Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M.T. Anderson. March 14, 2017. Candlewick Press, 134 p. ISBN: 9780763659394.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

Eager for glory and heedless of others, Sir Yvain sets out from King Arthur’s court and defeats a local lord in battle, unknowingly intertwining his future with the lives of two compelling women: Lady Laudine, the beautiful widow of the fallen lord, and her sly maid Lunette. In a stunning visual interpretation of a 12th century epic poem by Chrétien de Troyes, readers are — at first glance — transported into a classic Arthurian romance complete with errant knights, plundering giants, and fire-breathing dragons. A closer look, however, reveals a world rich with unspoken emotion. Striking, evocative art by Andrea Offermann sheds light upon the inner lives of medieval women and the consequences Yvain’s oblivious actions have upon Laudine and Lunette. Renowned author M. T. Anderson embraces a new form with a sophisticated graphic novel that challenges Yvain’s role as hero, delves into the honesty and anguish of love, and asks just how fundamentally the true self can really change.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Violence

 

Author & Illustrator Interviews

 

Reviews

Booklist (December 15, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 8))
Grades 8-11. This adaptation of Chrétien de Troyes’ medieval poem beautifully ties together period art and imagery with stylish visual storytelling. When Yvain, one of Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, falls in love with Laudine, the wife of the man he killed in a duel, he’s ecstatic when Laudine is convinced to marry him, despite the hatred she bears for her husband’s killer. But Yvain fails to keep a promise, she spurns him, and he spends his tormented days contritely fighting to regain his honor and win her back. Anderson makes it clear, however, that all is not rosy: Laudine is politically savvy, and her reconciliation has nothing to do with love, despite her guileless husband’s joy at the end. Offermann’s swirling, evocative artwork, in muted tones and stylized figures reminiscent of tapestries, does an excellent job of depicting both action-heavy battle scenes and expressive moments full of emotional heft. Teens who might balk at reading an epic poem will likely be surprised and delighted by Anderson and Offermann’s thoughtful, entertaining, and provocative presentation of this centuries-old story.

Horn Book Magazine (March/April, 2017)
The storyline of this graphic novel retelling of a twelfth-century epic poem is straightforward enough: after slaying Sir Esclados, Sir Yvain, a young knight-errant from King Arthur’s court, falls madly in love with and marries the lady Laudine, Esclados’s widow. Shortly after their marriage, Yvain fails to keep a promise, and Laudine denounces him. Yvain determines to become worthy of her forgiveness by defending others, not for glory, but out of compassion. The story ends with an overjoyed Yvain reuniting with Laudine: a classic closure where true love triumphs. And yet, Anderson and Offermann offer something very different from a traditional chivalric tale here, putting as much emphasis on Laudine’s sorrow as on Yvain’s adventures. This retelling is a tempestuous counter-story that challenges perceived notions of love by eliciting darker emotions of doubt, confusion, and even rage in examining women’s roles in relationships and society. The writer and artist both effectively capture Laudine’s indignation, resignation, and ultimate fate. Readers cannot help but empathize upon observing her constant sorrowful expressions juxtaposed with those of Yvain’s jubilation—both skillfully depicted by Offermann. Anderson’s spare, matter-of-fact narration, set against Offerman’s muted earth tones, detailed small panels, sweeping spreads, and swirling, turbulent motifs, further ensures that readers’ hearts are as tormented as Laudine’s. Bagieu, (born 22 January 1982 Paris), is a French illustrator and comic designer. She became known for her comic blog My quite fascinating life.

About the Author

Matthew Tobin Anderson (M. T. Anderson), (1968- ) is an author, primarily of picture books for children and novels for young adults. Anderson lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

His website is www.mt-anderson.com.

 

Around the Web

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion on Amazon

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion on Goodreads

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion on JLG

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion Publisher Page

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