The three narrative lays presented here form a sequel to the authors' French Arthurian Literature IV: Eleven Old French Narrative Lays, published in 2007.
No new edition of Ignaure has appeared since 1938 and in the meantime this poem has generated a considerable amount of critical comment, especially as it provides the first full-length example in medieval European literature of the theme of the "Eaten Heart". Oiselet recounts a bird's use of three truths as a means of escaping from the clutches of an uncultivated vilain. In the extant manuscripts these truths occur in two different orders, both of which are provided in the present edition. Amours, which follows the progress of a love affair between a nobleman and his beloved, has not been edited since 1878.
All three poems challenge our understanding of the term "lay", especially if we regard the lays of Marie de France as defining the principal features of this genre.
GLYN S. BURGESS is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Liverpool; LESLIE C. BROOK is Honorary Senior Research Fellow in French at the University of Birmingham.