Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Rene d'Anjou: The Book of the Smitten Heart

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Rene d'Anjou: The Book of the Smitten Heart

Article excerpt

Rene d'Anjou: The Book of the Smitten Heart, ed. and trans. Stephanie Viereck Gibbs and Kathryn Karczewska (New York: Routledge, 2001). lviii + 283 pp.; 16 plates. ISBN 0-8153-3858-9. L90.00.

What a pleasure it is to welcome this astonishingly handsome volume: spacious page layout, fine paper, leisurely critical apparatus, excellent colour illustrations from the magnificent Vienna manuscript! And what an intelligent initiative this is: the editors are putting at the disposal of the wider reading public a text that has been very difficult of access, other than in Quatrebarbes's dated edition of 1844-6, in the unobtainable edition done by Smital and Winkler in 1926, or in the rather pedestrian edition done by Susan Wharton for the Union Generale des Editions in 1980 (and which is also now out of print). Above all, this edition and facing-page translation is of very high quality: another pleasant surprise, since they began life, as I happen to know, as undergraduate pieces of work. The critical apparatus consists of brief biographical notes on Rene himself and notes on the manuscript, Codex Vindobonensis 2579, a summary of the text, and interesting commentary on the literary quality of the Livre du cuers d'amours espris, with an account of the literary tradition of which it forms part, contributed by Per Nykrog, and a select bibliography: all this is competently done. The text itself is edited conservatively, with a minimum of emendation, using Bibliotheque Nationale, MS f. …

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