“Making Love” in Béroul and Thomas’s Tristans

  • Tracy Adams
Part of the Studies in Arthurian and Courtly Cultures book series (SACC)


Like the Eneas, the roughly contemporaneous versions of Tristan and Iseut by Béroul and Thomas reproduce elements of a Christian feudal mental universe along with its contradictory notions of marriage and kingship, helping to pin down and construct the social meaning of both. Through the stories of impossible love that they tell against the background of the fluctuating power relationships between King Marc and his barons, these stories explore the relationship between personal and social interests in Christian feudal society, and the role of the king and the queen in negotiating among competing interests. As I began to suggest in the previous chapters, the personal and the social are inextricably linked in a society where authority is based upon a fluid combination of personal magnetism and inherited power and territory, and where its legitimating ideologies are in a state of flux.


Sexual Desire Twelfth Century Feudal Society Human Love Passionate Love 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 4.
    Jean Frappier, “Structure et sens du Tristan: version commune, version courtoise,” Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale 6 (1963): 255.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 30.
    Philippe Walter, Le Gant de verre: le mythe de Tristan et Yseut (La Gacilly: Editions Artus, 1990), p. 235.Google Scholar
  3. 31.
    See Paull Franklin Baum, “The Young Man Betrothed to a Statue.” See also Lucy Polak,“The Two Caves of Love in the Tristan by Thomas,” Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 33 (1970): 652–669, especially 60–63.Google Scholar
  4. 39.
    Georges Duby, Le Temps des cathédrales: l’art et la société 980–1420 (Paris: Gallimard, 1976), p. 339. My translation.Google Scholar
  5. 40.
    James Snyder, Medieval Art: Painting-Sculpture-Architecture Fourth—Fourteenth Century (Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1989), p. 245.Google Scholar
  6. 53.
    Frederick Whitehead, “The Early French Tristan Poems,” in R.S. Loomis, ed., Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1959), p. 143.Google Scholar
  7. 55.
    Conrad Rudolph, Artistic Change at Saint-Denis (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1990), p. 13.Google Scholar
  8. 56.
    Jean Wirth, L’Image médiévale: naissance et développements (Paris: Klincksieck, 1989), p. 156.Google Scholar
  9. 66.
    Trudy Govier, A Practical Study of Argument, 3rd ed. (Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Co., 1992), p. 96, quoted in Burgess -Jackson, pp. 20–21.Google Scholar
  10. 67.
    R. Howard Bloch, Medieval French Literature and Law (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1977), p. 247.Google Scholar
  11. 70.
    Roland Carron, Enfant et parenté dans la France médiévale: Xe-XIIIe siecles, (Genève: Droz,1989), p. 9.Google Scholar
  12. 75.
    Pauline Stafford, Queens, Concubines, and Dowagers:The King’s Wife in the Early Middle Ages (Athens, GA: The University of Georgia Press, 1983), p. 3.Google Scholar
  13. 76.
    Christiane Marchello-Nizia, “Amour courtois, société masculine et figure du pouvoir,’ ” Annales: Economies, Sociétés, Civilisations 36 (1981): 981.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 77.
    Geneviève Bührer-Thierry, “La Reine adultère,’ ” Cahiers de Civilisation Médiévale 35 (1992): 301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 81.
    Annette Weiner, Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-While-Giving (Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 83.
    Louise Fradenberg, City, Marriage, Tournament: Arts of Rule in Late Medieval Scotland (Madison,WI: University of Wisconsin Press, 1991), p. 75.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tracy Adams 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tracy Adams

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations