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The Lais of Marie de France (Labyrinth Press) [Paperback]

By Robert W. Hanning (Translator) & Joan M. Ferrante (Translator)
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Item description for The Lais of Marie de France (Labyrinth Press) by Robert W. Hanning & Joan M. Ferrante...

Marie de France, perhaps the finest medieval short fiction writer before Chaucer, composed her lais (short verse stories that resemble fairy tales) sometime between 1160 and 1199. The translators introduce and interpret each tale.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Baker Academic
Pages   256
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.8" Width: 5.9" Height: 0.6"
Weight:   0.9 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 1995
Publisher   Baker Academic
Edition  Reprinted  
Series  Labyrinth Press  
ISBN  080102031X  
ISBN13  9780801020315  

Availability  0 units.

More About Robert W. Hanning & Joan M. Ferrante

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! <b>Robert W. Hanning</b> is Professor of English at Columbia University, where he has taught since 1961. He has published <i>The Vision of History in Early Britain</i>, <i>The Individual in Twelfth-Century Romance</i>, <i>The Lais of Marie de France</i> (co-translated with Joan Ferrante), and <i>Castiglione: the Ideal and the Real in Renaissance Culture</i> (co-edited with David Rosand), as well as many articles on Chaucer&#8217;s poetry and other medieval and Renaissance subjects.<br>&nbsp;<br><b>Peter Tuttle</b>'s most recent poetry is <i>Looking for a Sign in the West</i>, published by Back Short in 2003.<br></div>

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Reviews - What do customers think about The Lais of Marie de France?

The Lais of Marie d France  May 11, 2008
I love the book and thoroughly enjoyed reading it. It is translated, edited, and introduced by two professors from Columbia University with impeccable credentials and should be a pretty straightforward presentation retaining the intent of Marie in writing the Lais. Purchase it for your liibrary, I do not believe you will be disappointed.
As enjoyable today as in the 12th century  Oct 2, 2004
The Hanning and Ferrante edition of Marie de France's lais is satisfying on two levels. First, the translation and commentary are unsurpassed. Second, the twelve short tales are gems themselves.

Translation of poetry from one modern language to another is difficult, let alone from Anglo-Norman French to modern English. This edition manages it beautifully. Abandoning the original's octosyllabic couplets for free verse, the brevity and simplicity of the verse are preserved.

An introduction sets the lais in place and time. Essentially nothing is known of Marie de France personally, so the introduction centers on the history, culture, and language of the 12th century. Modest footnotes supplement the text, but the strongest editorial contributions are the commentaries that follow each lai. While not completely necessary to an understanding of the stories, which can stand on their own, the commentary definitely enriches one's experience of these old Celtic/Breton tales.

Marie herself offers commentary on the tales as a whole in a Prologue, and frequently with a short statement at the beginning of an individual lai. This multiple framing of story within author commentary within modern commentary gives the reader great richness and depth. Marie's short but dense prologue offers philosophy and theory of writing that is still being reinterpreted.

The lais themselves are self contained and unconnected in plot, but typically involve a chilvaric episode or a courtly love situation, and a complication. The narrative moves quickly. These are not dull and laborious love stories, but adventures. In fact much is made in the critical world of the word "aventure" which translates as chance and luck as well as adventure.

Marie de France is known for using a marvel as a plot device. A marvel is a strange, exotic, sometimes magical, element upon which the story hinges. Milun and his lover, for example, exchange love letters for twenty years - love letters carried secretly between them by a swan.

Marie de France was likely a slyly disruptive force in the masculine court that she seems to be writing for. Bold and brave women are the rule. A reversal of masculine and feminine roles is not unusual. In Lanval a randy lady faerie queen, a pucelle, and her female knights completely overpower King Arthur and his court in a bloodless but completely effective rescue mission of a wrongly accused knight. The accuser is Arthur's queen, Guenivere is not named specifically, who definitely shows us her dark side.

I recommend this book to almost all readers, and certainly to anyone interested in the middle ages, courtly love, Arthurian legends, or women's literature.
Twelfth Century Lais can't be wrong!  Dec 9, 1999
The Lais of Marie de France is a wonderful collection of some of the best lais known to man! We were asked to read this book for my World Masterpieces class, and I must say that I'm glad that I did. Although many of the lais are short in length, you gain a valuable understanding of the way of life in ancient France as well as helpful knowledge for problems you may have in the love department.

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