The 14th-century French prose romance Perceforest is studded with lyric insertions. Strikingly, a large proportion of these poems are presented as being the work of the romance’s female characters. This paper argues that poetic composition in Perceforest allows women to intervene in what is otherwise a very masculine world: as three young noblewomen claim in a joint composition, poetry is a form of prouesse that women are able to practice. A closer look at how women’s artistic agency shapes the romance plot ultimately sheds light on Perceforest’s portrayal of literature’s material impact within the chivalric world.
Both Chrétien de Troyes’ Chevalier de la Charrette and the later Prose Lancelot feature a cimetière futur, in which empty tombs bear the names of knights who will one day occupy them. Referring to the future rather than past, these tombs cannot be described as memorials; their inscriptions serve rather as prophecies or premonitions. This paper explores the connection between these cemeteries and shifts in elite mortuary practices in the period 1150-1250. The historical transition from mortuary practices centring on local memory to a growing reliance on inscriptions is troped through these literary tombs bearing written messages from the future.
Blessé par Marc en trahison, le Tristan du roman en prose perd sa vie et sauve sa face. Il ‘baille’ son épée à la Table Ronde, inspirant le premier deuil en ‘robes noires’ de l’histoire; il fait mourir, par amour, ‘la plus bele dame del mont’; il est honoré par Marc d’une sépulture d’amant ‘en mi l’eglise’. Occis, le héros n’a jamais fait meilleure figure: ‘Tant com li siecles duerra sera parlé de cheste mort’. Notre communication montrera que, pour Tristan, la mort est un succès d’image.