William D. Paden

title.none: Doss-Quinby, Lyrics of the Trouveres: A Research Guide

identifier.other: baj9928.9501.003 95.01.03

identifier.issn: 1096-746X

description.statementofresponsibility: William D. Paden, Northwestern University

publisher.none: .

date.issued: 1995

identifier.citation: Doss-Quinby, Eglal. The Lyrics of the Trouveres: A Research Guide (1970-1990). Series: Garland Medieval Bibliographies,17; Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, 1423. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1994. Pp. xiii + 264. ISBN: ISBN 0-8153-0085-9.

type.none: Review

relation.ispartof: Bryn Mawr Medieval Review

The Medieval Review 95.01.03

Doss-Quinby, Eglal. The Lyrics of the Trouveres: A Research Guide (1970-1990). Series: Garland Medieval Bibliographies,17; Garland Reference Library of the Humanities, 1423. New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1994. Pp. xiii + 264. ISBN: ISBN 0-8153-0085-9.

Reviewed by:

William D. Paden
Northwestern University

This exemplary bibliography provides a selective but extensive overview of two decades' work on the vernacular lyric poetry composed in northern France from about 1150 to 1350. After a concise preface we find sections on research tools, manuscripts, anthologies, literary history, special topics (such as fin'amors or courtly love, metrics, stylistics), twenty-four genres ranging from the aube to the virelai, and ninety-one individual trouveres. All the trouveres who attracted commentary during these twenty years are included— major poets such as Adam de la Halle, Gace Brule, Gautier de Coinci, Rutebeuf, and Thibaut de Champagne, a great figure in the world such as Richard Coeur de Lion, and their many imitators. An index of authors closes the book.

Each entry, except for items merely reprinted since 1970 and unpublished dissertations, has a brief informative comment by Doss-Quinby. Some are especially rich, such as the introductory note on fin'amors or the comment on Robert Guiette, D'une poesie formelle en France au moyen age. About one entry out of five includes a concise evaluative word or phrase. These remarks contribute substantially to the value of the bibliography, and leave this reviewer puzzled by Doss-Quinby's claim that she "tried to remain objective" (xii). Studies receive accolades such as "useful," "well-informed," "rigorous," "convincing," "lively," "welcome," and so on; the superlative register includes "masterly" and "compelling" (used of work by Michel Zink), "highly original" (Dominique Billy), "lucid" (Gerard Le Vot), "distinguished" (Hendrik van der Werf), "classic" (Pierre Bec and Paul Zumthor), "seminal" (Robert Guiette and Zumthor), and "famous" (Zumthor). A manual may be found "readable," "crisp," "compact"; an anthology is "outstanding," "classic," "attractive," or "inviting"; an edition may be "impressive" or "rigorous"; a reference work may be pronounced "useful," "valuable," "fundamental," or "essential" (Ulrich Moelk and Friedrich Wolfzettel). At the opposite extreme, occasional items are found "casual," "diffuse," "disappointing," "inaccurate," "not entirely reliable," "dated," "sketchy," or simply uninformed. The reader who browses through the whole book will come away persuaded that the field has been lively and prosperous.

The champion contributor among Doss-Quinby's 825 items is undoubtedly Paul Zumthor, with 35 entries including one that was reprinted in a reader of literary theory edited by Tzvetan Todorov, and an interview that Zumthor granted to Cesare Segre. Runners-up include Michel Zink with 20 items, Jean Maillard with 18, Jean Dufournet with 16, Pierre Bec with 15, Hans Tischler with 12, and Emmanuele Baumgartner, the only woman among the most prolific contributors, with 11.

The entries maintain a high level of accuracy, and I have found not a single typographical error. The entry for Howell Chickering and Margaret Switten's anthology, The Medieval Lyric (item 124), probably should have noted the fourth volume and fifth cassette, even though they are dedicated to lyric in Middle English. Is it true that Richard Baum proposed "the Latin stem laic" as the etymon of Old French lai (item 379), or is laic actually Celtic? To judge by its title, item 702 must be written in Catalan, not in Spanish as the note asserts.

The coverage is broad. Doss-Quinby picks up seven publications from Japan: four articles in French from Etudes de Langue et Litterature Francaises, published in Tokyo (items 101, 269, 628, 679), and three books in Japanese (items 72, 282, 314). (Does she read Japanese? Should we?) There are three articles from Kwartalnik Neofilologiczny, published in Warsaw (items 98, 231, 544), all in French; there is one from Roumania (in Roumanian, 39) and one from Turkey (in French, 657). We find nine unpublished French dissertations (from Paris-III, items 221 and 769; from Paris-IV, items 22, 246, 248, 591, 808; from Paris-VII, item 369; from the Universite de Nice, item 478), two from England (Cambridge, item 403; Oxford, item 569), and one from Australia (University of Sidney, item 462).

Inevitably some items do not turn up which this reviewer might have included. Women trouveres including Maroie de Dregnau, Blanche of Castile, Dame Margot and Dame Maroie have been studied by Maria V. Coldwell, "Jougleresses and Trobairitz: Secular Musicians in Medieval France," in Women Making Music; The Western Art Tradition, 1150-1950, ed. Jane Bowers and Judith Tick (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1986), 39-61. Coldwell's article is useful in relation to the opinion here attributed to Bec (item 292) that there were no women trouveres; note in this connection, however, the entry for the Duchesse de Lorraine (p. 196). (By reading through Robert Linker's Bibliography of Old French Lyrics, item 15, one may harvest a handful of feminine names which deserve to be better known.) It seems somehow a loss to have excluded David L. Jeffrey and Brian J. Levy, The Anglo-Norman Lyric: An Anthology (Toronto: Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies, 1990), even though Doss-Quinby defines her subject as "only continental French lyrics" (xi).

Contrariwise some items might have been excluded. The one in Roumanian is "not a scholarly publication" (39). Regional publications include one "intended to acquaint Lorrainers with their literary past" (47), another which "aims to reveal to readers from the Pas-de-Calais the prestigious literary past of their departement" (65), and yet another which is "aimed at readers from the Gatinais" (667). John Benton's study of "The Court of Champagne as a Literary Center," originally published in 1961, is included only because it appeared in a German translation within the chosen two decades, but Anglophone readers, of whom Garland has many, will look in vain for a reference to the original publication. A study of Philippe de Beaumanoir "gives scant attention to the lyrics" (751). A collection of essays on textual criticism includes two on lyric poetry, as Doss-Quinby observes—but both concern lyric in Occitan, not in French (28).

But only curmudgeons will quibble. Doss-Quinby's book represents a continuation of the chapter on Old French lyric poetry in Francoise Vielliard and Jacques Monfrin, Manuel bibliographique de la litterature francaise du Moyen Age de Robert Bossuat, third supplement, part 2 (1991, chapter IV), which covers the two decades 1960-1980. Doss-Quinby rates Vielliard and Monfrin as "a fundamental research tool" (item 12). Her own book deserves the same honor.

William D. Paden: wpaden@nwu.eduProfessor and Chair: 708-491-5490/Fax: 708-491-3877Department of French and Italian Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208-2204 USA