Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Dit et Sa Technique Litteraire Des Origines a 1340

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Dit et Sa Technique Litteraire Des Origines a 1340

Article excerpt

Monique Leonard, Le Dit et sa technique litteraire des origines a 1340, Nouvelle Bibliotheque du Moyen Age 38 (Paris: Honor& Champion, I996). 464 pp. ISBN z-85203-56i-8. F. Fr. 360.oo.

This work, which is a version prepared for publication of the author's these d'etat, provides an exhaustive taxonomic survey of all texts labelled dit either by their authors or by at least one scribe in a medieval manuscript. Little account is taken of works called 'dits' only by modern critics, since the aim of the book is to attempt to determine what the Middle Ages understood by the term, and to see whether it is possible, based on the evidence of works called 'dits' at the time, to define the generic parameters of the kind. The cut-off date of 1 340 is deliberate, since it excludes the lyrico-narrative dits of Machaut and his successors. This leaves a corpus of 684 works ranging from the Du Con of Gautier le Leu to the Chastel d'amour of Robert Grosseteste via

L'Escoufle of Jean Renard and Renard le contrefait. This last is constantly left out of account, however, since its 40,ooo lines distort all statistics. The study was undertaken using a computer, and this shows both in the numerous statistical tables included in the text and in the sixty-two pages of appendices (not including the bibliography and index) listing dits by period of composition, literary form, and a variety of headwords. Unfortunately word-processed composition also shows in the very large number of misprints and layout problems which beset the book. …

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