The Lays of Marie de France
122 pages, 5 1/5 x 7 3/10
Release Date:01 Apr 2013

The Lays of Marie de France

Translated by David R. Slavitt
Athabasca University Press
The twelve “lays” of Marie de France, the earliest known French woman poet, are here presented in sprightly English verse by poet/translator David R. Slavitt. These old Breton folk tales were the raw material for Marie de France’s series of lively but profound considerations of love, life, death, fidelity and betrayal, and luck and fate. They are acute observations about the different kinds of choices women make, startling in the late twelfth century and challenging even today. The lays, which combine a woman’s wisdom with an impressive technical bravura, are a minor treasure of European culture.

David R. Slavitt is a widely known poet, novelist, critic, and translator. He prepared these English versions of the lays of Marie de France because he loved them.

Foreword- vii


Prologue- 3

I. Guigemar

I. Guigemar- 5

II. Equitan- 27

III. Le Fresne- 35

IV. Bisclavret- 47

V. Lanval- 55

VI. The Two Lovers- 71

VII. Yonec- 77

VIII. Laüstic- 89

IX. Milun- 93

X. Chaitivel- 105

XI. Chevrefoil- 111

XII. Eliduc- 115

For Further Reading- 147


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