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The French have had a decisive impact on the shaping of the Arthurian canon, and Chrétien’s romances (Érec et Énide, Cligès, Yvain, Lancelot, and Perceval) are the best-written and most famous adventures of the Knights of the Round Table. They roughly follow the same pattern: King Arthur’s court is a stable, powerful kingdom to which aspiring knights come to challenge their worth and win beautiful ladies. After a series of adventures, the titular knight overcomes with great worth (but not without great loss as well) his initial quest. If you like hero-centric adventures, this is it. There are a myriad of other medieval romances built on the same pattern by lesser authors, but these (with the exception of Cligès, which I find insufferable!) offer the most elegant articulation of the action-packed knightly adventures with the love concerns drawn from the Tristan and Iseult tradition.

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