By Chrétien de Troyes
Marvelous adventures abound in those courtly romances: Erec and Enide, Cligés, The Knight of the Cart, The Knight with the Lion, and The tale of the Grail.
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Adopting the constitution and subject matters of the Arthurian legend, Steinbeck created a "Camelot" on a shabby hillside above Monterey at the California coast and peopled it with a colourful band of knights. As Steinbeck chronicles their suggestions and feelings, temptations and lusts, he spins a story as compelling, and finally as touched via sorrow, because the recognized legends of the around desk.
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34). It is easy to make fun of Carol舗s overheated imagination, but we can never really do that, for we realize that the ugliness she perceives everywhere in Gopher Prairie is not incidental but spiritual. In the entire town there are 舠not a dozen buildings which suggested that, in the fifty years of Gopher Prairie舗s existence, the citizens had realized that it was either desirable or possible to make this, their common home, amusing or attractive舡 (p. 40). Likewise, when Carol founds a theater group in Gopher Prairie she is inspired by heady visions of Yeats, the sparkling wit of Shaw, and the Abbey Theatre and the scenic artistry of the great Gordon Craig; but the best that she and the town are able to come up with is a lowbrow farce called The Girl from Kankakee, which even she, after the event, must admit turned out to be 舠a bad play abominably acted舡 (p.
As an international celebrity in the 1920s, Lewis continued the peripatetic habits of his youth, dragging Gracie and their young son, Wells, around Europe舒which Gracie enjoyed舒and through various points west of New York, which she often did not. In France they were snubbed by their fellow expatriates the Hemingway-Stein crowd, who scorned their provincialism. In England they were intimidated by the Bloomsbury set; but they made an impression, of a sort, on other literary celebrities there. The brilliant critic and novelist Rebecca West found that after a few hours in Lewis舗s company she 舠ceased to look upon him as a human being.
This is what makes Main Street such a stunning achievement: While it succeeds in being 舠contemporary history,舡 capturing a particular place at a particular moment in time, it also speaks for our own time; it is remarkable how much of Main Street is still pertinent. 舡 Will Kennicott舗s breezy dismissal of legal procedure舒舠Whenever it comes right down to a question of defending Americanism and our constitutional rights, it舗s justifiable to set aside ordinary procedure舡 (pp. 425-426)舒can be read on almost any editorial page today.
Arthurian Romances (Penguin Classics) by Chrétien de Troyes