2004
Volume 28, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0929-8592
  • E-ISSN: 2667-1689

Abstract

Abstract

Both in (‘The Knight with the Sleeve’), a Flemish Arthurian romance written in the second part of the thirteenth century, and in Lodewijk van Velthem’s Fifth Part of the (‘Mirror of History’), an early fourteenth-century continuation of Jacob van Maerlant’s voluminous world history (1284-1289), a frightening forest appears which is called (‘Forest without Mercy’). This correspondence is remarkable, for these Middle Dutch texts offer the oldest known occurences of a toponym not found in adjacent languages. Following the reasoning of Marijke Carasso-Kok, Thea Summerfield believes that Velthem has borrowed the name ‘Forest without Mercy’ from the Arthurian romance, which the chronicler may have known at the time: an adaptation of the story is inserted in the Velthem-owned (c. 1320-1330). As Summerfield argues, Velthem presents the English King Edward I as a second King Arthur, not only by stating this explicitly and having Edward enact the role of his predecessor in Round Table festivities, but also, when narrating Edward’s feats, by reminding listeners and readers of Arthurian events from the past as described in romances. One of these romances, according to Summerfield, is . After drawing his audience’s attention to this romance by using the singular name ‘Forest without Mercy’ again, Velthem in his chronicle – so Summerfield asserts – alludes to frightening incidents in the Arthurian as told in the Flemish story. This narrative strategy, Summerfield concludes, served Velthem’s purpose to prove the historicity of the adventures King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table once experienced. The current paper aims to prove that Summerfield’s argument is not supported by evidence present in Velthem’s text: apart from the shared toponym, the chronicle contains no intertextual references to . Therefore, its date of composition (1315-1317) is not valid as for the creation of the Flemish romance.

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