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마리 드 프랑스의 로망스 읽기 : 『란발』 연구
Marie de France's Reading of Romance: A Study of Lanval

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    This paper is to study how Marie de France has differentiated her stories from the traditional romances by analyzing her lai (a short romance), Lanval, in a feminist point of view. Although Lanval is an Arthurian romance, it deals with Arthur and his courtly world in quite a different perspective; rather, it portrays a bleaker side of that “glorious” male-dominant society. In the Prologue of her Lais, Marie herself proclaims that her stories would not follow traditional ones, mostly written by male writers. Marie's romance, in a sense, resembles today's soap operas which usually depict everyday lives of common people, focusing on relatively trivial themes. Lanval is neither about knightly behaviors nor about romantic courtly affairs; it is simply about erotic desire of ordinary humans and about women's power that dismantles the adamant citadel of patriarchy. Arthur, supposedly an ideal king, appears both as a weak king and an uxorious husband. The Knights of the Round Table are also weak and childish―they dislike Lanval just because he is a foreigner and a perfect knight. In this context, it is women's power, for good or ill, that dominates the world of men. Queen Guinevere manages to manipulate Arthur and the legal codes of his ideal court. Lanval's supernatural lady dwarfs the heroic status of Arthur and his knights. She takes their knightliness from them, making them simply booby knights. Also, at the very heart of the story, there is a fatal beauty contest which ridicules the whole system of a so-called ideal society. Like Chaucer's Wife of Bath's Tale, Lanval seems to be a frontal assault on patriarchy, which parodies both the heroic world of Arthur and the genre romance itself. Although the story is quite absurd in the male heroic point of view, it eventually tears the Arthurian world to pieces.


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