The Magister Amoris and His Willful Lovers: Cligés and the Chevalier de la Charrete

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


As icons of Arthurian literature, Chrétien de Troyes’ romances have long been beloved as works of fairy and fantasy. But as recent studies have emphasized, for all their evocation of magic and the Other World, these works are profoundly engaged with contemporary social issues. For example, Brigitte Cazelles’ study of the Conte du Graal suggests that the traditional focus on the relationship between the grail procession and the elevation of earthly to heavenly chivalry has deflected attention from this romance’s preoccupation with violence and vengeance, disguising the real force of the narrative, which, Cazelles writes, “appears to lie in the ideological function of discourse at the hands of the contending factions as they seek to justify their respective claims to pre-eminence.”1 The Conte du Graal, according to Cazelles, is “deromanticizing.”The grail is a mysterious and lovely but empty signifier appropriated by rivals to put a glorious gloss upon the dire situation confronting their chivalric society; the Conte du Graal “provides a trenchant comment on the intoxicating effects of language.”2


Sexual Desire Gender Relation Modern Reader Feudal Society Double Life 
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© Tracy Adams 2005

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  • Tracy Adams

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