Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Lectures D'une Auvre: Le Conte Du Graal De Chretien De Troyes: Matiere, Sen et Conjointure

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Lectures D'une Auvre: Le Conte Du Graal De Chretien De Troyes: Matiere, Sen et Conjointure

Article excerpt

Catherine Blons-Pierre, Lectures d'une auvre: le Conte du Graal de Chretien de Troyes: matiere, sen et conjointure (Paris: Editions du Temps, 1998). 190 pp. ISBN 2-84274-047-5. F. Fr. 90.00.

This volume has been prepared principally with the needs of agregation students in mind. Accordingly Catherine Blons-Pierre does not attempt a fresh reading of Chretien's last romance, but concentrates on certain aspects of it, based on a close reading of the text, raising issues which would be useful for examination candidates to reflect on. There are in fact moments when her approach is reminiscent of the explication de texte, as ideas are put forward and techniques employed which an alert candidate could apply elsewhere. Narrative structures are looked at first, in particular the relationship between the Perceval and Gauvain sections. She reviews briefly the various critical interpretations of this relationship before comparing the two parts of the poem at the level of episode, pointing to parallels of situation, and examining the use of recalls, anticipations, and unresolved issues within the narratives of the two protagonists. This leads to the question whether the prologue can provide any authorial hint of the intended meaning of the work. Again, differing critical views are explained, and the prologue is considered in relation to those in Chretien's other romances. She turns next to the implications of the manner in which characters are addressed in dialogue or referred to by the narrator at different moments in the text, discussing particularly the issue of Perceval's self-nomination and critical reactions to it. Next comes the description of objects in the text which serve some symbolic or dramatic function, such as the cloaks proffered to Perceval and Gauvain at various locations on their travels, the sword given to Perceval at the Grail Castle, the bleeding lance, and the Grail itself. …

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