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As stated in many scholarly books, there are two "versions" of Prose Tristan: short version (attributed to Luce de Gat) and long version (attributed to Helie de Boron).

But I cannot understand why these texts are called "versions", instead of "parts". From my point of view, it is just two successive parts, like Volume 1 and Volume 2.

Maybe the "version" is just incorrect term, or maybe I don't have enough understanding about something?

To be precise, at this time I haven't read not the first nor the second version of the text itself. Instead, I started my journey from reading scholarly books, like this one.

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It's less of a myth thing and more of terminology. It's not called "volume" because that would imply authorial or official continuity. Same with "part". Volumes and parts assume a whole, but Helie de Boron's work builds off of and even reworks parts of Luce de Gat's version. That makes it a true version and not just a sequel.

For a general overview, check out J. Douglas Bruce's Evolution of Arthurian Romance.

  • Do we know that Helie builds off of Bron's work? This source (which seems reputable) says that we don't know for sure what the role of each author was in the text. – user62 Nov 20 '16 at 20:06
  • I was going off this line: "The new book, too, is to be translated from the Latin, but the author intends also to draw upon Master Walter Map's Lancelot, the great books of Robert de Boron (doubtless, the Pseudo-Robert cycle) and the book of Luce de Gaut (i. e. the prose Tristan in its earlier form)." – C. M. Weimer Nov 20 '16 at 20:10
  • @Hamlet Sorry, I forgot to tag you! – C. M. Weimer Nov 21 '16 at 19:28
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(C. M. Weimer's answer is correct. I started writing my answer, took a break, came back and saw that he had posted his. So now you have two answers.)

The word part implies that the story was split up. If a book was split into a "part one" or a "part two", I would expect that part one would contain only the beginning of the story, and that part two would only contain the end of the story. To read the full story I would need to read part one first, and then part two.

The word version implies that the overall story is the same, but that the text has been revised or interpreted differently. For example, Stack Exchange allows people to edit content. If I edited your question, it would result in a new version of the question.

The website Medieval Francophone Literary Cultures, which is run by several universities, claims that the names Luce de Gat and Helie de Boron are pseudonyms. It also claims that while it's likely that "one author began the project of the prose Tristan and his work was then extended by another," it's hard to know for sure as "the relative contributions of 'Luce' and 'Helie' remain unclear".

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