Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Recit Medieval XIIe-XIIIc Siecles

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Recit Medieval XIIe-XIIIc Siecles

Article excerpt

Emmanuele Baumgartner, Le Recit medieval XIIe-XIIIe siecles (Paris: Hachette, I995). 160 pp. ISBN 2-01-019714-3. F. Fr. 69.00.

The declared aim of this stimulating book is to follow, though an analysis of a selection of written works of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, some in the field of history, some in that of fiction, the various paths taken by medieval narrative, and the journey of a language (le roman) towards the status of a literary language. The introduction discusses the early medieval narrative text, in written form and in the vernacular, before there was much conscious reflection on the act of literary creation and on the development of a vernacular literary language. This is followed by a chapter on `Romans antiques et histoires anciennes', which underlines the links between history and romance at this stage; the next chapter examines Arthurian verse chronicles and Arthurian lais and verse romances, where, particularly in Chretien, a new fictional world is created. 'Graal, quetes, proses' studies the significance of the move into prose in the early thirteenth century in history and in romance, the creation of the great romance cycles, dealing with the distant past, and the importance given to the author's power to organize and manipulate the course of the narrative. In the fifth chapter the difference of approach of the thirteenth-century verse narratives, more closely related to the present, is explored. For example, in the works of Jean Renart, romance fiction is given a more contemporary setting and at the same time is linked to the worlds of poetic imagination through the lyric insertions. …

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