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In this verse translation of Cligès, written by Chrétien de Troyes circa 1176, Ruth Harwood Cline not only preserves the artistry of the original work but also captures the wit, irony, and striking emotional power of Chrétien's stylistic genius and highly structured form.
The romance begins with the marriage of Cligès's parents and continues with the clandestine, mutual love of their son and his uncle's bride, Fenice. Cligès and Fenice are finally united after executing a false-death plot aided by black magic.
With a thoroughness and clarity that will appeal to students and scholars of medieval literature, Cline's accessible translation effectively conveys the sparkle, pace, and intricate wordplay of Chrétien's love monologues, classic themes, and complex poetic devices. In addition, her introduction sheds new light on the transmission of British history and legend to the French court of Champagne. With themes that echo from the Tristan legend to Romeo and Juliet, Cligès is an exciting romance about young lovers who escape from an arranged match and find true love in marriage.