Tristan en prose (Anonymous)

This text is a reworking of the story of Tristan and Iseult, adulterous lovers who are involved in a love triangle with Tristan’s uncle, King Marc of Cornwall. The Tristan en Prose text begins with this plot, but includes additions and interpolations that tie it more firmly to Arthurian legend and to the Matière de Bretagne as a whole.

Among the French-language texts copied in Italy from the 13th until the 15th century, the Tristan en Prose was easily the most popular and widely disseminated throughout the peninsula; listed below are 18 manuscripts that can be securely located in Italy. One of the manuscripts contains a text in Franco-Italian, while the others are in a language more appropriately designated as French. There are also several extant fragments of manuscripts which were created in Italy.

Because the Tristan story was so popular in Italy and elsewhere, a great deal of confusion has arisen concerning the names of various texts that share similar material. In particular, the titles Roman de Tristan, or simply Tristan, have been appended to texts that are more properly entitled Tristan en Prose. For a clarification of the various texts that share the Tristan name and the manuscripts in which they are found, see Arlima.

The manuscripts below can all be comfortably designated as Tristan en prose.

Manuscripts

London, British Library, add. 23929, Padua (14th century)
London, British Library, Harley 49, Italy (15th century)
London, British Library, Harley 4389, Italy (14th century)
Geneva, Bodmer Collection, ms 187, Italy (14th century)
Grenoble, Biblioteca Municipale, ms 287, Padua (1298)
Innsbruck, Universitatsbibliothek, fragment B.4, Northern Italy (late 13th or early 14th century) (fragment)
Milan, Bibloteca Nazionale Braidense, AC.X.10, Northern Italy (14th century) (fragment)
Modena, Biblioteca Estense, α.F.3.15, Northern Italy (14th century) (fragment)
Modena, Biblioteca Estense α.T.3.11, Northern Italy (14th century) (fragment)
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 340, Italy (15th century)
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 343, Pavia or Milan (1380-1385)
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 750, Southern Italy (1278)
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 755, Milan (14th century)
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 756-57, Naples (14th century)
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 760, Pisa (late 13th or early 14th century)
Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fr. 1463, Genoa (late 13th or early 14th century)
Pistoia, Biblioteca Forteguerriana, Documenti antichi 1, Italy (13th century)

Secondary Literature

See Arlima.