Academic journal article Medium Aevum

La Suite Du Roman De Merlin

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

La Suite Du Roman De Merlin

Article excerpt

La Suite du roman de Merlin, ed. Gilles Roussineau, Textes Litteraires Fran*ais 472,2 vols (Geneva: Droz, 1996). cxlvi + 806 pp.; 5 plates. ISBN 2-60000163-8. Sw. Fr. 132.60.

This edition of the Suite du Merlin that does not form an integral part of the full Lancelot-Grail or Vulgate cycle is a welcome replacement for the SATF edition by Gaston Paris and J. Ulrich, now outdated by more recent research; it includes the adventures of Gauvain, Yvain, and the Morholt, not to be found in the manuscript used by Paris and published separately by H. O. Sommer. The introduction provides a useful analysis of the text and sets it within the context of thirteenth-century prose romance, identifying the elements which prepare the way for future events, mainly with reference to the Vulgate cycle. Giles Roussineau shows a certain reluctance to accept as totally proven the existence in the thirteenth century of a complete Post-Vulgate cycle as argued by Fanni Bogdanow. However, he does suggest that even if it is not absolutely certain that such a cycle was ever written in its entirety, the Suite du Merlin itself contained enough predictions and unfinished adventures to stir the imagination of continuators yet to come and to leave the field open for remaniements and interpolations. In spite of the somewhat dismissive attitude of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century scholars towards the work, the Suite is a rich and powerful romance directed towards the explanation of the tragic destiny of Arthur and the kingdom of Logres. The recurring pattern of the involuntary sin, the fatal adventure, mescheance, in relation, for example, to a character such as Balain and indeed to Arthur himself, gives a coherence to the work in spite of the multiplication of adventures. …

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