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Marie De France's Eliduc: the Play of Aventure

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This work proposes that for Eliduc, the culminating statement of her Lais, Marie de France selected a metaphor which was then new to Christianity: the game of chess. Eliduc is a "chess morality," marking the transition between the Muslim game and its varieties in western Europe. Like its Muslim ancestor, but explicating a central Christian text, it teaches philosophical consideration of human life in this world. This paper demonstrates the correspondences between the story of Eliduc and the twelfth century game of chess-its ancestry, objectives, strategies, and equipment, and then describes the game, as it proceeds, of the adult lives of three people.


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