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Perceval and Gawain in Dark Mirrors

Reflection and Reflexivity in Chretien de Troyes's Conte del Graal

Perceval and Gawain in Dark Mirrors by Rupert T. Pickens
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An innovative author of verse romance, Chretien de Troyes wrote in northern France between 1170 and 1190. Credited with the first Arthurian romance, he composed five works set in King Arthur's court, culminating with an unfinished masterpiece, the Conte del Graal (Story of the Grail). This text is the first to mention the banquet serving dish that became the Holy Grail in early efforts to rewrite or complete the text. This book focuses on the Conte's narrative depiction of mirrors real and metaphorical: shining armor, a polished golden eagle, the Grail itself, St. Paul's enigmatic looking glass, the blood drops in snow in which Perceval sees the face of his beloved. The last chapter joins the controversy over Chretien's intended conclusion, and proposes a climactic ending in which Perceval, heir to the Grail kingdom, confronts his double, Gawain, heir to Arthur's Logres.
McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers; January 2015
216 pages; ISBN 9781476618593
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Title: Perceval and Gawain in Dark Mirrors
Author: Rupert T. Pickens