(ca. 1110–ca. 1175)
   Wace was a Norman French poet best known for writing the Roman de Brut, a poem of some 15,000 octosyllabic couplets in Old French that chronicles the legendary history of the kings of Britain, including a large section on King ARTHUR.
   Wace’s story is largely a translation and redaction of GEOFFREY OF MONMOUTH’s Latin prose chronicle HISTORIA REGUM BRITANNIAE (1138), the work that introduced the Arthurian legend into the mainstream of European literature.Wace is largely responsible for popularizing that legend in French. His Brut, completed, he says in its conclusion, in 1155, was dedicated (according to Wace’s later English translator, LAYAMON) to HENRY II’s queen, ELEANOR OF AQUITAINE. Wace reshaped his material probably to suit his patron: He eliminates some of the graphic violence of Geoffrey’s story, as well as some of the more fantastic portions, like the prophesies of Merlin.Wace also plays up the elements of COURTLY LOVE in the story, in particular the story of Uther Pendragon’s love for the Lady Ygerne that results in Arthur’s begetting. He also is the first writer to mention King Arthur’s Round Table—a wedding gift from Guenevere’s father. Also of interest are Wace’s comments about the existence, in the mid-12th century, of an oral tradition about Arthur among Breton storytellers—a tradition that included the “Breton hope”: the legend among the Celtic people that Arthur would return again from the Isle of Avalon.
   Not much is known about Wace’s life, but he does give a few pieces of autobiographical information in his later work, the Roman de Rou. He says that he was born in the early 12th century on the Isle of Jersey. He was educated at Caen in Normandy and later in the Ile de France, probably either in Paris or Chartres.He later returned to Caen between 1130 and 1135, where he was appointed clerc lisant (reader) to King Henry I. About this time he also began to write, apparently to supplement his income. He wrote at least three early texts: a “Life of St. Margaret,” a “Life of St. Nicholas,” and “The Conception of Our Lady,” all of which are translations from Latin into the Old French vernacular. After the success of his Brut, Henry II commissioned Wace to write a verse chronicle of his own ancestors, the dukes of Normandy. Wace began the work, entitled the Roman de Rou, around 1160. Germane to this enterprise, he is said to have accompanied Henry II to Fécamp in 1162, where the remains of Dukes Richard I and Richard II were reburied. About this time Henry also made him canon of the church at Bayeux. By 1175, he had composed 16,000 lines of his history. But for reasons unknown,Henry replaced Wace as court historian with BENOÎT DE STE.-MAURE (author of the Roman de Troie), who was assigned the task of finishing the work. That is the last we know of Wace, though it is likely that he died at Bayeux about this time.
   Wace’s contribution to the popularization of Arthurian legend is enormous. His French text certainly influenced MARIE DE FRANCE and CHRÉ-TIEN DE TROYES, as well as subsequent French writers in the Arthurian tradition. But also, as the source of Layamon’s Brut, his influence on the history of the Arthurian legend in English was equally strong.
   ■ Foulon, Charles. “Wace.” In Arthurian Literature in the Middle Ages, edited by Roger Sherman Loomis, 94–103. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959.
   ■ Mason, Eugene, trans. Arthurian Chronicles: Wace and Layamon. Medieval Academy Reprints for Teaching 35. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1996.
   ■ Weiss, Judith, trans.Wace’s Roman De Brut: Text and Translation. Exeter Medieval Texts and Studies. 2nd ed. Exeter, U.K.: University of Exeter Press, 2003.

Encyclopedia of medieval literature. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Wace — présente le Roman de Rou à Henri II. Activités clerc lisant Naiss …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Wace — (sprich: [vas]) (* um 1110; † nach 1174) auch Guace und Gaice (südnormannisch und französisch) war ein normannischer Dichter, der dem Hof des englischen Königs Heinrichs II. und seiner Gattin Eleonores von Aquitanien nahestand. Seine Bedeutung… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Wace —   [vas], Robert Wace, anglonormannischer Dichter, * auf Jersey um 1100, ✝ Caen (?) um 1174; Kanonikus in Bayeux, schrieb Heiligenleben (u. a. »La vie de Saint Nicolas«, »La vie de Sainte Marguerite«) sowie zwei Reimchroniken, von denen »Le roman… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Wace — [wās, wäs] fl. 12th cent.; Anglo Norman poet & chronicler: also, prob. erroneously, called Robert Wace …   English World dictionary

  • Wace — (spr. Wuehs), Robert (Richard), geb. zu Ende des 11. Jahrh. auf der Insel Jersey, anglonormannischer Dichter; studirte in Caen Theologie, lebte dann mehre Jahre in andern Städten Frankreichs u. in England, kehrte hierauf nach Caen zurück, erhielt …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Wace — (nicht Robert), altfranz. Dichter, geb. um 1100 auf der Insel Jersey, gest. nach 1174, besuchte die Schule in Caen, studierte Theologie in Paris und wurde dann unter Heinrich I. von England Geistlicher in Caen. Außer einigen Legenden hat er zwei… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Wace — (spr. wehß; Verkürzung von Wistace = Eustachius), anglonormann. Dichter, geb. um 1110 auf Guernsey, gest. nach 1174 als Kanoniker zu Bayeux; Hauptwerke: »Le Roman de Brut« (hg. von Le Roux de Lincy, 2 Bde., 1836 38) und »Le Roman de Rou« (hg. von …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Wace — (Uehß), Robert, geb. um 1090 auf der zu England gehörenden Insel Jersey, gest. um 1174 als Canonicus zu Bayeux (s. d.), anglo normannischer Dichter, lieferte in Reimen den »roman de Brut« (neu hrsg. Rouen 1836–38) u. setzte diesen fort im »roman… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Wace — (Robert) (v. 1100 v. 1175) poète anglo normand: Roman de Brut (1155), libre adaptation française en vers octosyllabiques de l Historia regum Britanniae de Geoffroi de Monmouth. V. breton (roman) …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Wace — For the educational qualification WACE , see Western Australian Certificate of Education. A memorial to Wace was set up in his native island of Jersey …   Wikipedia

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