Atalogrenant, Calogrenans, Calogrenant, Calogrenanz, Calogrenaus, Calogreuand, Calogrevant, Calogrinant, Colegrevaunt, Colgrevance, Colgrevaunce, Colgrevnce, Colgrevunce, Galogrevant, Galogrinans, Galogrinant, Kalebrant, Kalocreant, Kalogrenant, Kalogreuant, Kalogrian, Qualogrenans, Qualogrenaus
This good-looking and seemingly good-natured knight from Gorre (Gore), and of Arthur’s Round Table appears in the opening of Chrétien’s Yvain, where he tells a group of notable auditors, including Ywaine, Dodinel, Sagramore, Kay, Gawaine, and, eventually, Guenevere, the story of his adventures seven years earlier in Broceliande Forest.
These adventures duplicate those his cousin Ywaine later seeks and completes, except that Calogrenant was defeated by the champion of the marvelous spring (Esclados) – so that in retelling the story his aim is to inform and entertain, rather than boast.
In two versions of the Yvain story, Calogrenant’s tale of an enchanted fountain in Broceliande prompts Yvain to seek the adventure. His countersdpart in Welsh legend, in this respect, is Cynon. In Heinrich von dem Türlin’s Diu Crône, Calogrenant is present at the Grail Castle when Gawaine concludes the Grail Quest, but an enchantment puts him to sleep before he can witness the marvels of the Grail.
According to the Vulgate romances, he joined Arthur’s company in the early days of the king’s reign, fighting against the Saxons at Carhaix and Aneblayse, and against the rebellious kings at the battle of Bedegraine. He appears as a stock character in other places.
During the Grail Quest, he came to a chapel and found Lionel about to murder Bors. In defense of Bors, Calogrenant dueled with Lionel (Bors was praying and refused to fight) and was eventually killed. He prayed just before Lionel struck the killing blow and achieved holy absolution. When Lionel decapitated him, his blood flowed milky white, spilled on the ground, and caused enchanted flowers to grow perennially in that spot. A hermitage at the location was later named after him.
Malory also recounts his death at the hands of Lionel but later, confusingly, reports that Calogrenant was present at the healing of Sir Urry. Malory gives him a second death outside the chamber of Queen Guinevere, where he was slain by Lancelot after joining Mordred’s plan to expose Guinevere’s infidelity.
If Loomis is correct is seeing Calogrenant as a doubling of Kay (Cai lo Grenant, “Kay the grumbler”), then Calogrenant looks like the “good” alter ego, possessing virtues that are the reverse of Kay’s notorious faults. According to this fascinating theory, the words that Kay and Calogrenant exchange would provide a study in argument with one’s self more interesting, probably, to our modern tastes than are the various long soliloquies of some of Chrétien’s other characters, and foreshadowing such modern works as Poe’s William Wilson and Stevenson’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Returning to more solid ground, I hazard the guess that Calogrenant must be Ywaine’s first cousin on King Urien’s side, since he seems to be identified as Ywaine’s cousin but not as Gawaine’s. Phyllis Ann Karr’s first edition of ‘Arthurian Companions’ she identified Calogrenant with Malory’s Sir Colgrevance of Gore.
Yvain, or Le Chevalier au Lion | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Lancelot, or Le Chevalier de la Charrete | Chrétien de Troyes, late 12th century
Diu Crône | Heinrich von dem Türlin, c. 1230
Vulgate Lancelot | 1215-1230
Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1215-1230
Vulgate Merlin | 1220-1235
Third Continuation of Chrétien’s Perceval | Manessier, c. 1230
Post-Vulgate Queste del Saint Graal | 1230-1240
Ywain and Gawain | 1310–1340
Le Morte Darthur | Sir Thomas Malory, 1469-1470