Marie de France: Poetry

Marie de France,

Marie de France: Poetry

Winner of the 2016 Northern California Book Award for Translation of Poetry.

Honorable Mention for the 2015 Modern Language Association's Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize For Translation of a Literary Work.

Marie de France was a medieval poet who was probably born in France and who lived in England during the twelfth century. Prominent among the earliest poets writing in the French vernacular, Marie de France helped shape the style and genres of later medieval poetry. This Norton Critical Edition includes all of Marie’s lais (short narrative verse poems); selected fables; and a generous excerpt from Saint Patrick’s Purgatory, a long poem based on a well-known medieval legend. Each text is accompanied by detailed explanatory annotations. For comparative reading, two lais, “Bisclavret” and “Yönec,” are accompanied by Marie’s facing-page originals.

"Backgrounds and Contexts" is thematically organized to provide readers with a clear sense of Marie’s inspirations. Topics include “The Supernatural,” “Love and Romance,” “Medical Traditions,” “Fable Sources and Analogues: Similar Themes,” and “Purgatory and the Afterlife.” Ovid, Chaucer, Andreas Capellanus, Boccaccio, Aristotle, and Bede are among the authors included.

From the wealth of scholarly work published on Marie de France, Dorothy Gilbert has chosen excerpts from nine pieces that address issues of history and authorship as well as major themes in the lais, fables, and Saint Patrick’s Purgatory. The contributors are Thomas Warton, Abbé Gervais de la Rue, Joseph Bedier, Leo Spitzer, R. Howard Bloch, E. A. Francis, Jill Mann, and Jacques Le Goff.

A selected bibliography is also included.

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