‘Que nus contes de ce n’amende’: Chrétien de Troyes and the assertion of copyright

Leah Tether*, Keith Busby

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This study explores a statement made by the twelfth-century poet Chrétien de Troyes in his Conte du Graal (c. 1181–90), which includes the line ‘Que nus contes de ce n’amende’ [because no tale improves on the retelling], under the light of a possible relationship with the notion of pre-print publishing. In the context of the current scholarly upsurge of interest in ‘medieval publishing’, and through an analysis of similar phrases found both in other medieval romances and in other of Chrétien’s works, this article proposes we should understand this phrase in a dual sense: on the one hand, as an internal narrative device to avoid repetition, and – importantly on the other – as an outward-facing warning against the alteration of his work in its retelling, functioning in some ways akin to a modern declaration of copyright.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalJournal of the International Arthurian Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 Sept 2023

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Medieval Studies


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