The Medieval Review 10.06.17

Goyens, Michèle and Werner Verbeke. "Lors est ce jour grant joie nee." Essais de langue et de littérature françaises du Moyen Âge. Mediaevalia Lovaniensia. Leuven: Universitaire Pers Leuven, 2009. Pp. 200. . $60 ISBN 978-9-058677402.

Reviewed by:

Wendy Pfeffer
University of Louisville

There is an art to editing a volume in honor of a learned and beloved scholar; it is necessary to collect essays that are appropriate, both to the scholar and to the chosen theme of the volume, this later having some close connection to the honoree. It is equally necessary that the essays complement each other and the individual whose contributions to the field are being recognized.

Lors est ce jour grant joie nee, edited by Michèle Goyens and Werner Verbeke, is all the scholar could ask of a Festschrift. We have a carefully collected set of eight articles, selected from those presented at a conference held in honor of Willy Van Hoecke; each contribution reflects the scholarship of Van Hoecke and offers readers insights into the language and literature of medieval Flanders, in particular. Given the scope of Van Hoecke's own research interests, "Il n'y avait aucun topique en linguistique ou en littérature médiévale qui ne l'intéressait pas" (x), the eight essays offer different insights and interesting co-relations between language and literature, particularly in twelfth- and thirteenth-century texts.

Claude Buridant's "Phraséologie historique du français: esquisse de bilan et perspectives" (1-50) is the longest essay in the volume. Buridant offers the reader a careful and detailed development of "phrasemes" in Old French. Buridant gives us not only a theoretical discussion of phrases as units of discourse, but also as markers of language development and history. Covering every aspect of the phrase, the author gives us this definition of the phraseme, "un polylexème plus ou moins figé et plus ou moins figuré, ...à géométrie variable, avec fluctuation du figement des éléments dans une phraséologie semi-ouverte où l'on distinguera à la base les collocations, ...mais aussi les 'groupement usuals'" (5-6), in other words, something less than a proverbial phrase, but nonetheless a fixed expression which reflects the global characteristics of a given language at a given moment (6). Buridant reminds the reader that symbolic elements can be typical of a given civilization or aesthetic, the word "glove," for example, with all it entails as a symbol and marker in the medieval world (28). Buridant's analysis of the phrase is worthy in itself; even more important are his appeals for further research. For example, he considers mettre and expressions that use it in medieval and modern French, then calls for a parallel analysis of the verb prendre (20). He asks for a serious study of phrases from their first attestation to their last, to create an exhaustive inventory (30). Another example of work to be done concerns body parts, as phrases using this vocabulary give us a sense of the world view of speakers (31). For example, the term "hand" in medieval French is built into phrases such as "a deus mains" and "a quatre mains" meaning "with speed, without hesitation" but also "at any price" (32); Buridant is right to call for further study of this and related terms and phrases. The last paragraph of the essay is yet another call for further research, as Buridant invites scholars to build databases of phrasemes, to refine the contours of the phrase, and to use contemporary technology to expand the bibliographic resources known (44). A detailed and technical essay with a lengthy bibliography, Buridant's work is outstanding example of scholarship and worthy reading by anyone interested in medieval French.

Brigitte L. Callay seeks to prove that Chrétien de Troyes is not the author of Guillaume d'Angleterre in her "Crestiën qui dire salut in Guillaume d'Angleterre" (51-69). Callay uses lines 18-19 of the tale for her argument, Crestiëns dit, qui dire siaut Que en Angleterre ot ja un roi. The careful argument is based on the meaning of dire, which Callay states does not mean "to compose" (66). She claims that "'qui dire siaut' does not imply previous authorship;" rather "the sense that can be derived for dire in the target verse is merely a simple reference to his mestier as a performer in the habit/practice of telling/reciting tales" (66). I have the sense that this last argument is incomplete as presented in this essay. Ironically, Callay begins her essay with a review of the literature, concluding, "Since then [1977], criticism has not unearthed new key evidence that could shed light on the poet or on the date of the poem" (52). However, in his essay in this very volume, Claude Buridant observes (27): Les binmes synonymiques, relevés systématiquement chez un auteur, peuvent en constituer une marque stylistique majeur et aider à son identification, comme c'est le cas pour Guillaume d'Angleterre que l'on peut, sur cette base, attribuer, sans certitude absolue cependant, à Chrétien de Troyes.

Perhaps the case is not yet closed.

Herman de Valenciennes is the topic of Colette Van Coolput-Storms' contribution, "Démarche persuasive et puissance émotionnelle: Le Romanz de Dieu et de sa Mere d'Herman de Valenciennes" (71-96). Composed in the period 1188-1195, the text is not well-known, though it merits further attention as the first French translation of the Bible, a version composed for a lay public (71). Van Coolput-Storms presents a persuasive argument for the importance of tears as Herman's message. As she states, "Pour notre poète, les larmes, signe extérieur du processus pénitentiel, sont nécessaires pour que la grÂce opère, effaçant la faute, lavant, purifiant l'Âme" (81). Biblical figures in Herman's text cry much more often than they do in the Vulgate (see pp. 77-79), documentation used by Van Coolput-Storms to make her case. In Herman's text, tears are presented not only as a sign of medieval spirituality, but also as Herman's personal message, for he would say that tears serve to build community (93). This last point, especially important in thirteenth-century Hainaut, is not fully developed in the essay; I would encourage the author to continue her work on this text and offer us these further arguments.

Yasmina Foehr-Janssens discusses the "Variations autour d'une figure d'auteur: Baudouin de Condé dans les manuscrits" (97-126), considering how manuscript illustrations portray Baudouin de Condé, a thirteenth-century author of numerous dits. Foehr-Janssens argues that by looking at the author portraits in manuscripts of Baudouin's works, we can see the development of the modern notion of the author (99). She reminds the reader that Baudouin is recognized as an author by the manuscripts that contain his works (99) and offers a remarkable analysis of the genre of the dit. She reminds us that for manuscript compilers, Baudouin's dits formed a recognizable corpus in which was mixed personal poetry, satires and devotional texts (111). The twenty-four black-and-white manuscript illustrations help her make the point. The conclusion to this article is brilliant (112): Le manuscrit de Bruxelles...déploie, par le choix de ses textes et par son programme iconographique, une compréhension symbolique du dit comme cheminement pédagogique, mais aussi comme texte inspiré. Le dit se présente comme garde-fou devant la mort et ses dangers, il affirme sa valeur existentielle, exprime l'urgence de dire qu'il étend aussi bien aux conclusions d'un art de vivre curial. Les prologues de Baudouin de Condé répondent à cet impératif qui définit une éthique de dire: parler pour sauver, pour se sauver et pour sauver son interlocuteur. As Foehr-Janssens reminds the reader, Baudouin de Condé sought to educate his listeners and to bring them to salvation, using the tools of his craft and the genre of the dit. The manuscript illustrations which portray Baudouin as a preacher or as a teacher with students at attention complement her argument.

In "Jean d'Antioche et les exempla ajoutés à la traduction des Otia imperialia de Gervais de Tilbury" (127-136) by Cinzia Pignatelli, we have a careful study of one part of the translation history of the Otia imperialia to prove that the supposed translator, John of Antioch, was more likely an Italian than a native French-speaker. Pignatelli offers Jean d'Harent d'Antioche as a more likely translator. Harent of Antioch named himself as the translator of the Rettorique de Marc Tulles Cyceron, a work made up of Cicero's De inventione and the Rhetorica ad Herennium (1282). The identification of Jean d'Harent as the translator of Gervais of Tilbury explains several interpolations in the translation, some borrowed from Brunetto Latini's Trésor. The identification also makes sense of some Italianisms found in the French text (see 133-134). My one criticism is that I think the title of the article is misleading; better would have been "Jean d'Antioche et Harent d'Antioche, un seul homme."

Herman Braet and Dulce Maria González-Doreste study Virgil's heroine in "Infelix Dido: sur la fortune d'une infortune" (137-158). Their work is a summary of textual witnesses with fascinating parallel analyses of illustrations of the Dido story. The authors conclude that there is not much of a connection between Dido and medieval love traditions; the article stays in the world of Virgil and medieval retellings of the Aeneid story. As Braet and González-Doreste observe, the destiny of Dido is turned into a personal drama; instead of serving as an obstacle for Aeneas, Dido becomes a women who is the victim of her own fidelity (139). In addition to fairly well-known versions of the Dido story (the Roman d'Eneas, the Roman de la Rose, the Ovide moralisé, the Histoire ancienne jusqu'à César, the Lamentations de Mateolus, and the Cité des Dames), Braet and González-Doreste discuss two less-well-known works, Evrart de Conty's Livre des Eschez amoureux (beginning fifteenth century) and an anonymous Livre des Eneydes compilé par Virgile (end of the fifteenth century). It is, however, the analysis of the illustrations that is particularly noteworthy. As the authors observe, the majority of illustrations focus on the last moments of Dido's life (143). Numerous illustrations show Dido with a sword or similar arm in her hands (147). There is also a variant to this theme, wherein Dido is portrayed writing a letter, her last gesture before committing suicide (150).

A very different article is Geert H. M. Claassens' "De Torrez à Torec: un roman arthurien en moyen néerlandais et sa source inconnue en ancien français"(159-175). Claassens tells us of a Middle Dutch romance whose Old French source text allows scholars to fill a hole in medieval French literary history (160). The story begins with the marriage of King Briant and Mariole, whose newborn daughter is sent off to sea in a barrel. King Ydor finds her, names her Tristoise, and will marry her. They have a son, named Torec, who vows to avenge various offenses inflicted on his mother and grandmother. Multiple adventures ensue; Torec vanquishes all but King Arthur, recovers for his mother a long-lost crown, and finds his bride (162-164). The tale has merits and warrants additional study. Claassens does not seem willing to accept a comic or parodic explanation for the plot, although what makes Torec interesting is that is does not take seriously all that accompanies the Arthurian world. Even Claassens accepts that Arthur's court is more of an obstacle for the hero than an ideal goal (170). What Claassens does not consider is the possibility that the now-lost French original was itself parodic; consider the Occitan romance of Jaufre, highly critical of the Arthur and his court, and good for many laughs.

The last essay in the volume is by Remco Sleiderink, "La Dame d'Audenarde comme juge d'amor: le rapport intertextuel entre Li Romans du Vergier et de l'Arbre d'Amors et une chanson de Gillebert de Berneville" (177-198). In a meticulous study, Sleiderink considers the personal names in the narrative, Li Romans du Vergier. From this base, considering all likely candidates, he determines that the dame d'Audenarde mentioned in the romance is Alix de Rozoy d'Audenarde (ca. 1205-post 1268) (182). Sleiderink then turns more directly to Gillebert's lyric, where the poet addresses a Dame d'Audenarde. Scholars have thought to identify this lady with a Beatrice of Audenarde; Sleiderink demolishes that argument and erases Beatrice: "Béatrice d'Audenarde n'a jamais existé" (185). From here, Sleiderink demonstrates that the lyric is a response to the romance (186). One result of this investigation is that it allows us better to date the romance, to the 1250's or 1260's. In conclusion, Sleiderink reminds the reader of the importance of women as important actors in medieval literary life; though we have few details about Alix de Rozoy, we do know that she and her husband maintained a minstrel at court, as did her son, at whose court she was an active presence (181).

The volume is completed by an index of manuscripts cited and an index of names, works and places mentioned.

I repeat my commendation of the start--this is a worthy volume in honor of Willy Van Hoeke, whose research inspired a number of these essays, whose guidance can be seen in the notes and in the references to him throughout. He, the editors, and the authors should all be proud.