The chronology of French romance is notoriously vague, and recent contributions have shown that not even the dates of the romances of Chrétien himself are beyond dispute.1 Short of clues in the texts themselves, there is precious little to go on, especially as the habits and practices of scribes, and the lateness of most of the manuscripts, often render the evidence of the language untrustworthy. It is probably on the whole not worthwhile devising complex and speculative arguments for the precise dating of this or that romance; we should abandon the passion for precise dating where it can only remain speculative and be glad to free ourselves of the pitfalls inherent in it. Not the least of these pitfalls is the danger of allowing a neat hypothesis on the development or evolution of some aspect of Arthurian romance to impose an equally neat, but artificial, order on a corpus of texts. I shall therefore not lay much stress here on whether the author of one text knew another or not, except insofar as the general chronology of the genre renders this indisputable. On the other hand, the notion of generations of romances seems to be a more useful one, one which may prove more useful than attempts to date individual texts.2