Page:Marie de France Lays Mason.djvu/23

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Introduction

select natures. And that the seed of such flowering may be carried about the world is one of the fairest hopes and possibilities of the human race.

Eugene Mason.

The originals of these narratives are to be found in Roquefort's edition of the Poesies de Marie de France; in a volume of the Nouvelles Francoises en Prose, edited by Moland and D'Hericault; and in M. Gaston Raynaud's text of La Chatelaine de Vergi.

NOTE

It is generally agreed that the twelve "Lays" printed here, pp. 1-136, were composed by the author who gives her name, Marie, in the "Lay of Gugemar." The remaining two "Lays," pp. 137-62, the "Lay of the Thorn" and the "Lay of Graelent," are ascribed to anonymous writers and not to Marie. The information provided in the translator's Introduction may now be advantageously supplemented by reference to Marie de France, Lais, edited by A. Ewert, Blackwell, Oxford, 1957; useful commentary on the tales entitled "A Story of Beyond the Sea" and "The Chatelaine of Vergi" will be found in La Fille du Comte de Pontieu, edited by C. Brunei (Classiques Frangais du Moyen Age), Champion, Paris, 1926, and in La Chastelaine de Vergi, edited by F. Whitehead (Manchester University Texts), Manchester, 1951. It is an accepted opinion that the composer of the Chatelaine de Vergi was indebted to Marie's tale which is here translated under the title "The Lay of Sir Launfal": the basic theme of the latter is discussed by W. H. Schofield in an article "The Lays of Graelent and Lanval, and the story of Wayland" (Publications of the Modern Languages Association of America, XV (1900), pp. 121-80).

For the "Lay of the Thorn" see an article by R. S. Loomis in Romance Philology, IX (1955-6), pp. 162-7, and for the background to the "Lays," E. A. Francis, "Marie de France et son temps" in Romania, LXXII (1951), pp. 78-99.

Elizabeth A. Francis.