Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




G.D. West


The influence of the Tristan romances upon the love story of Lancelot and Guenievre in the Prose Lancelot has been established to some extent, but until now no attempt has been made to examine the textual parallels between the two stories. A detailed comparison of these parallels reveals that not only are there significant similarities between the texts of Béroul's Tristan and the Mort Artu of the Vulgate Cycle, but that there is also evidence of close textual parallels between the Mort Artu and Eilhart von Oberge's Tristrant. In addition, the study has revealed more similarities between Thomas' Tristan and the Mort Artu than have previously been allowed.

As regards the Prose Tristan, a later romance than the Prose Lancelot, the role of the source material has been reversed, so that the love story of Lancelot and Guenievre has had consider able influence on the romance of Tristan and Yseut as portrayed in the Prose Tristan. Two episodes have been selected for examination to illustrate this influence in terms of textual parallels: the abduction of Queen Yseut, and the madness of Tristan. The resultant observations, which include the study of structural as well as textual similarities , provide conclusive evidence in support of the theory that the Prose Lancelot served as source material for the Prose Tristan, and that episodes in this latter romance concerning Tristan and Yseut alone have clearly been modelled upon similar episodes in the Prose Lancelot.

McMaster University Library

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