Dr. Robert Toombs Ivey is Associate Professor and Librarian at the University of Memphis. He earned his Ph.D. in Romance Philology – French Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as an MSLS. Dr. Ivey is the author of several journal articles and numerous book reviews.
2006 0-7734-5763-1 Li Chevaliers as deus espees is an old French romance in verse. Its theme is the quest for identity – the quest of a young knight to learn his real name. At King Arthur’s court, the young man, Gauvain’s squire, is known simply as the “Handsome Young Man,” until King Arthur knights him, giving him one sword, and then he unfastens the sword magically attached to The Lady of Cardigan, which none of the other knights were able to achieve. Then Sir Kay names him the “Knight with Two Swords.” After many adventures, the Knight with Two Swords encounters the grievously wounded Gaus de Norval, whom he strikes with a third sword, an enchanted but blood-stained one found at the Fountain of Marvels. The wound heals, the blood stain disappears, and the Knight with Two Swords reads his true name on the sword – Mériadeuc.
This poem is an excellent example of the later period of Arthurian verse romances. As such, there has been a resurgence of interest in it over the past ten years and a need for an updated critical edition to replace the Foerster edition of 1878. This edition contains a complete review of recent critical work, plus a thorough glossary and a discussion of the incorporation of Picard usages. This book will be of special interest to scholars of Old French language and literature and to students of Arthuriana.