Master of Arts (MA)


French Studies

Document Type



This thesis illustrates the distinction established by Maurice Blanchot in Le Livre à venir, between novel and narration, as it appears in Chrétien de Troyes' Le conte du Graal ou le roman de Perceval. The novel accompanies the hero to the meeting with the Sirens, while the narration constitutes the meeting itself. Once the hero had his meeting with the Sirens, in Perceval's case he has the privilege of hearing God's names, he disappears from the novel, entering the realm of silence, which dominates the narration. In leaving the novel, Perceval gains access to a superior meaning, hidden to the reader, which will save him from the futile repetition of the same experience. What this paper demonstrates is that Perceval and Gauvain as well, had several meetings with the Sirens, but they either willingly ignored them or did not even see them in the first place. The reason is no other than their remarkable rhetorical skills which would be of no value outside the novel. If Perceval makes the vow to silence and saves himself, it is because he realizes that after several years of glorious combat, chivalry has nothing new to offer him. On the contrary, Gauvain, too superficial to become aware of his own degradation, will remain faithful to the world of the novel and to the Arthurian fiction.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

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Committee Chair

Alexandre Leupin