Comparison of “Geraint son of Erbin” and “Erec et Enide” — 24th September

Readings:

  • Geraint son of Erbin, tr. Sioned Davies (Oxford, 2007), pp. 139-157 and 175-178
  • Chrétien de Troyes’ Arthurian Romances, “Erec et Enide”, tr. Carleton W. Carroll (London, 2004), pp. 37-67 (vv.1-2429) and 103-122 (vv.5319-6878)

The story can be divided into five parts but only the following four will be discussed:

  • I. Meeting of Geraint/Erec and Enid(e) (Geraint pp. 139-149; Erec pp. 37-55, vv. 1-1409)
  • II. Wedding of Geraint/Erec and Enid(e) (Geraint pp. 150-157; Erec pp. 55-67, vv. 1410-2429)
  • III. Adventures of Geraint/Erec and Enid(e) (Not part of the reading).
    • Summary: After the wedding, Geraint/Erec starts spending all his time with his wife in their chamber and abandons his duties. Enid(e) hears the complaints of the court about his behaviour and, one night, he hears her lamenting about the situation and misinterprets what he heard and thinks she is unfaithful. He decides to go alone with her to test her love (and keep her away from her alleged lover). After many an adventure – during which they meet (Y Brenhin Bychan / Guivret le Petit, a dwarfish king) – Geraint/Erec realizes that he was mistaken and that she has always loved him, so they leave Y Brenhin Bychan / Guivret to return to Arthur’s court.
  • IV. The Enchanted Games / La Joie de la Cour (Geraint pp. 175-178; Erec pp. 103 -115, vv. 5319-6358; numbered ‘III’ on the photocopy)
  • V. Crowning of Erec and Enide (Geraint ends after the Enchanted Games so this part of the story only appears in Erec, pp. 115-122, vv. 6359-6878; numbered ‘IV’ on the photocopy )

Suggested Topics for Discussion:

  • What do you think is the most striking difference between the two texts? Why? E.g.:
    • Description of the characters
    • Evolution of the characters / Character arcs
    • Description of events
    • Some elements more emphasized than others
    • An event in particular
    • General tone of the tales
    • etc.
  • What could be the reason(s) for the differences? E.g. Geographical (Wales vs. France), method of delivery (reading vs. performing), different audience (status, age, gender, …), etc.
  • What would you say is the main message / moral of the story? Is it the same for both?
  • Considering the differences in tone and message, should both texts be classified in the romance genre?

Guinevere's Lady Insulted by Edyrn's Dwarf, M. Bowley

http://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/image/bowley-guineveres-lady-insulted-by-edyrns-dwarf

M. Bowley, Guinevere’s Lady Insulted by Edyrn’s Dwarf, from: Nora Chesson (1871-1906), Tales from Tennyson (London: Raphael Tuck & Sons)

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