Le Roman du Graal: "The Romance of the Grail"
by Robert de Boron, ca. 1200-1210

An early Grail romance, written after Chretien's Perceval, it is believed to have consisted of three sections:

  • Joseph of Arimathea
  • Merlin
  • Perceval

    Only the first poems, and five hundred lines of the second, still exist. However, prose versions exist, from which Robert's romance can be reconstructed:

    • Joseph of Arimathea: which details the wandering of Joseph after the crucifixion, and of his brother-in-law Brons the Fisher King, and of the excursion to Avalon
    • Huth Merlin: which tells of Merlin's begetting by a devil, the reign of Uther, the birth of Arthur, the Sword in the Stone, and the establishement of the Round Table by Merlin.
      • Suite de Merlin: which is appended to the first section, telling of Arthur's reign, the adventures of Gawain, and the imprisonment of Merlin.
    • Didot Perceval: which picks up where the Huth ended, at Arthur's corronation; at this time, Perceval appears, and the quest for the Grail begins.
    • Mort Artu: which tells of Mordred's treason and the death of Arthur.

    What becomes evident is that this Roman would, in ten years time, give the composures of The Vulgate Cycle/Lancelot - Grail Cycle a framework on which to set their story, only now the story surrounds Lancelot du Lac and Galahad.

    It is also interesting to note that there is a Prose Lancelot, earlier than the Vulgate cycle, which seems to rely on de Boron's romance as the setting of his story; here, there is no Galahad, and Perceval is explicitly mentioned as the Grail knight.

    There has recently (as in 2001) been a translation of the Modena manuscript, which gives the prose version of the complete romance. It is called Merlin and the Grail, translated by Nigel Bryant, and is available from Amazon, et al. I highly recommend it.

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