Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Story of the Grail (Li Contes del Graal), or Perceval

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Story of the Grail (Li Contes del Graal), or Perceval

Article excerpt

Chretien de Troyes, The Story of the Grail (Li Contes del Graal), or Perceval, ed. Rupert 'Γ. Pickens, trans. William W. Kibler, Garland Library of Medieval Literature, A 62 (New York and London: Garland, 1990). 1 + 514 pp.; 5 plates. ISBN 0-82-404199-8· S70.00. The short introduction provides useful background information to this fascinating text and draws attention to its richness and complexity and to the impossibility of explaining away its mysteries or finding easy answers to the problems which it poses. The complicated textual tradition is carefully examined, and the choice of A (Paris, Bibliothèque Nationale, MS f. fr. 794), the Guiot manuscript (a 'reliable' if sometimes idiosyncratic member of the group giving what is here designated the Alpha version) is explained. The editor considers that only members of this particular group consistently and explicitly display a respect for Chrétien's poem as distinguished from the work of his continuators. His declared aim is 'to attempt a retrieval of the Alpha exemplar - rather than to hope to approximate Chrétien's own copy prepared for publication - on the basis of that well known (Guiot) manuscript,' and the principles on which this attempt at retrieval is founded are set out. …

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