in the Vie de saint Edmond. Philippe Walter also points out that despite the disappearance of the narrative lai in the course of the thirteenth century, Breton folklore still preserves popular songs which have some link with Marie's stories, and he quotes as proof part of the Breton tale of the Nightingale (Ann eostik), adding a translation of the complete song.

The text of Marie's Lais and the modern French translation are on facing pages. With minor modifications Walter reproduces the Ewert edition for the Old French text, acknowledging it to be the most faithful to the Harley MS. …

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