The Depiction of Grief in Selected Works of Medieval French Verse Narrative From "La Vie de Saint Alexis" to "Le Conte du Graal," With Special Reference to the Romances of Chretien De Troyes

Lloyd, Heather (1986) The Depiction of Grief in Selected Works of Medieval French Verse Narrative From "La Vie de Saint Alexis" to "Le Conte du Graal," With Special Reference to the Romances of Chretien De Troyes. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 10991707.pdf] PDF
Download (10MB)


This thesis sets out to explore the ways in which grief is depicted, and the uses to which such depictions are put, in selected works of early French verse narrative from La Vie de Saint Alexis to Le Conte du Graal, with the purpose of highlighting Chretien de Troyes' practice in that area. The Introduction outlines the limits of the study, expLains the grounds for selecting the works studied and briefly justifies the organisation of each chapter. The first three chapters are intended to build up a picture of the conventions of grief-depiction in the works of Chretien de Troyes' predecessors. Chapter One is a stylistic analysis of the two episodes in La Vie de Saint Alexis in which the grief of Alexis' family is depicted, firstly the episode in which they grieve at his flight, and secondly the episode in which they lament his death. The discussion of the first episode is followed by an extended comparison with relevant sections of the twelfth-century interpolated version S. (S incorporates the second grief-episode in its original form so there is no scope for further comparison). Some reference is made throughout the chapter to the influence of the Latin Vita on which the Vie is based. Chapter Two considers some aspects of grief in epic: the causes of grief, the manifestations of grief and the range of characters to whom grief is attributed. Formulaic conventions and recurrent motifs are noted throughout. The chapter is based on material gathered from fourteen epics: Aliscans. La Chanson de GuilLaume, La Chanson de RoLand, La Charroi de Nimes. La Chevalerle Vivien. Le Couronnement de Louis, Garin le Loheren, Gormont et Isembart. Guibert d'Andrenas Le Moniage Guillaume, La Prise de Cordres et de Sebille, La Prise d'Orange, Raoul de Cambrai, and Le Voyage de Charlemagne. The use of the planctus motif as a focus of interest in scenes of mourning for fallen warriors is discussed, along with other forms of grief, and the conclusion is reached that, with the notable exception of a limited number of elaborated scenes of mourning, depictions of grief, though frequent, are not accorded a privileged place in epic. Chapter Three deals with grief in the romans antiques. The topic is approached under two wide headings, the grief (individual and collective) of women in Le roman de Thebes and Le roman de Troie. and the mourning of warriors, in particular in Le roman de Thebes and Eneas. Discussion of Thebes and Eneas includes comparisons with their Latin antecedents. Depictions of grief are seen to be rich sources of affectivity in the romans antiaues, but for the most part functioning as rhetorical embellishment. Chapters Four to Eight are devoted in turn to each of the five romances of Chretien de Troyes, Erec et Enide. Cliges, Le Chevalier de La charrete. Le Chevalier au lion and Le Conte du Graal. Episodes in which grief plays an important role in the individual romances are isolated and analysed, and themes involving the depiction of grief are traced. Particular attention is paid to Chretien's handling of conventional motifs. The role of irony emerges as an important factor. Grief depictions are seen to have a functional role in the plot of each romance and, with the possible exception of Chevalier de la charette. to be connected with the central issues in each case. The Conclusion is a brief summing-up, bringing together references to those features of grief depiction which are most recurrent in Chretien's romances, and presenting a final assessment of the way in which he differs from his predecessors in his handling of the topic of grief.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Medieval literature, French literature
Date of Award: 1986
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1986-77335
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Jan 2020 09:11
Last Modified: 14 Jan 2020 09:11

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year