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Marie De France And The Anonymous Lays

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Chapter Summary

Of the approximately 35 Old French narrative lays that have survived, it is generally agreed that the 12 found in London, British Library, Harley 978 can be grouped together as the Lais of Marie de France. In order to assess whether there are any marked differences between Marie's lays and the 11 anonymous lays, this chapter examines the 23 poems from the point of view of (i) their prologues and epilogues, (ii) the male characters and the theme of chivalry, (iii) the female characters and the theme of love, (iv) the supernatural or merveilleux element, and (v) the objects and symbols they contain. One difference between the two groups is that Marie on the whole is more interested than the anonymous authors in the processes of love and what goes on in the lovers' minds, even in what we might call the psychology of love.

Keywords: anonymous lays; Lais; Marie De France



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