Story line and story shape in <i>Sir Percyvell of Gales</i> and Chrétien de Troyes's <i>Conte du Graal</i>

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in Pulp Fictions of Medieval England

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print July 2004 | ISBN: 9780719063183
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781700563 | DOI:
Story line and story shape in Sir Percyvell of Gales and Chrétien de Troyes's Conte du Graal

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The romance of Sir Percyvell of Gales was probably composed in the north of England early in the fourteenth century but obviously enjoyed widespread popularity in medieval England. This chapter notes that the Percyvell-poet is a master of the proairetic code: he is clear about where the story is going, and makes sure that we are clear about it too. In the fourteenth century, however, Percyvell owed most of its popularity not to being read, but to being told and re-told, possibly from memory. The discussion of the poet's reshaping of his source is in two sections. The first deals with the Percyvell-poet's ‘unscrambling’ of Chretien's plot, and considers how this affects the mood of the story. The second deals with the poet's happy ending and asks what makes it, in all senses of the word, fulfilling.

Keywords: Percyvell-poet; medieval England; Chretien's plot; proairetic code

Chapter.  10307 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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