Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Poétique De la Ruse Dans Les Récits Tristaniens Français Du XIIe Siècle

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Poétique De la Ruse Dans Les Récits Tristaniens Français Du XIIe Siècle

Article excerpt

Insaf Machia, Poétique de la ruse dans les récits tristaniens français du XIIe siècle, Essais sur le Moyen Age 48 (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2010). 380 pp. ISBN 978-2-7453-2048-3. euro80.00.

In Poétique de la ruse dans les récits irisianiens français du XIIe siècle, Insaf Machta demonstrates that deception in Tristan narratives extends far beyond the notion of the trickster character. More than a mere character trait, trickery is the impulse that generates these narratives, structures the stories, and propels their plots. While trickery is rampant in comic tales and fabliaux, Machta shows that deception is also central to the courtly romances that served to entertain and educate aristocratic audiences.

Initially written as a doctoral dissertation at the Université de la Manouba in Tunis, Poétique de la ruse examines twelfth-century French Tristan narratives, principally the Lai du chievrefoil by Marie de France, thé Folies of Oxford and Berne, and the romances of Thomas and Befoul. In her exploration of the theme of deception, Machia moves beyond scholarship of Tristan as a trickster figure. She argues that in Tristan narratives trickery is an essential structuring component with an ideological impact. For Machia, the ruse prevails in Trislan slories noi because Trislan is inherently a lricksler characler, bul ralher because lhe driving concepì behind lhe slories is forbidden love: lhe ruse is lhe strategic weapon of adullerous lovers agaínsl feudal morality.

Machia's book is divided ínio lhree parís. First, Machia presenis a typology of lricks, including lhe manipulation of space, objecls, and language, as well as lhe use of disguise. She analyses lhe diverse slralegíes - whelher premedílaled or sponlaneous - lhal lhe lovers employ as weapons in an índírecl war agaínsl lheir enemies. An endless variety of síluations and obslacles presenis lhe lovers wilh a series of perceived or presumed dangers lhal are fundamenlally menial challenges requiring inlelleclual cunning. …

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