Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Du Temple De Mars À la Chambre De Venus: Le Beau Jeu Courtois Dans Les 'Voeux Du Paon'

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Du Temple De Mars À la Chambre De Venus: Le Beau Jeu Courtois Dans Les 'Voeux Du Paon'

Article excerpt

Hélène Bellon-Méguelle, Du Temple de Mars à la chambre de Venus: Le beau jeu courtois dans les 'Voeux du paon'\ Essais sur le Moyen Age 38 (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2008). 566 pp. ISBN 978-2-745 3-175 5-1- euro95.00.

Jacques de Longuyon's early fourteenth-century Voeux du paon is something of an oddity - not least in that there is still no satisfactory modern edition: the text can be read only in an edition of Barbour's Bulk of Alexander published in 1921-9, or in a typescript dissertation dating from the 19508. Critics, it is true, have been unenthusiastic, not to say hostile - but this lack is all the odder in that the poem was extraordinarily popular, and influential: there are no fewer than forty-three known manuscripts, many of them magnificent; two sequels (Le Restor du paon and Le Parfait du paon - both, incidentally, available in modern editions); translations into Latin, Dutch, Middle English, Middle Scots (twice), Italian, Spanish; two prose versions, one by Wauquelin; avatars such as Les Voeux de l'êpervier and Les Voeux du héron. The text informs later and now universally recognized works like the Roman de Perceforest . . . and it was based on the Voeux that the Burgundian court staged its 'Voeux du Faisan' in 1454. Hélène Bellon-Méguelle is the first to undertake a full study of the text itself and its fertile afterlife, and she does so with brio and insight. She covers - with a wealth of references and a rich knowledge of the fourteenth-century sociocultural environment - the genesis of the romance in the sprawling tradition of the Roman d'Alexandre; thematic relationships between this romance and its cognates; the Alexander of this romance as opposed to the traditional warrior prince; the dating of the text and the identity of Jacques de Longuyon (both more problematic, it seems, than scholarship has commonly supposed). …

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