The gem in the crown of Middle Dutch Arthurian romance, the Roman van Walewein embodies the transformation of popular folktale into courtly romance; in its rich variety of Arthurian motifs, it stands as an equal to the masterpiece of English romance, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. The framework of the romance is a tripartite series of quests, in which the hero, Walewein, must acquire and relinquish successive marvellous objects. Events are set in motion after Arthur and his knights have completed their meal, when a flying chess set enters the hall; Walewein embarks on a series of quests to capture it and bring it back to Arthur, but to do so he must first acquire the Sword of the Two Rings for King Wonder, and subsequently the fair Princess Ysabele for King Amoraen/Amorijs. A particularly notable feature of this romance is the way in which Walewein emerges from it as the epitome of knightly virtue, at a time when in the French tradition Gauvain's reputation had sunk to its lowest. This edition of the text, accompanied by facing English translation, will bring this important work to a wider audience; it is accompanied by an introduction, variants and rejected readings, and critical notes. David F. Johnson is Professor of English, Florida State University; Geert H.M. Claassens is Professor of Middle Dutch Literature at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.
Literature-Fiction, History-Criticism, Movements-Periods, Arthurian-Romance,