Twelfth century poet, and popularizer of the Arthurian Romance. He claims to be from Troyes, not far from Paris, and names Marie de Champagne (daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine) as one of his patrons. Only five romances can be definitely attributed to him:
There are also five romances he alludes to in his own work which are missing:
- The Commandments: his version of the Remedia Amoris by Ovid
- The Art of Love: Ovid's Ars Amorica
- The Shoulder Bite
- The Romance of the Nightingale: likely based on the Philomea episode of Ovid's Metamorphosis.
- Tristan and Enid
There is also a romance called William of England which some attribute to him.
The most significant contributions of Chretien to Western
literature is his introduction of the Grail quest, and the use of interweaving storylines, wherein he will pick up a storyline, continue it for a while, then drop it for another, only to pick it up again later, tying everything up very neatly in the end.
Sadly, his greatest work, Perceval is unfinished. For centuries, people have tried to construct not only an ending, but the meaning of the quest.