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Lecture Notes by Linda A. Malcor

The Romance Tradition: Folklore 113

Thursday, February 6, 1986

I. The pre-Chrétien Tradition

Def. of Breton "Lai"

Controversy over Biketās Lai du Cor (humorous): not solemn, elevated.

A. p. 105: Mangon of Moraine sends the horn to Arthur. Amangon as Grail king or brother of Grail King in Continental tradition.

B. pp. 108-9: Chastity test. Lai du Cor interesting since men try object instead of women. Note similarity of description of Caradoc to Lancelot. Lancelot's wife, Iblis or Elaine, consistently passes this test. Winner of test keeps horn/robe, just as winner of Grail Quest keeps Grail.

C. Knew Wace.

II. Chrétien, Father of the Arthurian tradition.

A. Distribute handout.

B. Rape of Guinevere in Arthurian tradition.

1. Someone carries off Guinevere (usually abductor's name starts with "m").

a. abduction
b. rescue by Gawain and other knight
c. return to Arthur.

2. Melegrant in most Continental variants.

  1. Introduction of Lancelot (few mentions before Chrétien) called Lancelot but his name was Galahad. Lancelot as a title. Mabinogi: Culhwch: Llanlleawc.

1. Always introduced as anonymous.

2. Acquires a name in the course of adventures (Knight of the Cart).

3. Special friendship with Gawain.

4. Introduction of Lady of the Lake (p. 111)

5. Lancelot, not Gawain, rescues Guinevere

6. Chrétien establishes Lancleot as the lover of Guinevere. Lanzelet. Although Guinevere has had lovers before (e.g., Mordred in Wace), Lancelot sticks. Courtly love.

7. Lancelot the prisoner.

a. Damsel rescues Lancelot (Hag, virgin, or child).

b. Lancelot firmly in Arthurian tradition.


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