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By Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet

Is it valid to conceive of and write a background of medieval French literature while the time period "literature" as we all know it this present day didn't seem until eventually the very finish of the center a while? during this novel advent to French literature of the interval, Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet says convinced, arguing profound literary attention did exist on the time.

Cerquiglini-Toulet demanding situations the normal methods of studying and comparing literature, contemplating medieval literature no longer as break away that during different eras yet as a part of the wider culture of global literature. Her big and realized readings of either canonical and lesser-known works pose an important questions on, between different issues, the idea of otherness, the which means of switch and balance, and the connection of medieval literature with theology.

Part historical past of literature, half theoretical feedback, this booklet reshapes the language and content material of medieval works. by means of weaving jointly themes similar to the starting place of epic and lyric poetry, Latin-French bilingualism, women’s writing, grammar, authorship, and extra, Cerquiglini-Toulet does not anything lower than redefine either philosophical and literary ways to medieval French literature. Her ebook is a heritage of the literary act, a historical past of phrases, a background of principles and works―monuments instead of documents―that calls into query smooth ideas of literature.

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Extra info for A New History of Medieval French Literature

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Aristotle’s misadventure: accepting, out of loving desire, to be changed into a beast of burden and ridden by a scheming woman is a popular exemplum that leads to numerous iconographic representations. Another familiar topic is the instruction he is said to have given to Alexander. Rutebeuf writes a Dit d’Aristote, a short text containing advice to a prince that he takes from Walter of Châtillon’s Alexandreis. Richard de Fournival names Ovid as the author and hero of De Vetula (On the Old Woman), translated into French in the fourteenth century by Jean Le Fèvre.

At its opening, the Roman du Castelain de Couci et de la dame de Fayel evokes the golden age when noble lords wrote: “But in olden days princes and counts made chants, stories, and games in rhymes of good manner” (Mais jadis li prince et li conte / Faisoient cans, dis et partures / En rimes de gente faitures; ll. 11–14). How did a noble lord learn to compose? We have the testimony of Conon de Béthune who learned from another noble lord, from his uncle Huon d’Oisy, who, he says, “taught me to sing when I was a child” (qui m’a apris a chanter des enfance).

It is important to note the nuance between the por (for), indicating the intention in the beginning and the par (thanks to), signaling the means obtained in order to achieve this intended result. In the end, Gautier offers the work to Baldwin of Hainaut, an ally of the BloisChampagne family: “Count Baldwin, I give it to you” (Quens Bauduin, a vos l’otroi; l. 6559), but with the warning that he will “place” the book elsewhere if he is not adequately compensated. In one way or another, authors must address the question of remuneration, and the choice of a generous patron is a matter of strategy.

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