Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Nord De la France Entre éPopée et Chronique: Actes Du Colloque International De la Société Rencesvals (Section Française), Arras, 17-19 Octobre 2002

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Nord De la France Entre éPopée et Chronique: Actes Du Colloque International De la Société Rencesvals (Section Française), Arras, 17-19 Octobre 2002

Article excerpt

Le Nord de la France entre épopée et chronique: Actes du colloque international de la Société Rencesvals (section française), Arras, 17-19 octobre 2002, ed. Emmanuelle Poulain-Gautret, Jean-Pierre Martin, Jean-Pierre Arrignon, and Stéphane Curveiller, Études Littéraires (Arras: Artois Presses Université, 2005). 359 pp. ISBN 2-84832-022-2. euro22.00.

Both the chanson de geste and the estoire, as the editors of this volume remind us from the start, present themselves as true narratives of the past. What more logical, then, than to explore both what unites and what differentiates them? The danger of such a topic, of course, is that it will attract papers on the epic and quite unrelated papers on historiography, leaving it to the editors to sew them into a patchwork quilt which, although it may contain items of interest, does not actually say anything coherent about what the tide announces. Remarkably, the majority of papers in this volume do in fact tackle the multifarious relationships - whether material borrowings or stylistic influences, and in both directions - between epic and historiography, and cast interesting light on more than one Latin or Old French work of northern France (the conference focused on Picardy and Artois).

The book's real problem is lack of organization. The sections into which it is divided are so vaguely tided and so porous as to be nearly meaningless; a number of papers appear to be included in a particular section almost at random. The first section, 'Quand la chronique revisite l'épopée', bears on direct relationships between epic and historiography and the differing ways the same material is presented in each. …

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