French Studies: A Quarterly Review
Chrétien de Troyes, Cligès
Starting with the premise that medieval manuscripts exhibit paratextual vestiges of their auctores, redactors, copyists, and readers, this article re-examines the question of authorship and readership in Chrétien de Troyes's prologue to Cligés (c. 1176-80) through the lens of paratextual references to the implied author's signature, allusions to possible titles of his previous works, marginal annotations of interpretative readings, and cases of significant manuscript variance. Firmly grounded in the manuscript, editorial, and critical tradition of Cligés, this reading re-evaluates the tripartite thematic structure of the prologue, hypothesizing the paratextual effect that the opening list of literary tides, the suspenseful presentation of the hero, and the authoritative claim for the location of chevalerie (chivalry) and clergie (culture) in France might have had on medieval audiences and may have on modern readers. Exploring the significantly different versions in which two families of manuscripts transmit the same ideas, this reading finally shows how the prologue equivocates and subverts any one definite interpretation and engenders a sense of irony and alterity that captivates the reader and opens the threshold to new interpretations.
Reis, Levilson C., "The Paratext to Chrétien de Troyes's Cligés: A Reappraisal of the Question of Authorship and Readership in the Prologue" (2011). Modern Languages & Cultures Faculty Scholarship. 16.
Reis, Levilson C. "The Paratext To Chrétien De Troyes's Cligés: A Reappraisal Of The Question Of Authorship And Readership In The Prologue." French Studies: A Quarterly Review 1 (2011): 1. Project MUSE. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.