Critics of Chrétien de Troyes’s 12th-century romance Erec et Enide have long debated possible explanations of Erec’s behaviour toward Enide when he leads her into the wilderness and forbids her from speaking. This paper approaches this question using another pair of contentious lovers from Chrétien’s final romance Perceval, the Tent Maiden and Orgueilleux de la Lande. Using medieval discourse about memory images, I argue that Perceval deliberately invokes Erec et Enide with the striking image of the ragged Tent Maiden, encouraging audiences to recall and reinterpret Orgeuilleux’s presence in Erec et Enide allegorically, as a sign that Erec’s pride is a factor in his behaviour toward Enide.
In the 23rd Âventiure of Das Nibelungenlied, the narrator notes how Kriemhild recalls the way in which she had been forced to marry Attila. However, Kriemhild’s memory of this event does not accord with the description provided by the poet in the earlier part of the poem. This paper intends to discuss the extent to which Kriemhild’s recollection of this earlier episode is due either to the way in which the poem was composed (and to the poet’s ‘mistakes’), or to the make-up of the Kriemhild character, i.e. to her defective, selective or indeed ‘fake’ memory of events (which can be seen as part of her revenge strategy).
Middle High German romances challenge the recipients to activate their memories and recollections, their previous knowledge of texts read in the past and also other genres. Every writer is a recipient in the first place and then becomes a producer of something new. Especially the writers of the later romances use this when creating their own texts. The recipients then have to ‘stumble’ over episodes and allusions that are only comprehensible with the knowledge of other texts. The presentation will show some examples in Arthurian romances of scenes that are inconsistent at first sight, but open a new understanding by filling the gap with recollections of other texts.