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L'Esprit Créateur Medievalists may initially be perplexed by the title of the volume. Avoiding the customary terms—Lancelot-Grail, the Vulgate Cycle, or the Prose Lancelot—the editors have designated this volume Le Livre du Graal, assuming textual authority from Merlin, who claims fictitious authorship. The title was chosen also because the base manuscript (B, Bonn S 526) offers, according to Walter, a true livre in a biblical sense: ". . . une 'Bible du Graal,' une bibliothèque compl ète" (lxx). The introduction, directed primarily to knowledgeable non-medievalists, is thorough and detailed. Noting that the rise of the prose Grail romances coincides with a determined evangelistic effort by the Church, Walter emphasizes the connection of scripture with prose Grail romances. He also discusses possible connections between fictional and real places and events. For example, he remarks that, whereas the Perlesvaus anchors the Grail firmly in Britain (specifically in Glastonbury), the present cycle suggests ties to the continent. Thus, the Grail Castle, Corbénic, may well have been identified with Corbény (between Laon and Reims, xxxiv). Walter concludes that the prose Grail romances ". . . se situent au confluent imaginaire des préoccupations politiques, littéraires et culturelles du XIIIe siècle" (Ii). The introduction ranges far, and in the process there is the occasional slip-up. For example, it is not quite correct that Geoffrey of Monmouth predicted Arthur's return (Ii). Pointing out only that Arthur was mortally wounded and was taken to Avalon, Geoffrey neither excludes nor affirms the prospect of the king's return. Despite occasional problems of this sort, the introduction is admirably informative, reflecting very recent as well as thoroughly traditional scholarship. The editing and translating are consistently competent. The editors have been minimally but judiciously interventionist, and following the texts are introductions to the individual works, as well as 200 pages of rejected readings and literary, cultural, and philological notes. The translators wisely avoid slavish imitation of syntax and style. I examined some twenty passages with some care and took exception to the rendering in only a few instances, none of which materially altered the sense of the text. The volume, unsurprisingly, privileges the modern French translation , presented at the top of the page with the Old French printed below it in minuscule type. This book represents an extremely ambitious undertaking, and the two volumes to come will surely be a welcome addition, as this one is, to the library of medievalists and non-specialists alike. Norris J. Lacy Pennsylvania State University Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier. Ecrire l'espace. Saint-Denis: Presses Universitaires de Vincennes , 2002. Pp. 178. 19 €. In Ecrire l'espace, Marie-Claire Ropars-Wuilleumier takes on the project of tracing the conceptual relationship of space and writing. Following Maurice Blanchot's L'Espace littéraire, Ropars pushes off from the very lack of definition of the word "espace" in that work. Whereas Blanchot, according to Ropars, had thought of space as an "essence littéraire," she postulates that space is a metaphor of this literary essence, a metaphor whose unique quality is to hold within itself the impossibility of the literary work to be present to itself, in other words in its own space. The first part of the work, "Non-lieux," develops a literary model through which RoparsWuilleumier begins an analysis of space and extends this model from text (Georges Perec's Espèces d'espaces, Aldalbert Stifter's Brigitta, Plato's Timed) to image (Antonello da Messina's St. Jerome In His Study) to cinema (Glauber Rocha's Antonios das Mortes, A Man Escaped by R. Bresson, Godard's Pierrot le fou, Terence Davies's Distant Voices, Still Lives, and Agnès Varda's Sans toit ni loi). Film in particular allows Ropars to explore the paradoxical relation between figures of place and "l'abstraction propre aune pensée de l'espace" (17). The plurality of space, the permeability of spaces that overlap, extend into one another, and open onto infinities of other 108 Summer 2003 Book Reviews spaces within these texts, operate a radical disintegration of identity. The indeterminacy of space shatters the unifying notion of place in these works, and with it, the myth of the subject...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-0234
Print ISSN
0014-0767
Pages
pp. 108-109
Launched on MUSE
2010-06-24
Open Access
No
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