The lais of Marie de France were written in England, and the greater number of the romances composing the matiere de Bretagne seem to have passed from England to France through the medium of Anglo-Norman.
Of the three works which constitute together the full exposition of his interpretation of experience, la Conscience was published in 1889, Matiere et Memoire in 1896, and L'Evolution Creatrice in 1907.
As to the origin of this Matiere de Bretagne, and the circumstances under which it became a favourite theme for literary treatment, two diametrically opposite theories are held.
Or, je crois qu'il est aussi impossible a l'homme de connoitre la cause physique du premier individu de chaque espece, que d'assigner aussi physiquement la cause de l'existence de la matiere ou de l'univers entier.
In a somewhat similar fashion, Lamennais (in the first stage of his speculations, represented by the Essai sur l'indiference en matiere religieuse, 1817-18 21) endeavoured to destroy all rational certitude in order to establish the principle of authority; and the same profound distrust of the power of the natural reason to-arrive at truth is exemplified (though the allegation has been denied by the author) in Cardinal Newman.
In the 12th century the Matiere de France was waning, the Matiere de Bretagne waxing in popularity, and public opinion demanded that the central figure of the younger cycle (for whatever the date of the subject matter, as a literary cycle the Arthurian is the younger) should not be inferior in dignity and importance to that of the earlier.
Regarding heat (matiere de feu or fluide igne) as a peculiar kind of imponderable matter, Lavoisier held that the three states of aggregation - solid, liquid and gas - were modes of matter, each depending on the amount of matiere de feu with which the ponderable substances concerned were interpenetrated and combined; and this view enabled him correctly to anticipate that gases would be reduced to liquids and solids by the influence of cold and pressure.
Chretien states that he composed the poem (which he left to be completed by Godefroi de Leigni) at the request of the countess Marie of Champagne, who provided him with matiere et san.
Arius), the central hero of the cycle of romance known as the Matiere de Bretagne (see Arthurian Legend).