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Tristan and Isolde Source
Tristan and Isolde Sources
Tristan and Isolde Narrative History

The following information is compiled from this source:
Arnold Sanders. English 222 . Goucher College. 15 Nov. 2005

Early Celtic versions in ScotlandDrystan & Essylt against Drystan’s uncle March

c. 1150:
"Standard" version arises Tristan story gains the love potion and Isolde elements

c. 1160-70:
German "Tristan" of Thomaswritten for Henry II and/or Eleanor of Aquitaine; emphasizes courtly manners

German "Tristan" by Eilhart von Oberge

c. 1190:
Norman French "Tristan" by Broul

c. 1210
Gottfried von Strasbourg’s Tristansource for all later "Tristan" narratives
Tristan and Isolde
Tristan and Isolde Sources
Tristan and Isolde Narrative History

Thomas' Tristram

Gottfried: Folie Tristan c.1200 Old Norse

Luite Tristan c. 1200 Saga Version

Chrétien de Troyes: Conte del Graal c.1210

Prose Tristan c.1300 Vulgate Cycle

Sir Tristrem: c.1300 (Northern stanzaic ME)

Sir Thomas Malory: Le Morte Darthur; also based on the Prose Tristan; 1469 MS./1485 print edition

Matthew Arnold: Tristram and Iseult, 1852

Richard Wagner: Tristan und Isolde, 1857-59

Tennyson: The Last Tournament, 1871

Swinburne: Trystram of Lyonesse, 1882
Tristan and Isolde
Tristan and Isolde Sources
Tristan and Isolde Narrative History

c. 1210 Tristan

Birth and Early Life
(A) Tristan’s father, Rivalin, and his mother, Blanchefleur’s tragic death in childbirth

(B) Tristan's service with his uncle, Mark, King of Cornwall, including duel with Morholt of Ireland, the poisoned wound caused by a splinter from Morholt’s sword, and his cure (disguised as "Tantris") by Isolde, Morholt’s neice

(C) Seeking a bride for Mark in Ireland, including the dragon, the false steward, Isolde’s discovery that the splinter in Tristan's wound matches the gap in her dead uncle's sword, her confrontation of him in his bath, his trial

Tristan and Isolde - First Love
(A) Tristan and Isolde mistakenly take the love potion Isolde’s mother intended for Isolde and King Mark; the wedding night and the maid, Brangäne's substitution to conceal Isolde’s lost virginity

(B) Plots against the lovers, and the lovers' allies, including Gandin's boon, Marjodoc the Steward, Mark's questioning of Isolde, Melot the dwarf and the lime tree, Isolde's ordeal of the hot iron, Petitcrieau, and Tristan's return to court

Tristan and Isolde—Banished
A) The "love idyll" in which Tristan and Isolde live in the forest in the Cave of Lovers

(B) The hunt and Mark's discovery of the lovers

(C) Tristan and Isolde return to court

Tristan and Isolde—Discovered
(A) Gottfried on women, surveillance of lovers and prohibition of the affair by jealous mate

(B) Isolde as Eve and the "Forbidden Fruit" of the garden leads to lovers' discovery by Mark

(C) Tristan's pledge of loyalty and Isolde's implicit promise of suicide should Tristan die

(D) Tristan flees court

Isolde of the White Hands—the "Other Woman"
(A) Tristan flees to Normandy, Isolde's lament

(B) The Duke of Arundel, Isolde of the White Hands, and her brother, Kaedin li frains introduced; T defeats Arundel's enemies and gains fame at court

(C) Tristan becomes "attached" to Isolde of the White Hands, despairing of returning to Isolde
Tristan and Isolde
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