Proverbs in Medieval Occitan Literature

Proverbs in Medieval Occitan Literature

Proverbs in Medieval Occitan Literature

Proverbs in Medieval Occitan Literature

Synopsis

"Proverbs in Medieval Occitan Literature is the first analysis in English of the use of proverbial materials in the literature of southern France from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Wendy Pfeffer argues that proverbs are important in troubadour literature for what they tell us about troubadour training, troubadour audiences, and the mentality of southern France during this period. Pfeffer shows that the proverbial material of troubadour literature indicates a different level of literacy in its audience than has been previously assumed. She also demonstrates the hitherto unappreciated formal aspects of troubadour works and the surprisingly broad range of source material incorporated in them." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

This book discusses the use of proverbs in medieval Occitan literature, working from the premise that proverbial materials form a corpus that is important for an understanding of troubadour literature, troubadour training, and troubadour audiences. No careful analysis of proverbial material in this literature has been done since the late nineteenth century; conducted in Germany, the earlier research was incomplete and was based on editions no longer accepted. One conclusion from my analysis is that troubadour audiences were far more literate than has been thought, that troubadours gave much thought to the composition of their works and drew material from a wider variety of sources than has been generally considered. Proverbs have not generally been credited as a major source of troubadour inspiration to date, but they are an integral tool of troubadour composition that must be considered in any analysis of this poetry. Proverbs also tell us about the mentalité of southern France in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The predilection of Occitania for certain proverbs and for the insertion of proverbs in a certain fashion should not be overlooked in any study of this literature.

Because proverbs are an element of text rather than of music, the music that underlay all troubadour poetry has, perforce, been ignored in this study. Whether intimate relationships existed between proverbs found in troubadour lyrics and the musical motifs that accompanied these lines is the topic of another study.

With the currently growing interest in contemporary popular culture, it is useful to consider those elements of popular culture discernible in literature of the past, not only to understand that literature better, but also to cast light on our own society. University scholars, researchers, and students of Old Occitan (Old Provençal) and the general reader interested in the troubadours and/or medieval literature, as well as students and researchers in popular culture, literacy studies, and comparative literature, will find material of use and of interest in this book. With an eye toward . . .

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