Thursday, February 26, 2009

1100 to 1199. Tales of the Heike to Parzival

Anonymous. Chinese. 1100. Epic. The Tales of the Heike. Rise of the Taira family, hubristic rule and crushing defeat by a rival clan. Buddhist theme of the transience of human endeavor. Fills the place of the Homeric epic of the West.

Anonymous. Welsh. 1100. Narrative. Kulwch and Olwen. Prose. Earliest full-fledged Arthurian romance. Hero gets help from Arthur to complete tasks set by giant whose daughter, Olwen, he seeks to win.

Pierre Abelard. French. 1100 (?). Nonfiction. Sic et Non. Unprejudiced arguments pro and con on doctrinal questions of the Middle Ages. No attempt to draw conclusions.

Chretien de Troyes. French. 1100 (?) Romance. Erec et Enide. Earliest Arthurian romance in French. Erec retires from adventures to enjoy domestic life. His wife bemoans loss of his reputation. He sets out and takes her with him, treating her harshly. She is abducted while he is in an apparent state of death. He revives in time to save her and they are reconciled. [A gunslinger can never retire!]

1200 to 1299.

Wolframm VonEschenbach. German. 1200. Epic poem. Parzival. Knight in search of the Grail.

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