Béroul Criticism - Essay

Alberto Varvaro (essay date 1963)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Varvaro, Alberto. “The Structure of the Tristran.” In Beroul's Romance of Tristran, translated by John C. Barnes, pp. 18-44. Manchester, Eng. and New York.: Manchester University Press/Harper & Row Publishers Inc. (Barnes & Noble Import Division), 1963.

[In the following excerpt from his Beroul's Romance of Tristran, originally published in Italian in 1963, Varvaro examines the episodic structure of Tristran, noting that individual episodes are often preceded and followed by narrative pauses that serve to emphasize Béroul's theme in that section.]

1

EPISODES AND PAUSES IN THE NARRATIVE

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(The entire section is 12712 words.)

Renée L. Curtis (essay date 1969)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Curtis, Renée L. “The Abatement of the Magic in Beroul's Tristan.” In TristanStudies, pp. 28-35. München, Germany: Wilhelm Fink Verlag, 1969.

[In the essay below, Curtis discusses Béroul's handling of the love potion in Tristran, asserting that the author does not use it merely as a stock device to advance the story, but rather carefully develops characterization and theme in order to incorporate the potion into the narrative.]

The most immediately striking fact about Béroul's use of the philtre is no doubt the limited duration of its potency in his version of the legend. I am not concerned here with the origin of this idea, whether it...

(The entire section is 3765 words.)

Sandro Sticca (essay date June 1972)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Sticca, Sandro. “Christian Ethics and Courtly Doctrine in Béroul's Tristan et Iseut.Classica et Mediaevalia 29 (June 1972): 223-48.

[In the following essay, Sticca explores how Béroul uses Christian elements—personified by the character Ogrin—to elevate his narrative from an amoral, adulterous story to a tale about a spiritual journey toward redemption.]

There are literary critics today who whether out of reluctance to make overt religious affirmations or out of fear to impose predetermined meanings on medieval poetry, have produced a criticism which is both farfetched and eccentric. Although I would refrain from suggesting that, in...

(The entire section is 9125 words.)

F. Xavier Baron (essay date June 1972)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Baron, F. Xavier. “Visual Presentation in Béroul's Tristan.Modern Language Quarterly 33, no. 2 (June 1972): 99-112.

[In the essay below, Baron focuses on Béroul's development of visual elements in three key scenes—the Pine Tree, Flour Trick, and Forest Hut Discovery—and suggests that the poet is able to create irony through his use of Mark as the point-of- view character.]

Béroul's twelfth-century Tristan has received considerable attention, but little has been said about its sophisticated narrative techniques and complex irony. The most brilliant of the recent studies, concerned almost exclusively with how the poem illustrates its...

(The entire section is 5000 words.)

Brian Blakey (essay date 1972)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Blakey, Brian. “Truth and Falsehood in the Tristran of Béroul.” In History and Structure of French: Essays in Honour of Professor T. B. W. Reid, edited by F. J. Barnett, A. D. Crow, C. A. Robson, et al., pp. 19-29. Totowa, N.J.: Rowman and Littlefield, 1972.

[In the following essay, Blakey points out how a proper understanding of the medieval interpretation of oaths can inform the critical debate regarding God's apparent support for the lovers in Tristran.]

If a resurrected Tristran and Iseut were once more to stand before us charged with perjury, it seems they would have no lack of prosecutors. As one modern critic would have it, the pair are...

(The entire section is 4613 words.)

Eugène Vinaver (essay date 1973)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Vinaver, Eugène. Foreword to The Romance of Tristan and Isolt, translated by Norman B. Spector, pp. xi-xviii. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 1973.

[In the following introduction to Spector's translation of the later prose Tristan and Isolt, Vinaver briefly touches on the origin and central themes of the legend, as well on differences from Béroul's version.]

The love story of Tristan and Isolt was originally a “legend,” not in the sense in which we now use the term, but in the literal sense of “something to be read”—a written composition which one of its earliest adaptors, Béroul, claims to have found in that form:

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(The entire section is 1834 words.)

E. M. R. Ditmas (essay date 1982)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Ditmas, E. M. R. “Béroul the Minstrel.” Reading Medieval Studies 8 (1982): 34-74.

[In the essay below, Ditmas outlines the evidence for Béroul's knowledge of contemporary Cornwall, citing details of Cornish history and topography interwoven into the romance.]

This study makes no attempt to examine Béroul's Romance of Tristran from the point of view of linguistics, nor is it a detailed consideration of the derivation and development of the plot of the story. Such studies have been published by experts in those particular fields and can be consulted by those for whom they are of special interest.

The present study is an attempt to...

(The entire section is 18254 words.)

Peter S. Noble (essay date 1982)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Noble, Peter S. “The Lovers.” In Beroul's Tristan and the Folie de Berne, pp. 17-34. London, England: Grant & Cutler Ltd., 1982.

[In the following excerpt, Noble discusses the characterization of Iseut and Tristran respectively, emphasizing their wit and resourcefulness in difficult situations.]

One of Beroul's great strengths as an author is ability to depict character, not so much by outright description, of which there is very little in the text, but through his skill in making the characters come to life by their speech and their actions. Inevitably he is particularly concerned with the lovers, whose story after all this is and with whom he...

(The entire section is 7122 words.)

Reginald Hyatte (essay date autumn-spring 1983-84)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Hyatte, Reginald. “Tristran's Curving Bow: The Arms of Love's Revenge in Beroul's Tristran.Tristania 9, nos. 1-2 (autumn-spring 1983-84): 70-80.

[In the following essay, Hyatte examines Béroul's use of weapons imagery in Tristran, noting that its main function is to delineate levels of knightly worth, to accent the theme of retribution, and to link narrative.]

Beroul arms Tristran with a great variety of weapons—swords, lances, bows, javelins, and clubs—which he wields in the service of love's revenge. In contrast, Thomas' Tristran is usually portrayed as unarmed or impotent. Weapons, like words, are an extension of self; while...

(The entire section is 5084 words.)

G. N. Bromiley (essay date 1985)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Bromiley, G. N. “The Making of Beroul's Tristan: The Role of Repetition.” Medium Aevum 54, no. 1 (1985): 47-58.

[In the essay below, Bromiley focuses on instances of narrative repetition in Tristran, concluding that Béroul often repeats older material just before introducing an original passage.]

At line 3028 in the most recent editions of Beroul's Tristan, a new series of episodes begins. By this time, Iseut has been returned to King Mark after her stay with Tristan in the Forest of Morrois. Tristan himself is hiding in the vicinity, in the house of the forester, Orri, but he is generally believed to have ridden off into exile. The...

(The entire section is 5674 words.)