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Erec and Enide compilation - all lectures

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William Robins

Erec and Enide – Chretien de Troyes - Begins with Easter ends with Christmas day – crowned on Christmas day- Christian - Theme of ‘welcome back’ - Arthurian romance - a quest romance – knights go off on quests and then come back home (expectations of closure) - Romance mode – as talked about in 1 term – separation, endurance/trials, then reunion - Like Rama, Odysseus - erec and enide; Plays with these expectations of closure (of romance) Chretien - foundational – for literary – central place in development of literatures and occupy influential positions in emergence of traditions within larger European culture – like dante and Shakespeare - early European ^ - switch from studying ancient world to studying a cultural tradition that recognizably belong to as something we think of belonging to western European tradition - Europe – geographic designation but also cultural and political important designation - Cultural geography implied by “Europe/European” - Centuries after fall of Rome - Map of Roman Empire and Mediterranean – Rome; in centre is Mediterranean – main trade routes that linked diff parts of empire in 365 - In 800, roman empire no longer existed, 3 important cultural zones that emerged -> Arab influence (Islam), Byzantine Empire, Joined Arab-Byzantine rule, and other Christian areas - Develop own different cultural destinies – continued exchange - Yellow zone – other Christian areas = western Europe - France & Germany – now centre, no longer Mediterranean = shift of gravity - By 800 very different cultural geography - This shift in gravity (having cultural centre in France and Germany instead of Mediterranean)– several implications* o Instead of having sea to have main landscape as literary adventure, start to have forest of Arthurian romance – more like Rama with forest untamed o That classical sophisticated and civilized world (Roman) has merged with Germanic and Celtic tribes that surrounded – often said that the western European tradition is a blending of 2 diff inheritances – the classical and the biblical – but the classical and biblical has emerged since 400 but not same as European tradition = now have this new European culture that is bringing in the warrior culture of Germanic tribes to highly developed civilization of Rome (i.e. francs become French – merging of linguistic) o Closing of med sea – suddenly economy take fall – no longer any major trade routes and slave owning agricultural society falters when Rome falls – feudalism emerge; not until 12 century that start to have real revival of economy – emergence of vernacular works associated with aristocratic force = that is time of Chretien - One of first authors to emerge speaking to needs of this knightly class - *THREE ESTATES o Clerics – those who pray (priests) o Nobles – those who fight o Peasants – those who labour (merchants, everyone else) - Warrior society – loyal to their leader, rewarded by leader - Over the centuries – no longer roaming bands of warriors, the knights have become hereditary class and fixed geographically in castles – starts to be tamed to fit new situation by series of rules and etiquette and manners that emerges (courtliness) - In new fixed knightly situation – you can have very powerful warrior knight that is the vassal of the woman – how does knight behave towards this lady? – rules developed about courtly behavior and gender relations – chivalry blend with proper decorum among ladies in court - Chretien – gives us influential picture of courtliness* have important effect on generation of readers that took his work as exemplary for how knights ought to behave th - France during Chretien’s work ca1180 – very small, 12 century – beginning of nations, emerging as its own nation – very formative period in cultural geography of Europe th - Area of Champagne beside French kingdom – richest part of zone in 12 century – no longer trade along Mediterranean, all over land – where merchants come from all over to meet in Champagne (town of Troyes) – new economic drive making aristocratic class richer and more interested in courtly pursuits that provides patrons of literature that could support Chretien - Literature was controlled by church and in latin, but maria (countess of champagne) knew french – so vernacular culture – patron of Chretien - So Chretien from rich part of Europe, got important patrons - Erec Enide probably written for Henry the 2 – so had a lot of powerful patrons - Invented genre of Arthurian Romances** about king Arthur and his knights o Figure of King Arthur but also character that combine a lot of fairytale elements o Merges that theme of Arthur and kingship and atmosphere of magic with narrative plotline of romance and put it into verse form* o Invented/gave definitive shape: The Holy Grail, Lancelot and Guinevere - Started these stories; erec and enide – is first Arthurian romance* o Beginning; talks that he is Chretien de Troyes o Gets crowned king on Christmas Day - “Chretien, believing man should think and learn and teach others…” – literature should be moved by delight and instruction …”has found this lovely tale of adventure…” – use his god given talents …”tells of Erec, son of Luc…” – working with oral traditions but “by professional poets usually ruin” - Troubadours (a poet/write poetry down, disdained by Chretien) vs minstrels - Emergence of writing and oral tradition – becomes formative influence on subsequent writing – this transition – erec and enide – from oral performance associated with music to that of established writer of verse with courtly connections Conjointure The organization of potentially disparate materials into an orderly sequence…the subordination of easily multiplied episodes to a principle theme or pattern. “This lovely tale of adventure beautifully put together” (a very beautiful conjoining) “A story professional Poets usually ruin” (are in the habit of breaking into pieces and corrupting) - Providing a type of artistry, like what we saw of Homer – one of Homer’s great achievements too – pattern to contain all these diff episodes of Romance - ^ prologue - Then story begins, opens at King Arthur’s court who wants honor custom of the white stag – go into magical forest and hunts white stag - And whoever gets white stag gets to kiss most beautiful women in court - But says this won’t work – lady has knights, and left over ladies feel bad , but still do it bc Arthur’s demand - Comes back to court – departure and return ^ opening episode – Arthur captures white stag o Erec accompanies o Random knight walks around with dwarf and lady, and Guinevere wants to know what it is, sends lady, but whipped by dwarf o Erec goes and dwarf strikes erec with whip, and does not have armor so cannot challenge dwarf o Goes back and says has been shamed – culture of honor – - Defer custom of stag – which woman to kiss after hearing Guinevere’s story - Custom of the Stag initiated o hunt stage in Forest  the adventure of erec and the queen o kill stag and bring it to court - Custom of the Stag/Deferred - Now story has to continue focusing on Erec’s adventure - Erec goes to a castle – narrative at psychological level – and sees poor but honorable knight and believes will give him shelter o Guest host relationship – does offer him shelter even before Erec asks – knights treat each other with certain codes o Enters the house and meets man’s wife and daughter – beautiful daughter; not named but described – conventions for representing woman/people – innate qualities than physical qualities – hyperbolic style – “greatest knight ever…” “no one in the world has seen such loveliness before…” – focus on visual/magnificent and striking o Intertextuality illusion – Isodel – the daughter is more beautiful than her and also Intertextuality to Aeneid o Chretien – inserting himself in narrative “I can’t possibly…” not like Homer or Virgil o So everything is idealized in these romances - Hears why knight is poor, erec then asks why so many people gathered in castle – coming to see this custom of spiral hawk – have custom of stag now another custom o Sparrow hawk put in centre of city – which knight think their lady is most beautiful can go and take it away unless he is challenged by another o Knight he saw earlier w/ dwarf and lady – has taken it and no one have challenged it o So many people coming to see the spectacle – centre of knightly culture but no intention to challenge o Erec sees opportunity for revenge – challenge knight; “then erec said he wanted to claim that hawk…in daughter’s name…good sir let me tell you what my rank, son of Lac..” -> reveals his identity only now – Erec, son of Lac -> host can’t believe it – “easy to his host’s happiness” – if you have amazing reputation – gave daughter to him (come with privileges) o Whipped by dwarf was so shameful – his reputation, done in public – thus must garner it back o Knight here is so amazed with his reputation, willing to hand over daughter, but daughter although silent but happy - Next morning, arms himself in armor provided by host; the arming of knight is visual description of physical of male; important moment – describes man makes man in centre and beginning of exploits - 2 ways of describing male and women – different ways for representing them, but idea behind it is that man and woman can work together – gender - Other knight loses, sends him to King Arthur to tell him news of Erec’s win - Next day – marriage – gender being joined together, riding to King Arthur’s court – two hearts beating as one Jan 9 2013 - Conjunction – title: Erec and Enide; “and” = conjunction - Title referred to by Chretien in another work – sees Erec and Enide both as protagonists - In the prologue – only says “ill tell you story...of erec, son of Lac” – hierarchical relationship understanding – male dominant over female - But also a story where male and female are complementary and equally worthy - After introduction of enide, always focus on the two of them and their interrelationship - Different from previous epics – epic of Gilgamesh, odyssey, aeneid = all single male protagonists, even primarily with Rama – although closer to erec and enide = complementary relationship at stake
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