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Marie De France And The Learned Tradition

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Chapter Summary

Judging from the production of manuscripts in the northern areas, French vernacular literature burst on the scene in France, Flanders, and England in the mid-12th century. Chrétien's contemporary, Marie de France, composed her Lais in the second half of the 12th century, 12 short narratives in octosyllabic couplets ranging in length from just over 100 to something just under 1200 lines. Lanval is a lai long considered Celtic in origin. It is the same story as the anonymous Breton lai Graelent, though its setting in Arthur's court differs from that of Graelent, early considered the more primitive of the lais. It is becoming clear that Marie's work - as the other works attributed to her indicate - is deeply informed by her knowledge of Latin literature and that even the motifs that seem most closely tied to Breton motifs are reshaped into a Christian and classic philosophical context.

Keywords: Lais; Marie De France



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