Les lais de Marie de France
Marie ai nom,
si sui de France
This two verses, placed in the Prologue of her Fables contain the only biographical information on the woman, in addition that the Fables were taken from an English original. In the Lais, Marie uses English words and all this details let us suppose that she was a Frenchwoman living in England, perhaps at the court of Henry II.
The Lais are the most important work of Marie; the term lai was used for a short story in verse that could have been recited or even sung and the genre is supposed to have Breton/Celtic origins.
Marie's Lais are written in octosyllabic rhyming couplet; there are twelfe in total and their lenght vary from a 118 verses (Chevrefoil) to 1184 verses(Eliduc).
The subject of the Lais is love but the chosen form does not allow her characters to surrender to lengthy soliloquies or inner-monologues. Marie has sympathy with the unhappily women but she severly criticises the unfaithful wives.
Critics recognize that Marie added a lot of realism to her Lais, despite the fantastic effects that we can find in each tale.
- The Lays of Marie de France, by Eugene Mason's 1911 French Medieval Romances (full text):
- Seven of Marie's lais (Bisclavret, Guigemar, Laustic, Eliduc, Equitain, Chaitivel, Le Fresne) by Lewis Spence:
- The plot summaries of the 12 lais:
- Patricia Terry's 1995 verse translation of five lais (Laustic, Les Deus Amanz, Chevrefoil, Lanval, and Eliduc):
- A verse translation of 8 lais (Equitain, Le Fresne, Bisclavret, Lanval, Yonec, Laustic, Chaitivel, Chevrefoil):
- The Anglo-Norman influences in the "Lais" of Marie de France:
- A thematic analysis of Marie de France's lais(in French):
Alienation and the Otherworld in Lanval, Yonec and Guigemar, article by F. Hodgson:
- Gender and authority in the Medieval French lai, by Miranda Griffin (Oxford Journal, pdf):
- Narration and Representation of Women in the Lais of Marie de France and the Coutumes de Beauvaisis of Philippe de Beaumanoir, by Jerry Root (University of Utah):
- Objects, Possession and Identity in the Lais of Marie de France, by Nancy Bradley Warren (Indiana University):
- Rethinking Marie, an article by Dinah Hazell (San Francisco State University):
- The power of feminine anger in Marie de France's Yonec and Guigemar, by Jennifer Willging (University of Western Ontario, pdf):
- Estreitement bende: Marie de France's Guigemar and the erotics of tight dress, by Nicole D. Smith (article from Medium Aevum):
- Adultery and Kingship in Marie de France's Equitan, article by Sharon Kinoshita:
- Le Fresne
- The Differences and Variations of the Poem Le Fresne, by Doug Dotta (University of California, Santa Barbara):
- 'I Do, I Do': Medieval Models of Marriage and Choice of Partners in Marie de France's Le Fraisne, by Dolliann Margaret Hurtig:
- Woman-hating in Marie de France's Bisclavret>/i>, by Paul Creamer:
- Metamorphosis and Return in the Lays of Bisclavret and Melion, by Robyn A. Holman (College of Charleston):
- Sexualité douteuse et bestialité trompeuse dans Bisclavret de Marie de France, by Tovi Bibring (Bar Ilan University); pdf in French:
- Guilty as Charged? Subjectivity and the Law in La Chanson de Roland and Lanval, by Katherine Kong (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor):
- Beowulf, Lanval, and The Miller's Tale: Uniquely Representative of Medieval Social Order, an article by Robert Lewis:
- Les Deus Amanz
- Analyse du lai du Chevrefoil, by Didier Fontaine (in French):
- "Ceo fu la summe de l'escrit", an article by Keith Busby:
- A comment on Eliduc and some questions that help to understand the text, by Dr. Norman Prinsky (Augusta State University):