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(b Troyes; fl c1160–90). French trouvère, writer and poet. He was the author of the Arthurian romances and the earliest lyric poet in Old French. Although best known as the author of Perceval and Lancelot, he is also the earliest of the trouvère poet-composers whose name has come down to us. Some scholars have speculated that he was a converted Jew, owing to his unusual name and taking into account the presence of a large Jewish community in Troyes in the 12th century. He received a clerical education in Troyes, and later spent at least some time at the court of Henry I, Count of Champagne, where his presence is documented in the year 1172. Henry’s wife was Marie de Champagne, daughter of Eleanor of Aquitaine by her marriage to Louis VII of France; it was probably in Marie’s ‘court of love’ that Chrétien was active, and the themes of some of his romances were inspired by her. Because of the prominence of the ‘matière de Bretagne’ in Chrétien’s works, and the family connections of the court in Champagne with England, it has been suggested that Chrétien visited England, but this cannot be documented....