Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Interlace Structure of the Third Part of the Prose 'Lancelot'

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Interlace Structure of the Third Part of the Prose 'Lancelot'

Article excerpt

Frank Brandsma, The Interlace Structure of the Third Part of the Prose 'Lancelot' (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2010). xxv + 278 pp. ISBN 978-1-84384-257-6. £60.00.

Frank Brandsma prefaces this volume with a foreword on his editorial conventions and his division of the texts that form the Prose Lancelot, for which he assigns the following names: Part ? - Enfances /Galeholt, Part 2 - Charrette, Part 3 - divided by number into subdivisions 1-4). He provides a useful and highly detailed thirteen-page plot summary of the Vulgate Cycle, with a particular focus on Part 3. In chapter ? (introduction), Brandsma presents an academic survey of prior research on interlace, setting out his purpose to examine what he considers to be a neglected part of the Cycle. Brandsma takes issue with previous scholars who have dismissed the events of Lancelot 3 as repetitive and monotonous, and believes that it is here that the interlace is most developed and, indeed, dominates the narrative. Chapter 2 discusses interlace as a narrative technique. Brandsma explores the idea of 'source fiction' implicating a text's innate trustworthiness, when events are narrated by the protagonists to other characters after an adventure has been completed. Brandsma methodically analyses all the narrative threads of Part 3, providing more richly detailed plot summaries, which should make this book particularly accessible to undergraduate students and scholars unfamiliar with the text. The chapter concludes by querying what message these narrative strategies convey, which leads into chapter 3 on interlace and the themes of Lancelot Part 3.

Brandsma identifies three dominant thematic Unes: Status (which has evolved out of the category that Elspeth Kennedy called Identity in her study of Lancelot i), Love, and the Grail. 'Status' deals with the hierarchy of the Arthurian knights, constructed via a system of ranking based upon which knights triumph over others through the series of adventures documented by the many interlaced narratives. …

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