Treason and trial : consuetudines and law in the romances of Chrétien de Troyes and the lais of Marie de France

Document Type



Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor's Name

Kathryn McKinley

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Joan Baker

Third Advisor's Name

Felice Lifshitz

Fourth Advisor's Name

Kathryn McKinley

Date of Defense



Treason, in the romances of Chrdtien de Troyes and the lais of Marie de France, is explored more often as afin' amor problem than as a legal issue with its concomitant sociopolitical ramifications. It is precisely the historical function of literature within the ambit of court culture that appears to have shaped the legal context of the poems of Chrdtien de Troyes and the lais of Marie de France. Counterpoising the literary treatment of treason in Le Chevalier au Lion and Lanval with actions and definitions of treachery by contemporary, twelfth-century chronicle and customary law sources reveals that the conceptualized, fictional world of Chrdtien's Yvain closely reflects the workings of the Capetian society Chretien experienced. Marie's Lanval reflects as well the historical impressions of the Angevin court with which she had familiarity, a court whose concept of treason leaned more toward the maiestas concept found in Roman jurisprudence tradition.



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