Bullish on Love and Adventure: Chivalry as Speculation in the German Arthurian Romances
Arthuriana 20.3 (2010)
Adventure and love are speculative in the modern sense. In the romances of Hartmann von Aue and Wolfram von Eschenbach, they tend continually to be oriented towards a conclusion or closure that has not yet occurred, a final result that has not yet been established, a game that has not yet been decided, as this essay endeavors to show.
Nearing the end of his joint adventures in the company of his wife Enite, Hartmann von Aue’s Erec catches sight of the castle Brandigan, which will be the site of his last and greatest challenge called joie de la curt (Joy of the Court). By this point, Erec has seemingly done all he needs to do to reconstitute the honor he had lost due to an overly strong amorous and erotic attachment to Enite and a resulting neglect of chivalric action. It has long been considered that this final adventure is intended to provide a succinct version of Erec and Enite’s own story. Mabonagrin, the knight against whom Erec will contend, has isolated himself from the court because of a vow he has made to his beloved lady to remain with her forever in a secluded garden.