Arthurian comedy: The simpleton-hero in sir Perceval of Galles

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The simpleton-hero blunders his way into the literary world of Arthurian romance in the comic first episodes of Chrétien’s Conte del Graal,1 which present the adventures, and misadventures, of a country bumpkin’s first encounter with chivalry. In Chrétien’s poem, as in the other continental versions that succeed it,2 the rusticity of the hero is a characteristic limited to the enfances section and gradually discarded as he is initiated into and absorbed by the courtly society which is his proper milieu. In the English Sir Perceval of Galles,3 however, the hero retains characteristics of the country fellow from beginning to end; though he makes a triumphant excursion into the world of chivalry, he then seeks the forest again, resuming his childhood identity and his goatskin garments. His rusticity, which is not superseded, seems to be his defining trait.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationPerceval/Parzival
Subtitle of host publicationA Casebook
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781136509933
ISBN (Print)0815307810, 9780815307815
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


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