Post-Vulgate Cycle

Post-Vulgate Cycle

Post-Vulgate Cycle

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The Post-Vulgate Cycle is one of the major Old French prose cycles of Arthurian literature. It is essentially a rehandling of the earlier Vulgate Cycle (also known as the Lancelot-Grail Cycle), with much left out and much added, including characters and scenes from the Prose Tristan.

The Post-Vulgate, written probably between 1230 and 1240, is an attempt to create greater unity in the material, and to de-emphasise the secular love affair between Lancelot and Guinevere in favor of the Quest for the Holy Grail. It omits almost all of the Vulgate's Lancelot Proper section, making it much shorter than its source, and directly condemns everything but the spiritual life. It does not survive complete, but has been reconstructed from French, Castilian Spanish, and Portuguese fragments.

This cycle of works was one of the most important sources of Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur.

The work is divided into four sections. Many of these sections are largely similar to the previous Vulgate versions.

  • The Estoire del Saint Grail, which did not differ significantly from the Vulgate version. It tells the story of Joseph of Arimathea and his son Josephus, who brings the Holy Grail to Britain.
  • The Estoire de Merlin (also called the Vulgate or Prose Merlin), which also bears few changes from the Vulgate. It concerns Merlin and the early history of Arthur.
    • To this section is added the Post-Vulgate Suite du Merlin, also known as the Huth-Merlin, the first departure from the source material. It......
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