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Topics were discussed in socil gtherings t the courts of gret ldies in the medievl epoch.

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  1.  Read a Personal Note to answer the following questions:

  1.  What do you know about Mari de France?
  2.  When was the given story written?
  3.  What do you know about the literature of that period?
  4.  Read the following text:

"It is not known whether it is a work of imagination but it is probable that love topics were discussed in social gatherings at the courts of great ladies in the medieval epoch. The following rules called Art of Courtly Love were set fourth and decided by Eleanor, Queen of England, Adele, Queen of France, Marie, Countess of Champagne, and Emengarde of Narbonne:

1) Avarice should be avoided.

  1.  The lover should keep himself chaste for the loved lady.
  2.  No attempt should be made to break up a correct love affair of other persons.
  3.  The love of a person whom one would be ashamed to marry should not be sought.
  4.  Falsehood should be entirely avoided.
  5.  Few should know of one's love.
  6.  One should serve Love and the commands of the loved lady obediently.
  7.  One should be modest in the enjoyment of love.
  8.  One should speak no evil.
  9.   A love affair must not be revealed.
  10.   Politeness and courtesy are required in all things.
  11.   In the enjoyment of love the desires of the loved one should not be exceeded".

3. Sum up the information you have got from the Personal Note and the text above and characterize the epoch in which the story is set.


  1.  Read the novella.

  1.  Answer the following questions:

  1.  Why did Eliduc make a decision of leaving Brittany?
  2.  What promise did he give to his wife on leaving her?
  3.  How did Eliduc become a king's favourite?
  4.  How did Eliduc get acquainted with Guilliadun?
  5.  Did Guilliadun know then that he was married?
  6.  Why did Eliduc have to return to Brittany?
  7.  Who took the decision to elope? What were the reasons?
  8.  What happened at sea?
  9.  Who restored Guilliadun to life?
  10.  What did Guildeluec do to free her husband?
  11.   Where did Eliduc, Guilliadun and Guildeluec finish their lives?

3. Give a summary of the text.

4. Read the novella again. As you read, a) find the following words and phrases used in the text, translate them; b) be ready to say what contexts they are used in; c) use them in the sentences of your own:


to swear hand on heart

to have sth on one’s conscience

to sever the umbilical cord

crusade v

next to nothing

dubious adj

to save sth from oblivion

scholar n

posterity n

underestimate v

to be faithful to smb

a marriage of trust and love

to break out phr v

to leave smb in charge of sth

to be slandered and traduced

(to leave/ keep smb) in the dark

to go into exile

heir n

besiege v

to face with ruin and disaster

mercenary n

tapestry n

uproar n

to mount the horse

to put smb to flight

traitor n

to be beside oneself (with)

good grace

to be in the lap of gods 

torment n 

to be under siege

malicious adj

to pay homage

to go astray

to fall head over heels in love

plead v

hound n

faint v

to break one’s oath to smb

to break a promise

intervene v

escort v

to change into a disguise

embroider v

hermit n

chapel n

betray v

convent n

monastery n

for the time being

to sit by the deathbed

exquisite adj

elope v

to give a hint

to take the veil

to restore to life

to be in the seventh heaven

perform many good deeds

omnipotent God

salvation n

5. As you read, a) write out epithets to describe Eliduc; b) make notes to be ready to give a detailed description of Guilliadun and Eliduc's first meetings; c) pick put the symbol which was used in The Ebony Tower. Think of its new meaning in the context. d) pay attention to the author's  unusual choice of the tense forms.

6. Summarize your observations and answer the following questions making use of your notes:

  1.  At the very beginning of the story, the author describes Eliduc as a model of his type. Do you agree with his point of view? What other epithets are used when Eliduc is concerned?
  2.  Why did Guilliadun elope with Eliduc? Would she do it if she knew that he was married?
  3.  Describe the meetings of Eliduc and Guilliadun in her father's palace. What can you say about their feelings?
  4.  What overshadowed Eliduc's happiness? What was the significance of the word of honour in the medieval epoch? Can we say that Eliduc kept his word in the end?
  5.  Reread the rules of courtly love given in the pretext tasks. What do you think of them? Do the characters of Eliduc follow these rules? Prove your point of view with the text.
  6.  Why did Guilliadun save Guildeluec? How can you characterize her actions?
  7.  Can you say that Guildeluec forgave Eliduc? Why? What would you do in her place? 
  8.  Comment of the ending of the story both from the contemporary and from the medieval points of view. Is it a happy one?
  9.  Sum up what has been said and give character sketches of the female heroines.
  10.  Give a character sketch of Eliduc, judging by his actions.
  11.  What common symbols do we come across in The Ebony Tower and Eliduc? What is their significance in the stories? Is the role played by these symbols in the second story changed in comparison with the one in the first story?
  12.  Compare the situation in which the heroes of the story found themselves to the one in The Ebony Tower.
  13.  Speak on the main message of Eliduc. Compare it to the one of The Ebony Tower.
  14.  Comment on the style of the author: a) What tense forms are predominant in the story? What is the reason for such an unusual choice of tense forms? b) Is the author "omnipotent"? Can he penetrate into the inner world of the heroes? What helps us reveal the characters' way of thinking?

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