Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Arnaut Vidal De Castelnaudary: Le Livre Des Aventures De Monseigneur Guilhem De la Barra

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Arnaut Vidal De Castelnaudary: Le Livre Des Aventures De Monseigneur Guilhem De la Barra

Article excerpt

Arnaut Vidal de Castelnaudary; Le Livre des aventures de Monseigneur Guilhem de la Barra, elite et traduit en francais moderne par Gerard Gouiran, preface par Jean-Charles Huchet, revise par Jean-Pierre Chambon, Texas et traductions des Classiques francais du moyen age 5 (Paris: Champion, 1998). 320 pp. ISBN 2-85203-733-5. F. Fr. 110.00

This edition of the adventures of Guilhem de la Barra is most welcome. As Jean-Charles Huchet's introduction says, there has not been an edition since Paul Meyer's in 1895 for the Societe des anciens textes francais, and this is the first time that it has been translated in its entirety.

Written by 1318, Arnaut Vidal's romance belongs to the period of decline of Medieval Occitan literature and illustrates the change of approach made to suit the bourgeois tastes of Toulouse society. The story is in two parts, set in an indeterminate Near Eastern context, the first being the search for a wife for the king of La Serra and his marriage, the second Guilhem's exile, the loss and return of his children, his reinstatement, and his eventual death, crowned in glory. It moves between Syria, Armenia, and Hungary and is reminiscent of the epics of the twelfth century in northern France with the reconquest of the holy places and the conversion of the infidel. The wider aim, however, is to flatter those bourgeois of Toulouse who aspired to the trappings of the aristocratic life in the feudal context which the French had brought with them in the years following the Albigensian Crusade. …

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