Academic journal article Medium Aevum

'Protheselaus', by Hue De Rotelande

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

'Protheselaus', by Hue De Rotelande

Article excerpt

'Protheselaus', by Hue de Rotelande, ed. A. J. Holden, Anglo-Norman Text Society 49 (London, Anglo-Norman Text Society, 1993), 3 vols. 513 pp; 1 plate ISBN 0-905474-24-4. £15.00 (£10.00 to members).

Protheselaus is a sequel to the much better-known Ipomedon (also edited by A. J. Holden, in 1979). Protheselaus is in fact one of Ipomedon's sons, and the story deals with his quest to win back his inheritance from his brother and be reconciled with his beloved. As the editor points out, the work is not so artistically satifsying as Ipomedon, being uneven in tone and rather loosely episodic. The last third or so of the story is more than somewhat repetitive, and as a whole it appears to contain little of the tongue-in-cheek humour that has attracted scholars to the earlier text.

The edition, which supersedes Kluckow's of 1924, follows the now standard format of the ANTS. An introduction summarizes what is known of the author and gives a brief appreciation of the poem, studies possible sources (the romans d'antiquité, a motif from Tristan, some folk material), describes the manuscripts and examines the language of the text. The base-manuscript is 'moderately satisfactory', though it has a tendency to omit short words (it breaks off 1200 lines from the end); the other manuscript (leaving aside a fragment of 154 lines) is 'deplorable', sometimes to the point of incomprehensibility. Naturally, with manuscripts like these, considerable tact and ingenuity are called for in establishing the text, qualities which are well demonstrated in the printed version. …

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