Sunday, March 8, 2015

Yvain, the Knight of the Lion (1170) by Chr├ętien de Troyes

What a great story, this Burton Raffel translation is very readable. By not attempting to rhyme I believe that the story comes thru better. For the tops in English rhyming, try The Lady of the Lake by Sir Walter Scott

Classic love story with the reality of life and death at every corner. Yvain kicks ass on a local bully and gets that guys wife to fall in love with him. His childhood buddy (drinking buddy) Gawain, convinces him to on an adventure and that's when the marriage falls apart. Yvain really loves his wife and so goes mad when he looses her. He is restored to sanity when when a young maiden rubs a magic potion all over his body (always does it for me.) After numerous death defying adventures he is reunited with his wife.

The local reader and I were motivated to read Yvain because the GPPL Friends invited Peggy McCracken,

(Domna C. Stanton Collegiate Professor of French, Women’s Studies, and Comparative Literature
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor) to come speak to us about it; what a treat.


So this French Author is actually credited with being the founder of the Arthurian Romance and wrote 5 of them. He is credited with the initiating the accepted mythology surrounding King Arthur and his Knights. The 12th cent. is an amazing time.

Every country needs a history or Mythology for identification, this story reminds me of The Virginian, America needed a mythology and the cowboy is our Yvain! The two stories are dramatically similar.

My takeaway:

Luna gives Yvain good advice;
"But guard your tongue, keep it in control for violence and passion and impulse only cause trouble if you give them a chance, and I call that wicked and cowardly, not brave."

Later as she hides Yvain from his potential captors he reflects on the hiding place as a prison comparing it to being in love.

Now the night of the Lion (Yvain) is being pursued by many a maiden because of his renown as a great knight.
At this point Yvain decides that:
"Saying No wins no man fame, no more will I say No"

I once decided to try and stop saying No for just a single day, try it its not as easy as it sounds.