contributor.author: Paul Vincent Rockwell

title.none: Kelly, Chretien de Troyes (Paul Vincent Rockwell)

identifier.other: baj9928.0401.018 04.01.18

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: Paul Vincent Rockwell, Amherst College, pvrockwell@amherst.edu

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 2004

identifier.citation: Kelly, Douglas. Chretien de Troyes: An Analytic Bibliography, Supplement One. Series: Research Bibliographies and Checklists: New Series, vol. 3. London: Tamesis, 2002. Pp. ix, 582. ISBN: $85.00 1-85566-083-0.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: The Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 04.01.18

Kelly, Douglas. Chretien de Troyes: An Analytic Bibliography, Supplement One. Series: Research Bibliographies and Checklists: New Series, vol. 3. London: Tamesis, 2002. Pp. ix, 582. ISBN: $85.00 1-85566-083-0.

Reviewed by:

Paul Vincent Rockwell
Amherst College
pvrockwell@amherst.edu

In 1976 Douglas Kelly published an analytical bibliography that provided scholars and graduate students with as comprehensive a survey of Chretien de Troyes scholarship as was possible at the time. It was Kelly's stated intention to include everything that had been published on Chretien up to that date, rather than to begin his bibliography at some arbitrary starting point. Consequently some of the citations dated as far back as the mid-nineteenth century. It is a testament to the thoroughness of that first effort that the supplement reviewed here includes relatively few additions and corrections to the original list. Most of those that appear in the supplement date to the nineteenth century. The 1976 volume, which numbered a modest 150 pages, proved to be such a useful research tool that it accounts at least in part for the explosion in the growth of Chretien de Troyes studies that occurred in the decades following its publication. The omissions were so few in number that researchers who consulted it could proceed with the confidence that they were aware of all the essential materials relevant to their chosen topic.

The same dedication to producing a comprehensive research tool can be seen in the volume reviewed here, which has been conceived as a supplement, despite the fact that it is roughly four times as long as the original bibliography. (Evidence of the spread of Chretien scholarship can be seen in the fact that the list of abbreviations alone has been expanded from the 2.25 pages found in the original to an impressive 34 pages in the supplement.)

In an effort to extend the scope of the bibliography beyond materials published in Western European languages, Kelly obtained the assistance of a number of scholars with expertise in the languages with which he was unfamiliar. Consequently the supplement includes entries on materials that were published in Polish, Hungarian, Welsh, Rumanian, and Japanese. (In a concession to Western scholars, Japanese entries have been translated into English and include a notation indicating their language of publication.) A few items written in Russian and other Eastern European languages have also received entries. Kelly offers his regrets that he was unable to obtain the assistance of a Russian scholar. Presumably, some omissions of materials published in those languages are more likely to have occurred. But they should be few in number and easy to forgive, given Kelly's truly Herculean efforts to provide such a comprehensive list of bibliographical citations.

Scholars faced with deciphering entries in languages that they do not know should receive some assistance from the system of classification into which all entries are organized. Further assistance can be obtained by consulting the abstracts of these materials that can often be found in the annual Bibliographical Bulletin of the International Arthurian Society. If an abstract exists for any of the items listed in the Supplement, its appropriate BBIAS volume and entry number is included at the end of the corresponding citation in Kelly's volume.

As in the original 1976 checklist, all items listed in the supplement have been numbered and lettered according to a fairly simple system of categories and sub-categories to which each has been assigned. In order to avoid confusion, the categories remain essentially the same as those in the 1976 bibliography. (Moreover, each category retains the same letter designation that it carried in the original list.) The numbering of items in the supplement picks up where the 1976 bibliography left off. For example, the first new item in category F (Rhetoric, Poetics and Stylistics), subcategory "a" (General Studies) is numbered 57, since there were 56 items in the corresponding category of the 1976 checklist. Reprints of materials that appeared in the original volume carry the same number as the original entry along with references to where they can be found. Materials that properly fall under more than one heading are cross-referenced by both entry number and author. (Although I did not check them all, I have found no errors committed in this cross-referencing scheme.) So seamless is the transition from the 1976 text to the supplement that one might wonder why the 1976 list was not simply included in the 2002 publication, which could have condensed all of this valuable information into one handy volume. Should the editors choose to produce an electronic edition of this work in the future, I would hope that they would integrate the two lists into one single database.

Each of the general categories, a list of which is included at the end of this review, is preceded by a short general commentary on critical developments that have appeared in the area since 1976. Some might object that literary criticism and philology have evolved considerably since 1976 and that the categories under which each item is classified are too general or out-dated to be of much use to the modern Chretien scholar. Others might object to the fact that the most recent critical approaches have all been lumped together into one general category. I respectfully disagree with these objections. Had a more detailed system of categorization been used, the cross-referencing of entries would have become maddeningly complex. Moreover, if the categories had proliferated sufficiently to account for the nuances of modern Chretien scholarship, Kelly's choice of where to classify each item would have been much more subjective and consequently more contentious. As it is, Kelly's system should prove to be very useful for the vast majority of Chretien scholars. As far as I can tell, no important work has been excluded from the bibliography. Despite their generality, each category contains sufficient information to assist scholars to zero in on materials that might be pertinent to their research. More importantly, the system will also help researchers avoid those materials that seem to have nothing to do with their chosen topic. In this way especially, Kelly's checklist is far superior to even the most comprehensive electronic sources of bibliographical information.

Students who are planning to write dissertations on Chretien de Troyes might find the list a bit daunting. Regardless of their critical orientation, they have a lot of material to master before their work is done. They can take solace, however, in the fact that Kelly has already completed for them the most tedious component of preparing such a project. Chretien scholars owe Douglas Kelly yet another debt of gratitude for having provided the community with an indispensable research tool that, even in an electronic age, should continue to be consulted for decades to come.

General Categories:

A: EditionsB: Problems of EditingC: BibliographyD: Critical Review of ScholarshipE: General Studies on ChretienF: Rhetoric, Poetics and StylisticsG: Topos, Motif, and ImageH: Romance Narrative: Form--Structure--Characterization--GenreJ: Allegory and SymbolismK: Language and LinguisticsL: Adaptation and IntertextualityM: Learned SourcesN: Non-Learned SourcesP: InfluencesQ: Literary History and SociologyR: Biography and ChronologyS: Problems of Courtly LoveT: The GrailU: Modern Interpretative Methodologies and ApproachesV: The ChansonsW: Works of Disputed AttributionX: Illustration