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The Wound, The Knot, And The Book: Marie De France And Literary Traditions Of Love In The Lais

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Chapter Summary

Guigemar, the initial tale in the Harley manuscript, is a tale of sexual initiation that sets the stage for the stories to follow, establishing the narrator's themes and approaches and opening a set of questions about the characters' private desires and social obligations. If adulterous lovers find lasting "joie" in Guigemar, their passion leads to self-destruction in Equitan, a brief lai that turns the conventions of reciprocal love and fairy-tale endings upside down. In Lanval, Marie de France ventures into the world of Arthurian legend, which first inspired courtly fictions at about the time that Marie composed her Lais. Bisclavret, one of three lais that focus on marriage, presents a dark portrait of marital incompatibility and an intriguing twist on the conventional courtly love story.

Keywords: Bisclavret; Guigemar; Lais; Marie De France



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