As of right now we are reading “Eric and Enide” by Chretien De Troyes in my Medieval Lit class at Bridgewater State University. In an effort to really review the text better, I want to look at a passage or two and point out the thinks I like/think are interesting so I can reinforce a feel for the text.
I really like the style of Chretien. There is a passage commenting on the emotional stability of Enide after alerting Erec to an impending threat. She was distraught at the idea of him not having the same amount of regard for her as he had prior to her impeding his journey/quest/episode-of-masochistic-delirium. Chretien writes:
“Now Enide was deeply afraid. She arose, very sad and distraught; she accused and criticized herself for her ill-advised words: The goat scratches until it cannot lie comfortably.”
Disregarding the assertions of love Chretien is making, I want to focus on the bit of text after the colon, “The goat scratches until it cannot lie comfortably.” Throughout the text Chretien has these little inserts where he is making an additional remark, whether it be an observation or a bit of literary imagery – like the goat remark, that just adds to the experience of story. It almost as if he takes on a character-persona. Kind of like the Grandfather reading to Fred Savage in the Princess Bride.
One more thing that I’ve really dug thus far are the long description Chretien gives of the area or individual people. One that stands out is the instance of Enide’s first reveal and how Chretien asserts that “Nature herself had marvelled more than five hundred times at how she had been able to make such a beautiful thing.” So often writers use the envy or work of the gods’ to describe the beauty on earth, I guess I was refreshed when she was referred to as a creation of nature. It also marks a transition in the period in which writers look to earthly things to describe the beauty of existence.