03.01.19, Henrard, Moreno and Thiry-Stassin, Convergences medievales

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Paul Vincent Rockwell

The Medieval Review baj9928.0301.019


Henrard, Nadine, Paola Moreno and Martine Thiry-Stassin, eds.. Convergences medievales: Epopee, lyrique, roman: Melanges offerts a Madeleine Tyssens. Series: Bibliotheque du Moyen Age. Brussels: De Boeck Universite, 2001. Pp. 646. ISBN: 2-8041-3707-4.

Reviewed by:
Paul Vincent Rockwell
Amherst College

A full reading of this collection of articles will test even the most talented linguist's abilities, since the studies presented are written in five different languages and treat works written in Provencal, Catalan, Old French, Italian, Spanish, Latin and others. The difficulties encountered by the reader are a testament to the wide influence of the work of Madeleine Tyssens in whose honor the volume was compiled. Most of the studies touch on philological or editorial questions that arise in works drawn from a wide variety of medieval literary genres and milieus. The works in question are on such diverse topics that any attempt to describe the coherence of the whole would inevitably seem ridiculous. I have not tried to do so. The reader will find in the lines that follow only short descriptions of the contents of each article that attempt to go beyond the information that one could glean simply by reviewing the table of contents. These are organized in broad categories in the hopes that readers of various backgrounds might more quickly identify the materials published in this volume that might be of immediate interest to them.

Lyric: Stefano Asperti proposes hypotheses about the historical identity of "Gossalbo Roitz," one of the troubadours that are ridiculed in Peire d'Alvernhe's Cantarai d'aqestz trobadors and finds in favor of Gonzalo Ruiz de Azagra. Vicenc Beltran provides a critical edition of the Testamento by Alfonso Enriquez with notes and commentary. Valeria Bertolucci Pizzorusso examines the very specific treatment of the motif of the Belh Deport in the works of Guiraut Riquier. Giovanni Caravaggi examines intriguing editing problems that arise from intertextual echoes across several languages in the textual tradition of Francisco Imperial. Roberto Crespo points to verses that show that the trouvere Gautier de Dargies was inspired by both Conon de Bethune and Chretien de Troyes. Elsa Goncalves studies the relationship between the cantigas of the Galego-Portuguese tradition and concludes, in contrast with previous critical work, that their structure is not related to the techniques of the canso redonda used by the Provencal troubadours. In those poems that are called cancoes redondas, the technique resembles a type of dobre that is extended to an entire verse, a poetic form that could have been derived from the Medieval Latin tradition. Marc-Rene Jung compares the metrical forms of the early ballads by Machaut (ms. G) to the forms found in analogous works that precede him. Among other insights, he notes that Machaut seems to have been engaged in a type of metrical experimentation focused on refrains during the earliest phase of his career. The article includes tables that condense much of the author's data in ways that could prove quite useful to scholars pursuing similar research topics. Jacques Lemaire provides a new critical edition and commentary on the Ave Maria des Ivrognes. Ulrich Molk's new critical edition of the Alexander puer magnus is published in these pages along with comments regarding the inability of modern criticism to account for the liberties that the author of this work has taken with the Alexander legend. Mario Pagano revisits the mix of dialectical elements found in Pir meu cori allegrari by Stefano Protonotaro and the rationales that were set forth by its interventionist and conservative editors for modifying the text of this poem in their respective critical editions. Isabel de Riquer assesses the tradition of assigning the rather elastic generic classification of dansa to the four poems by Sant Joan de les Abadesses found in the Seccio de Manuscrits de la Biblioteca de Catalunya No. 3871 and finds that perhaps the category of desdansa is more appropriate. Luciano Rossi revisits Chretien de Troyes's "D'amors qui m'a tolu a moi" and details the intertextual echoes of the Tristan myth that were integrated into works by Bernart de Ventadorn and Raimbaut d'Aurenga. Elisabeth Schulze-Busacker identifies the source material of the sirventes "Si tots temps vols viure valens e pros" and concludes, principally because of its use of the two versions of the Facetus, that it is not attributable to Peire Cardenal. This article contains useful tables of sources and possible "rapprochements." Lucilla Spetia suggests that the criteria by which the genre known as the French Pastourelles is defined are in need of a revision that takes into account other lyrics that seem to have been considered of the same genre during the Medieval period. The author makes ingenious use of parodic examples in support of her arguments. Claude Thiry insists on the formal and thematic innovations of Deschamps. He notes that in contrast with his contemporaries, Deschamps integrates the "epic caesura" into lyric forms relatively frequently and that, since lyric forms no longer had to be sung, his poems tend to be assimilated into what Thiry calls the "dit strophique." Gema Vallín relates the poem Mort e Don Martin Marcos, ai Deus, se e verdade? to romance estribote.

Epic: Philip E. Bennett finds that in both Guillaume au court nez and the Japanese epic Mimi- Nashi-Hoichi the meeting of the protagonists with the "Other" results in the acquisition of extraordinary powers as well as in a mutilation that is reflected in their respective surnames. He argues that the episode recounting the battle with Corsolt in the Couronnement de Louis was not the result of a linguistic confusion or a play on words, but functions instead to remind the medieval public that heros that acquire powers from "l'Autre monde" do not emerge unscathed. Herman Braet finds that for the Voyage de Charlemagne, the reader is susceptible to misinterpretations that are analogous to those of the principal characters and that raise the question of the poem's status as "epic." Bernard Guidot finds that the Siege de Barbastre belies a shift in traditional Chanson de geste ideology by allowing confidence, respect and esteem to be shown to certain Sarrasin characters. Some of these characters could even represent the chivalric ideal. The findings of this article support many of the notions recently put forward in Lynn Tarte Ramey's Christian, Saracen and Genre in Medieval French Literature, which was published in the same year. Edward A. Heinemann examines the metrical art of the scribes that transformed the Charroi de Nimes over successive editions and rewritings. Alain Labbe interprets the episode of the underground aqueduct in the Chanson d'Aiquin as representing the pagan past that is both to be admired for its beauty and at the same time destroyed in order for the Christian present to conquer the pagan past. Jean-Pierre Martin highlights two curiosities concerning manuscript Q (Brussels) of Garin le Lorrain. First he notes that in contrast with other manuscripts of this work, Q contains a significant number of decasyllabic verses that are a majori. Secondly he remarks that Q contains a scribal error that could be interpreted as indicating that the scribe believed in the presence of the Saint Suaire in Troyes, a reference that is strangely consistent with those of another text that was written in 1355. Claude Roussel examines the prosification of the Belle Helene de Constantinople found in Paris BNF fr. 1489 that claims to be, rather, a rendition of a prose chronicle. Paradoxically this effort to render a Chanson de Geste in prose is peppered with short passages in verse that seem to have little to do with the verse of the original. Cesare Segre revisits Bédier's analysis of instances of the reputedly false -e/-ie assonance found in various laisses of the Chanson de Roland. He concludes that Bedier's analysis of the error was justified in 11 of the 20 instances cited, whereas 5 of those errors are attributable, rather, to the scribe of manuscript O, and 4 remain undecidable. Povl Skorup provides a French translation of the Danish version of the Moniage Guillaume. The Danish version is itself a translation of an earlier Old Icelandic translation of this Old French work, which was included in the Karlamagnus saga. Francois Suard describes the representation of the heros gathered around Vivien in the Chevalerie Vivien, in particular Guillaume, Guibourc, Bertrand, Guichardet, Girart. Jean Subrenat questions the critical characterization of Vivien as suicidal. His attitude, particularly in the Chevalerie Vivienne, is found to be justified relative to the memory of Roland. Wolfgang van Emden determines that in the assonanced tradition of Chanson de Roland manuscripts, only Roland, Olivier and Turpin are buried in Blaye, whereas in the rhymed tradition, all the twelve peers are buried there. In addition to important corrections to assertions that he had made in other published articles, the author proposes some modifications to the Segre stemma of the Roland manuscripts.

Romance: Micheline de Combarieu du Gres argues that in contrast with the impression given by the title of the Roman d'Aiquin ou la Conqueste de la Bretaigne par le Roy Charlemagne, the romance does not have an individual hero, but "collectives" that function as heroic characters. Peter Dembowski gives a general overview of Jehan de le Mote and his Regret Guillaume in anticipation of the edition that he is preparing of this work. Philippe Menard revisits the motif of the dangers of the hour of noon. These include abduction and confrontation with a monster, demon, or nymphe. He also offers a stern warning against extending the poetic connotations of this motif to analogous episodes that do not explicitly take place at noon. Maria Meneghetti finds the prose Lancelot's episode of the false Guenevere to be the source of the razo by Rigaut de Berbezilh found in ms. PC 421.2 and cites some interesting linguistic evidence in support of her claim. Paola Moreno studies the relationship between the Pulci brothers' Ciriffo Calvaneo and the Libro del Povero Avveduto and finds the latter to have been composed as a parallel or alternative narrative to the one found in the former. This formulation of their relationship best accounts for the reference in the Libro to a "tractato di Ciriffo Chalvaneo". Aime Petit concludes that the rewriting of the portraits of Adraste's daughters in the Roman de Thebes is consistent with the advice given by rhetorical treatises of the period and notes that this rewriting highlights the sensual elements of these descriptions. The Roman de Thebes emphasizes the virginal modesty of the two princesses. Philippe Verelst provides an inventory of the marvelous elements in Mabrien, a fifteenth-century prose romance that recounts the adventures of Renaut de Montauban's grandson.

Drama: Anna Drzewicka examines the representation of women in Gautier de Coincy's Miracles de Nostre Dame and finds that the cult of the Virgin seems to have attenuated some of the misogynist tendencies found in other discourses from the period. Nadine Henrard situates the Passion d'Augsbourg in relation to the tradition of the Sibylline prophecies. Evidence of the prophecies's dissemination is cited (they were found more frequently in the North than in the South) in support of the hypothesis that the Passion is of Occitan origin. The author suggests that the Passion could be part of the Christmastime liturgical celebration. Graham Runnalls cites solid evidence that the Parisian confraternity of the "Maitres-Jardiniers" were the commissioners of two mystery plays dedicated to Saint Fiacre and Saint Venice (Veronica), which were printed in about 1529. He concludes that they demonstrate the close relationship during this period between religious belief, trade and drama. Martine Thiry-Stassin studies the process of adaptation by contrasting the thirty-fourth Miracle de Notre Dame of the Cange collection, known as the sainte Bautheuch, with its source material, which can be found in version one of Bengtsson's edition of the prose Vie de sainte Bathilde

Miscellaneous: Carlos Alvar examines scientific texts that were translated into Catalan in the Middle Ages. Jean Dufournet provides a complete description of the sixteenth-century rewriting of Commynes's Memoires found in an edition by Denis Sauvage, historiographer of Henri II. Louis Gemenne argues in favor of establishing a new type of critical edition that would facilitate comparisons between the Chronicles of Jean le Bel, Jean Froissart and Jean d'Outremeuse. Gunter Holtus et al. examine "endogenous" and "exogenous" analogies in Old French documents of the Counts of Luxemburg (1237-1281). Jacques Joset discusses the archetypal figure of the thief by comparing multiple permutations of this figure taken from the diverse sources that constitute the tradition of narratives of the "voleur devot." Particular attention is paid to what the author calls a hispanic corpus of short narratives that can be grouped under the rubric of "the Miracle of the Devout Thief." Colette Van Coolput-Storms questions some of Scheler's editorial decisions in his edition of Watriquet de Couvin's Dit des .VIII. couleurs and goes on to speculate on the significance to be attributed to the allegorical letters (R-I-A-M) to which the narrator of the Dit refers. Alberto Varvaro delineates the basic, necessary components of a complete history of French medieval literature, a model that he admits to be utopian in nature, but desirable nonetheless. Theo Venckeleer maintains that in the majority of instances, examples of formulaic language can be reduced to a relatively limited number of formulas, which over time become "frozen," as can be seen in prose texts written in Middle French. Martine Willems-Delbouille examines neologisms in the Vie de saint Guillaume de Maleval (ms. BNF 2103) and finds that they are closely related to the original Latin from which this work was translated. Michel Zink revisits the fabliau that is added to the end of an Old French translation of the Song of Songs and that is found in Le Mans Municipal Library ms. 173. He determines with certainty that the fabliau functions as part of the commentary that is appended to the end of the translation

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Paul Vincent Rockwell

Amherst College