In "Arthurian Romances," Chrétien de Troyes takes the legends surrounding King Arthur and weaves in new psychological elements of personal desire and courtly manner to fashion a new form of medieval Romance. "The Knight of the Cart" is the first telling of the adulterous relationship between Lancelot and Arthur's Queen Guinevere, while in "The Knight with the Lion" Yvain neglects his bride in his quest for greater glory. Erec and Enide explores a knight's conflict between love and honor, Cliges exalts the possibility of pure love outside marriage, while the haunting "Story of the Grail" chronicles the legendary quest. Rich in symbolism, the evocative talks in "Arthurian Romances" combine closely observed detail with fantastic adventure to create a compelling world that is the basis of the Arthurian legends we know today.
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An idyllically happy marriage in which a husband is so involved that he neglects his duties as a knight; love endangered by husband who is more interested in athletic chivalry than his wife; timorous young love; and adulterous passion--together these stories offer the most complete expression we possess from a single author of the ideals of French chivalry and of courtly love.
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