Academic journal article Medium Aevum

ÉTude Sur la 'Chanson d'Aiquin' Ou 'La Conquête De la Bretagne Par le Roi Charlemagne'

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

ÉTude Sur la 'Chanson d'Aiquin' Ou 'La Conquête De la Bretagne Par le Roi Charlemagne'

Article excerpt

Meólas Lenoir, Étude sur la 'Chanson d'Aiquin' ou 'La Conquête de la Bretagne par le roi Charlemagne', Nouvelle Bibliothèque du Moyen Âge 89 (Paris: Honoré Champion, 2009). 746 pp. ISBN 978-2-7453-1772-8. euro139.00.

The Chanson d'Aiquin has been largely neglected by modern scholarship, despite the publication of a critical edition in 1979 (F.Jacques and M. Tyssens, Aiquin ou La Conquête de la Bretagne par le roi Charlemagne, Université de Provence, 1979). Nicolas Lenoir here seeks both to fill a gap in scholarship and to persuade us that this text is worth studying. In his introduction he asserts the historical interest of the text as the oldest text in French to come out of Brittany, dating probably from the later twelfth century, and outlines the shape of the study to come. Given how Httle known the text itself is, a reminder of the (quite complex) narrative would be helpful here.

The first section is concerned with the interaction between history and the literary narrative, as Lenoir sets the text both in its own historical past, the Viking occupation of Brittany and its reconquest, and in the immediate context of the poem's composition. Like many chansons de geste this is a text which engages with the political context of its own time, and the result is, as Lenoir demonstrates, a text which is rich in possible contemporary allusion, particularly with reference to the Anglo-Norman Plantagenets. Lenoir outlines the possible origins and date of the text, which survives only in a late manuscript. Demonstrating the clerical nature of the text, and assuming a pre-existing tradition, he inclines towards a clerc of the DoI region as the probable author, though this is very much on the balance of probability, as the evidence is thin. He also considers the literary context, evoking Aspremoni as an intertext, particularly in the discussions about the Plantagenets, but also the Chanson de Roland and parallels in other texts which may post-date Aiquin, depending on what date we actually accept for it. Lenoir goes on to examine the historical and literary context through three key individual characters: Roland, here transformed into a Breton by birth rather than a French nobleman imposed on the Bretons; Salamon, analysed first within the text and then in the CaroHngian epic in general; Ysoré, as the king who can unify Brittany. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.