There and Back Again: The Middle English Breton Lays, a journey through uncertainties - Claire Vial - CNED - Format Physique et Numérique | PUF  

There and Back Again: The Middle English Breton Lays, a journey through uncertainties

There and Back Again: The Middle English Breton Lays, a journey through uncertainties
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They tell us about human beings that undertake journeys through the wilderness of heath and forests, the otherness of the fairy world, the oddities of human behaviour. They tell us about nature, friend and foe to man, sheltering and destructive, a place of exile and restoration, a place where one gets lost in the meanders of the human mind. They tell us about queens and paupers, faithless lovers and lovesick suitors, the generous and the wicked, the bold and the submissive. Deep down, they tell us about human nature: how it aspires to loyalty, delights in self-sacrifice but falls into the traps of rash promises, jealousy, and the thirst for fame.
They tell us about the Otherworld, complete with dragons, gem-paved castles, cruel kings and lascivious fairies, a world that is but a mirror of our own, so easy to enter but so hard to forget. Each is unique but they all pretend to spring from the strings of harper-kings. They descend from courtly romances written by a French lady, but rich London merchants loved to hear them told. Nameless copyists wrote them down in parchment and they have travelled though seven hundred years. They are the Breton lays in Middle English. They will take you there and back again, on a journey of poetic exploration.



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14.5 x 20 cm


Table des matières: 

Introduction: Everything is in the picture

Part I: A fine romance?
- “A lay, by any other name...”
- “The only way to give it life”
- Popular romances?

Part II: “Words, words, words”
- Versification: constraints and freedom
- Formulas: from padding to prolepsis
- A motif with a view
- Sentence and solace

Part III: Interpretations
Sir Degaré: a Perfect Patchwork
Le Freine: or The Silent Woman
Sir Launfal: or Mr Knight Goes to Town
- Sir Orfeo: Through the looking-glass, with a harp
- “And in my hand your trouthe plighten ye”: The Franklin’s Tale

Conclusion: The Road Goes Ever On



Autour de l'auteur

Autour de l'ouvrage: 

Claire Vial is a Senior Lecturer in English literature at the university of Paris 3. She is a specialist in 14th and 15th century English literature. She has published numerous articles on Chaucer, Malory, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, as well as medieval drama, the Middle English lyrics and the Middle English Breton lays.


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