Difference between revisions of "Breton Lay"

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The term '''Breton Lay''' (or ''Lai'') are most famously related to the works of [[Marie de France]], but appear to be of much older origin. The word ''lai'' probably comes from the [[Gaelic]] word ''laid''. It is speculated that the word ''Breton'' here means [[Celtic]] in general, rather than specifically of [[Brittany]].
In a [[12th Century]] context, a lai is a short frech poem, in the general format of a love story, often with some element of trajedy. The lai is a typical venue for early stories of [[courtly love]], but retain elements of the suprenatural and faery from the celtic stories many are drawn from.
Were they simply recited or accompanied by music?
From the [[13th century]] the word lai seems to have shifted meaning, and instead applied to a long narrative poem.
Evidence from Lay of [[Graelant]] (trans. Weingartner)
L'aventure de Graelent
Vos dirai si com je l'entent;
Bons en est li lais a or,
Et les notes a retenir.
Ample literary evidence points to lays traditionally being accompanied by music, for instance the following excerpt from Lay of [[Graelant]] (trans. Weingartner)
The adventure of Graelent
I will tell you as I understand it;
L'aventure de Graelent<br>
The Lay is good to hear
Vos dirai si com je l'entent; <br>
And the melody good to remember.
Bons en est li lais a or,<br>
Et les notes a retenir.<br>
The adventure of Graelent<br>
I will tell you as I understand it;<br>
The Lay is good to hear<br>
And the melody good to remember.<br>
Further evidence comes from the ''[[fabliau]] de Richeut'', the ''[[Roman de la rose]]'', the ''[[Roman de Brut]]'' and even from the prologue to the [[Franklin's Tale]] from Chaucer's [[Canterbury Tales]].

Latest revision as of 02:32, 10 August 2005