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Two novellas the first a parody of medieval knighthood the second a fantasy about a nobleman bisected into his good and evil halves Two allegorical satirical novellas THE NONEXISTENT KNIGHT is the tale of a suit of armor that performs the duties of a knight better than a human ever could because he can remain emotionally detached THE CLOVEN VISCOUNT tells the story of a philosophical aristocrat accidentally split in two by a cannonball who develops two antithetical personalities In The Nonexistent Knight an empty suit of armor named Agilulf is the hero of this witty parody of medieval knighthood in the form of a tale told by a nun A challenge to his honor sends Agilulf on a search through France England and North Africa to confirm the chastity of a virgin he saved from rape years earlier There are many surprising turns of plot not the least of which is the nuns closing confession In The Cloven Viscount this divertingly macabre fantasy a nobleman is neatly bisected by a cannon ball in a battle against the Turks One half of him returns to his feudal estate and takes up a lavishly evil life Soon the other virtuous half appears The two halves become rivals for the love of the same woman fight a bloody duel and achieve a miraculous resolution The Nonexistent Knight is an earthy parody of chivalry and knighthood Agilulf the improbable hero of this tale is an empty suit of armor yet he is the essence of military perfection resented by his fellow paladins loved by Bradamante a dashing female knight and admired by Raimbaut an idealistic volunteer who is eager for the glamour of war In order to retain his knightly rank Agilulf is forced to scour Europe to verify the chastity of a virgin he rescued fifteen years before His quest a burlesque of the time-honored rituals of medieval romance finds him evading the seductive charms
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