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Cultures courtoises en mouvement

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Isabelle Arseneau
, 
Francis Gingras

Discours et contre-discours de la courtoisie

The Courting and Un-Courting of Tristan and Lancelot

Janina P. Traxler

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The stories of Lancelot and Tristan have perennially generated debate about whether one or both characters exemplifies courtly love or mere sin, about how well they manage the demands of courtliness and chivalry, or about how much they resemble each other. Initially, Lancelot’s story did not include Tristan’s, but after the twelfth century, Tristan’s story clearly included Lancelot’s. Judging from the thirteenth-century Prose Tristan and the fourteenth-century Tavola Ritonda, two of the most influential prose Tristan romances, when the Arthurian world “courts” Tristan – integrates him into Arthur’s circle – it also “uncourts” Lancelot – displaces him to focus more glowingly on Tristan. This transformation obviously affects narrative. Indeed, Emmanuèle Baumgartner argues that the narrative changes actually overwhelm Tristan.1 But the shifts also affect style, as the lyricism and intellectual refinement –the courtliness– of the twelfth-century poems give way to businesslike (and most ...

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Manchester College

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