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Lancelot as Unrepentant Crusader in the Perlesvaus

Lancelot as Unrepentant Crusader in the Perlesvaus

(p.115) Chapter Four Lancelot as Unrepentant Crusader in the Perlesvaus
The Subject of Crusade
Marisa Galvez
University of Chicago Press

The chapter analyzes Lancelot as an unrepentant crusader in the prose romance Perlesvaus: Lancelot is represented as a crusader who advances the New Law despite lacking access to the Grail as in the Vulgate Cycle; further, in a confessional scene with a hermit, he is explicitly depicted as unrepentant for his sin of loving Guinevere. The Perlesvaus develops the potential of Lancelot seen in lyric. Without deflating the lyrical suspension of the lover caught between earthly and spiritual models of chivalry, it extends his professional avowal by asking how his competing loves for God and the lady can be sustained through a romance that advocates holy warfare. Placing Lancelot and the Perlesvaus within the context of other romances, the chapter argues that Lancelot’s unrepentance and his status as a crusader without complete conversion speaks the idiom. The chapter ends by explaining how an unrepentant Lancelot serves as an ethical model for nobility, such as Jean de Nesle, a patron of the romance.

Keywords:   Perlesvaus, Lancelot, unrepentance, profession, confession, chivalry, Jean de Nesle, crusader, romance, Vulgate Cycle, volenté

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