Medieval French Courtly Romance

David Petrosky, Medieval French Courtly Romance, Spring 2017

Course Description:

The second half of the twelfth century was a time of significant change in the literary landscape of Western Europe. The epic poetry of the Chansons de Geste were still enjoyed at the courts of certain powerful barons, as well as in taverns and inns along the pilgrimage routes of Europe. Yet among the aristocratic elite, there developed a new aesthetic and refinement that led them to seek less crude and poignant forms of entertainment. The outcome was the literary genre known as courtly romance. We will study examples of this genre written during the years from roughly 1160 to 1250. This is a genre marked by several themes: fidelity to passion, insurmountable love, the Supernatural, and exploits requiring great risk and prowess. These tales were told at courts where a new code of chivalry and of love influenced the relationships among the aristocratic elite. Based on the idea of risk and reward, it is a relationship characterized by an absolute devotion and obedience to the object of the knights passion, in the hope of obtaining the ultimate reward—the reciprocation of his love.

Required Materials:

- The Lais de Marie de France. Trans. and Edits. Glyn S. Burgess and Keith Busby. London: Penguin Books. 2003
- Chrétien de Troyes: Arthurian Romances. Trans. William Kibler and Carleton W. Carroll (Erec and Enide). London: Penguin Books. 2004. Print.
- Bédier, Joseph. The Romance of Tristan and Iseult. Trans. H. Belloc. Lexington: Renaissance Classics. 2012. Print
- Aucassin and Nicolette. Trans. Robert S. Sturges. East Lansing: Michigan State University:Press. 2015. Print.
- "Châtelaine de Vergi". Photocopy to be distributed in class.

David Petrosky, Medieval French Courtly Romance, Fall 2015

Course Description:

This course, taught in English and offered infrequently, will treat some aspect of French literature.

Required Texts:

The Lais de Marie de France. Trans. and Edits. Glyn S. Burgess and Keith Busby. London: Penguin Books. 2003

Chrétien de Troyes: Arthurian Romances. Trans. William Kibler and Carleton W. Carroll (Erec and Enide). London: Penguin Books. 2004. Print.

Bédier, Joseph. The Romance of Tristan and Iseult. Trans. H. Belloc. Lexington: Renaissance Classics. 2012. Print

Aucassin and Nicolette. Trans. Robert S. Sturges. East Lansing: Michigan State University :Press. 2015. Print.

"Châtelaine de Vergi".

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