Tristan in the Underworld a Study of Gottfried Von Strassburg's Tristan Together with the Tristran of Thomas

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Offers a fresh interpretation of Gottfried von Strassburg's `classic' rendition of the Tristan and Isolde legend. Argues that the German work has too often been read in isolation from its main source of inspiration, the Tristran of the French poet Thomas, and he therefore adopts a comparative approach to the German and French texts, drawing in the versions of Gottfried's German continuators when applicable. Pursues the interdisciplinary approach further by analysing the place of the Continental texts within a wider European context and suggests thematic links between the insular, Celtic origins of the Tristan legend and its later, continental flowering. The findings of recent archaeological and folkloric studies are subsumed into his study where they possess literary relevance. He finds that the Thomas/Gottfried branch of the legend has little to do with an uncritical glorification of `courtly love' as that term has been commonly understood. Rather, the tension arising from within the amorous triangle of Tristan,Isolde, and Marke is finally resolved on terms favourable to the collective and the adultery is not finally permitted to injure the fabric of courtly civilization which Tintagel symbolises. Gottfried von Strassburg emerges less as a critic of the chivalric order than as a staunch defender of the feudal status quo.

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