Chrétien de Troyes

(fl. 1160—1185) French poet

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(fl. 1170–90),

regarded as the greatest of the writers of courtly romances (see Courtly Love), which he wrote in French. Four complete romances survive, all written in octosyllabic rhyming couplets: Erec and Enide (c.1170); Cligés (c.1176); Yvain (c. 1177–81); and Lancelot, or Le Chevalier de la Charrette (c. 1177–81): the last 1,000 lines of the latter were written by Godefroy de Lagny. He left incomplete the lengthy Perceval, or Le Conte de Graal (1181–90). He lived and worked for some time at the court of Marie de Champagne, but little else of his life is known. His influence on all subsequent Arthurian literature, including English, is general rather than particular, but the English romance Iwain and Gawain is a loose translation of his Yvain.

Subjects: Literature.

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