Anastasis: Research in Medieval Culture and Art (2019-11-01)

L’éclairage narratif de l’amour tristanien : feux épiques et hagiographiques / The Narrative Lighting of Tristan and Ysolt’s Love: Epic and Hagiographic Fires

  • Brîndușa Grigoriu

Journal volume & issue
Vol. VI, no. 2
pp. 92 – 113


Read online

Romance (“roman”) makes its debut as an experimental genre written in verse, whose epic stature is counterbalanced by the promotion of “courteous” values illustrating the medieval embodiment of human excellence and memorability. The new kind of hero – a tender, resourceful, hardy one – is matched by a suited heroine, while the opponent’s part is played by a self-justifying community that exerts its influence outside the paradigm of the loving couple. Notions such as treason, truthfulness and triumph are thus revisited in a dramatic light. In Béroul’s phantasmagoria and in Thomas’s kaleidoscope of the Tristanian matter, as well as in the specular structure of the Folies, the management of the characters’ visibility invites to a closer look. Our analysis provides a phenomenological approach of the universe of theatrical performance and erotic blossoming of the mythic lovers of Cornwall by highlighting their role as players in a show of blazing shadows. The main episodes of the magic infatuation, of the condemnation to the stake and of the protagonists’ shared death reveal a specific usage of light as a narrative device which enables the authors to adjust their setting to the enduring influence of the epic and to the exploratory ambitions of the emerging romance.