Date of Degree
MA (Master of Arts)
The Roman de Thèbes and Chrétien de Troyes' Erec et Enide are romances of an Anglo-Norman tradition, which were crafted during the second half of the 12th-century. The Roman de Thèbes, most probably created during the 1150s, is an anonymous reworking of Statius' first-century Thebaïd and relates the story of the battle between Greeks and Thebans, which breaks out because Oedipus' sons fight over their inherited lands. Chrétien de Troyes' Erec et Enide, an Arthurian romance, was created in ca. 1170 and culminates with the coronation of Erec as the new king of his lands. Both of these texts therefore deal with questions of land inheritance and were, very significantly, written during important stages in Henry II's career, as it was during this time frame that Henry II (1133-1189) gained dominance in the British Isles as well as in western continental Europe. My thesis will discuss these works separately, devoting the subsequent section to the ekphrastic accounts featured in the Roman de Thèbes. This chapter will focus on mappa mundi and Amphiareus' chariot and will discuss how these moments mirror the ambitions of Henry II during the early stages of his reign. Moreover, the penultimate section will then move on to discuss the coronation scene featured in Chrétien de Troyes' Erec et Enide, with a special emphasis on Erec's robe. This discussion will also examine how this scene mirrors the historical occurrences in of the late 1160s, during which time Henry tried to establish his authority in Brittanny. Ultimately, I will attempt to weave these moments together to provide a comprehensive reading of these ekphrastic accounts.
Copyright 2010 Sonja Nicole Mayrhofer
Mayrhofer, Sonja Nicole. "From ekphrasis and the fantastic to commodity fetishism in the Roman de Thebes and Chretien de Troyes' Erec et Enide." thesis, University of Iowa, 2010.