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Robert de Boron, Perceval, fiction literature, Arthurian romance


Robert de Baron, thought to have been responsible for changing Chrétien's graal into a Christian relic and his tale of Perceval into a cycle, was also an innovator when it came to the convention of the bookish source for his story. Marie de France and Chrétien both were careful to supply their poems with some kind of external authority, which was often book-like, if not in fact always a written text. Chrétien twice refers to actual books; Marie de France's sources were presumably all oral, but she treats them as though they were written, that is, deserving the same treatment as the venerable texts of antiquity. Robert, however, goes far beyond simply justifying his story by reference to an external, bookish authority; he actually brings his source within the fiction itself, and shows it being created. Other writers of Arthurian romance will take up this same device.