The Romance of Flamenca: A Proven'cal Poem of the Thirteenth Century

The Romance of Flamenca: A Proven'cal Poem of the Thirteenth Century

The Romance of Flamenca: A Proven'cal Poem of the Thirteenth Century

The Romance of Flamenca: A Proven'cal Poem of the Thirteenth Century

Excerpt

Flamenca, which has been judged by critics to be one of the major masterpieces of thirteenth century vernacular literature, has long been available to the scholar and to the general reader in only a few libraries. Charles Grimm, the only one to attempt an edition of this exceedingly difficult text since Paul Meyer's 1901 version appeared, did not live to see his purpose accomplished. It has been thought worthwhile, therefore, to offer an original translation in English verse based on a juxtaposed Provençal text which has been newly collated with a photographic reproduction of the manuscript.

A true novel of manners and a disquisition on love and jealousy, as those emotions were understood in the polite society of the time, Flamenca deserves to be known to everyone concerned with medieval culture and literature as well as to the general reader interested in an attractive story well told. The charm of the romance lies not only in its literal contents, but also in the often jocular sophistication with which they are clothed. In spite of profound differences between the Old Provenqal and Modern English, we hope that we have in the translation rendered much of the witty style and poetic qualities of the original along with its meaning. How well we have succeeded the reader may judge for himself by referring to the text on the facing page.

In the preparation of this volume, Professor Hubert made the translation and Professor Porter prepared the Provençal text and notes. Each, however, profited from the assistance of the other, and both together share responsibility for any shortcomings of the work as a whole.

With reference to the Provençal text, we have preserved the readings of the manuscript in many instances where the previous editor made changes, even though we are fully aware that the manuscript is the work of a careless and perhaps ignorant scribe who brought many corruptions into the original. While we generally oppose tampering with manuscripts on the part of modern editors, we have, nevertheless, considered it our duty to reject a large number of this scribe's readings, and we believe we have given him all he deserves when we list his readings in the Appendix. We have not . . .

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