Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Perceforest: The Prehistory of King Arthur's Britain

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Perceforest: The Prehistory of King Arthur's Britain

Article excerpt

Perceforest: The Prehistory of King Arthur's Britain, trans. Nigel Bryant, Arthurian Studies (Cambridge: D. S. Brewer, 2011). xxiii + 791 pp.; 6 black-and-white illustrations. ISBN 978-1-84384-262-0. £60.00. An English translation of the fascinating, but little known, Roman de Perceforest is a welcome contribution that should help make this text more accessible both to undergraduates, and to medievalists from fields outside French studies. Nigel Bryant provides a brief but useful introduction tracing important themes of the text along with a lively and highly readable English rendition. The most important, indeed essential, caveat here is that the translation does not reproduce the entire text, but is a significant abridgement Some episodes as well as shorter passages and individual sentences are translated verbatim, while others are condensed into short summaries. Bryant's use of quotation marks enables the reader to distinguish between translation and paraphrase, and there may be justification for abridging a text as long as Perceforest, embedding the translated episodes in a comprehensive summary does at least allow the reader to appreciate these episodes in their larger context, which would not have been the case if Bryant had selected a series of episodes for translation and let it go at that. …

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