Knight-errant  

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"Pierre de Blois, who wrote in the twelfth century, complains that the horses of the knights were more frequently loaded with implements of gluttony and drunkenness, than with arms fit for battle. "They are burdened, "says he, "not with weapons, but wine; not with javelins, but cheeses; not with bludgeons, but bottles; not with spears, but with spits."."--History of Fiction (1814) by John Colin Dunlop


"Many an argument did he have with the curate of his village as to which had been the better knight, Palmerin of England or Amadis of Gaul." --Don Quixote (1605) by Miguel de Cervantes


“I’m a fairy tale princess in search of a knight and I never believed dreams come true. I’m just like you, I’m caught up in a one night love affair.”--"I'm Caught Up (In a One Night Love Affair)" (1979) by Inner Life

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A knight-errant is a figure of medieval chivalric romance literature. The adjective errant (meaning "wandering, roving") indicates how the knight-errant would wander the land in search of adventures to prove his chivalric virtues, either in knightly duels or in some other pursuit of courtly love.

Description

The knight-errant is a character who has broken away from the world of his origin, in order to go off on his own to right wrongs or to test and assert his own chivalric ideals. He is motivated by idealism and goals that are often illusory. In medieval Europe, knight-errantry existed in literature, though fictional works from this time often were presented as non-fiction.

The template of the knight-errant were the heroes of the Round Table of the Arthurian cycle such as Gawain, Lancelot, and Percival. The quest in pursuit of which these knights wandered the lands is that of the Holy Grail, such as in Perceval, the Story of the Grail written by Chrétien de Troyes in the 1180s.

The character of the wandering knight existed in romantic literature as it developed during the late 12th century. However, the term "knight-errant" was to come later; its first extant usage occurs in the 14th-century poem Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. Knight-errantry tales remained popular with courtly audiences throughout the Late Middle Ages.

In the 16th century, the genre became highly popular in the Iberian Peninsula; Amadis de Gaula was one of the most successful knight-errantry tales of this period. In Don Quixote (1605), Miguel de Cervantes burlesqued the romances and their popularity. Tales of knight-errantry then fell out of fashion for two centuries, until they re-emerged in the form of the historical novel in Romanticism.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Knight-errant" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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