Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2010

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In

Comparative Literature

First Advisor

Ungar, Steven

Second Advisor

Ehrstine, Glenn

First Committee Member

Ungar, Steven

Second Committee Member

Ehrstine, Glenn

Third Committee Member

Oesmann, Astrid

Fourth Committee Member

Sponsler, Claire


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.


Chretien de Troyes, Commodity Fetishism, Ekphrasis, Erec et Enide, Fantastic, Roman de Thebes


iv, 86 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-86).


Copyright 2010 Sonja Nicole Mayrhofer