Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Antoine De la Sale: 'Saintre': Roman Du Quinzieme Siecle / Antoine De la Sale: 'Jehan De Saintre'

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Antoine De la Sale: 'Saintre': Roman Du Quinzieme Siecle / Antoine De la Sale: 'Jehan De Saintre'

Article excerpt

Antoine de La Sale: 'Saintre': Roman du quinzieme siecle, trans. into Modern French by Roger Dubuis, Traductions des classiques frangais du moyen age 56 (Paris: Champion, 1995). 336 pp. ISBN z-85 zo;-483-z. F. Fr. 145.

Antoine de La Sale: Jehan de Saintre', ed. and presented Joel Blanchard; trans. into Modern French Michel Quereuil, Lettres gothiques 4544 (Paris: Livre de Poche, 1995). 566 pp. ISBN 2-253-o6657-5 F Fr. 70.

Roger Dubuis has translated the text of the recent edition by Mario Eusebi, CFMA 114-15 (Paris, 1993-4), which is based on the Barrois MS (Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, MS nouv. acq. fr. I oo 57). In the introduction Dubuis draws attention to Antoine de la Sale's habit of revising his works, but, as is appropriate for a translator who is not editing the text, he does not discuss in detail the editorial problems posed by the base-manuscript, which has been heavily corrected at a later stage, possibly by the author; however, the useful notes to the text make it clear where the translation is based on an emended reading. A brief account of the author's life is given, but most of the introduction is devoted to possible interpretations of a text which has been assessed by critics in a number of conflicting ways. For Dubuis the central figure of the work is not Saintre but the dame des Belles Cousines, with the ambiguous figure of the abbe also playing an important and disquieting role; he also sees within it not a single theme but a series of subjects, taken up one after another, and a mixture of realism over detail, fantastic fiction and an idealism which looks back to a past of tranquille certitude which, according to him, is in the fifteenth century at last being questioned. He makes a convincing case for complexity and ambiguity, but I am not sure that there is that much tranquille certitude concerning love and chivalry in the past literary traditions with which there is so much interplay in Saintre. …

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