The romance begins with the marriage of Cligès's parents and continues with the clandestine, mutual love of their son and his uncle's bride, Fenice. Cligès and Fenice are finally united after executing a false-death plot aided by black magic.
With a thoroughness and clarity that will appeal to students and scholars of medieval literature, Cline's accessible translation effectively conveys the sparkle, pace, and intricate wordplay of Chrétien's love monologues, classic themes, and complex poetic devices. In addition, her introduction sheds new light on the transmission of British history and legend to the French court of Champagne. With themes that echo from the Tristan legend to Romeo and Juliet, Cligès is an exciting romance about young lovers who escape from an arranged match and find true love in marriage.
By remaining faithful to Chrétien's highly structured form, Cline preserves the pace, the pungency of proverbial expressions, and the work's poetical devices and word play in translating this archetypal tale of courtly love from Old French into modern English. Cline's introduction--containing a description of Arthur in history and literature, a discussion of courtly love, and an account of the continuations of the story of Lancelot and Guinevere--makes Lancelot an ideal classroom text.
Cline's translation, faithful to the highly synthetic, deliberately ornate nature of medieval French, follows Perceval from his home in Wales, through his rich and raucous adventures as a member of the fraternity of knights, to his climactic meeting with the Fisher King. Paralyzed by his first glimpse of the Grail, Perceval fails to save the ailing king. Distraught, the knight begins a new quest for the Grail, a journey on the road of penitence and faith. Perceval's venture, the true test of his knighthood, ends without conclusion; the death of author Chrétien de Troyes left unsaid and undetermined the success of Perceval's quest.