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A History of the French Novel, Vol. 1

Chapter iithe matters of france


The

early history of prose fiction--The late classical stage--A _nexus_ of Greek and French romance?--the facts about the matter--The power and influence of the "Saint's Life"--The Legend of St. Eulalia--The _St. Alexis_.

CHAPTER II

THE MATTERS OF FRANCE, ROME, AND BRITAIN 9

The _Chanson de Geste_--The proportions of history and fiction in them--The part played by language, prosody, and manners--Some drawbacks--But a fair balance of actual story merit--Some instances of this--The classical borrowings: Troy and Alexander--_Troilus_--_Alexander_--The Arthurian Legend--Chrestien de Troyes and the theories about him--His unquestioned work--Comparison of the _Chevalier a la Charette_ and the prose _Lancelot_--The constitution of the Arthuriad--Its approximation to the novel proper--Especially in the characters and relations of Lancelot and Guinevere--Lancelot--Guinevere--Some minor points--Illustrative extracts translated from the "Vulgate": the youth of Lancelot--The first meeting of Lancelot and Guinevere--The scene of the kiss--Some further remarks on the novel-character of the story--And the personages--Books.

CHAPTER III

ROMANS D'AVENTURES 55

Variety of the present group--Different views held of it--_Partenopeus

of Blois_ selected for analysis and translation.

CHAPTER IV

THE BEGINNINGS OF PROSE FICTION 73

Prose novelettes of the thirteenth century: _Aucassin et Nicolette_ not quite typical--_L'Empereur Constant_ more so--_Le Roi Flore et la Belle Jehane_--_La Comtesse de Ponthieu_--Those of the fourteenth: _Asseneth_--_Troilus_--_Foulques Fitzwarin_--Something on these--And on the short story generally.

CHAPTER V

ALLEGORY, FABLIAU, AND PROSE STORY OF COMMON LIFE 89

The connection with prose fiction of allegory--And of the _fabliaux_--The rise of the _nouvelle_ itself--_Les Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles_--Analysis of "La Demoiselle Cavaliere"--The interest of _namea_ personages--_Petit Jehan de Saintre_--_Jehan de Paris._

CHAPTER VI

RABELAIS 105

The anonymity, or at least impersonality, of authorship up to this point--Rabelais unquestionably the first very great known writer--But the first great novelist?--Some objections considered--And dismissed as affecting the general attraction of the book--Which lies, largely if not wholly, in its story-interest--Contrast of the _Moyen de Parvenir_--A general theme possible--A reference, to be taken up later, to the last Book--Running survey of the whole--_Gargantua_--The birth and education--The war--The Counsel to Picrochole--The peace and the Abbey of Thelema--_Pantagruel_ I. The contrasted youth--Panurge--Short view of the sequels in Book II.--_Pantagruel_ II. (Book III.) The marriage of Panurge and the consultations on it--_Pantagruel_ III. (Book IV.) The first part of the voyage--_Pantagruel_ IV. (Book V.) The second part of the voyage: the "Isle Sonnante"--"La Quinte"--The conclusion and The Bottle.


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