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“Ór franzeisu í norrænu” The transmission of Chrétien de Troyes’ Arthurian romances to old Norse literature

Lorenz, Christine (2007) “Ór franzeisu í norrænu” The transmission of Chrétien de Troyes’ Arthurian romances to old Norse literature. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The present dissertation examines the riddarasogur based on the Arthurian romances by Chrétien de Troyes: Ívens saga, Erex saga, Parcevals saga and Valvens þáttr. An overview of the preserved manuscripts of these texts is given, followed by an analysis of the main Norse versions to reconstruct as close as possible the original translations to form the foundation for comparison with the French sources. Holm 46 fol. (version B) emerges as best basis for the examination of Erex saga, and AM 489 4to (version B) for that of Ívens saga. The Norse translations are analysed individually in relation to their respective French counterparts. In each chapter of the dissertation, the examination comprises the unity of the narrative, alterations of characters, modifications aiming to move the texts closer to the saga genre, and the translators' personal and cultural input. The discussion of Ívens saga is placed first, since it gives proof of the least pronounced revision. The saga follows the text of Le Chevalier au Lion comparatively closely, and mainly stands out with the number of mistakes and minor details adapted from the translator's background. Erex saga includes less personal input by the translator, but the greatest adaptation in length and structure. The saga furthermore presents an interest in ideals of Christianity and rulership. Parcevals saga and Valvens þáttr give evidence of both individual preferences and alteration of the overall emphasis of Le Conte du Graal. In contrast to the romance, the Norse texts focus on the presentation of secular knighthood while sidelining the spiritual aspects of Chrétien's text. On the whole, the examination points out that the transmission of each Arthurian romance by Chrétien de Troyes to Old Norse literature yields an individual result. It is not possible to generalise concerning the sagas' treatment of their sources, or their didactic aims in King Hákon Hákonarson's programme of bringing European literature to the North.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2007
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:08 Sep 2011 18:32

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