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Reading Béroul's «Tristran»

A Poetic Narrative and the Anthropology of its Reception

Roger Pensom

This book proposes a new approach to the problems of the text's meaning and aesthetic unity. A stylistic and semantic analysis of the text's discourse identifies the poet's compositional method and reveals pragmatic and truth-conditional features which lead the reader outwards into the world of the text's reception. This analysis and its corollaries form the basis for an anthropology of the text's reception which situate it between the surviving social institutions of Celtic Gaul and those of Germanic feudalism. The notorious contradictions and discontinuities of the text are identified as consequences of its liminal status between competing paradigms of social ordering.