Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Moniage Guillaume: Chanson De Geste Du XII^sup E^ Siecle

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Moniage Guillaume: Chanson De Geste Du XII^sup E^ Siecle

Article excerpt

Le Moniage Guillaume: chanson de geste du XII^sup e^ siecle, edition de la redaction longue par Nelly Andrieux-Reix, Classiques francais du Moyen Age 145 (Paris: Honore Champion, 2003). 358 pp. ISBN 2-74530753-3. euro28.00.

This closing poem of the Geste de Guillautue d'orange offers an appealing combination of serious epic and knockabout humour, telling as it does of the hero's often comic failure to adapt his warrior temperament to the quieter demands of the monastic life. Two versions of the Montage survive from the later twelfth century: a shorter and possibly older redaction of around 950 decasyllabics; and a more extensive treatment of nearly 7,000 lines in which some parts of the shorter poem are elaborated but which also incorporates new episodes relating most significantly to the religious life of the hero. Nelly Andrieux-Reix here offers a critical edition of the longer version, designated Moniage 2 by its earlier editior, William Cloetta, who in 1906 published both redactions in the SATF series. Unlike the Cloetta edition, which presents a composite version based on MS C (Boulogne-sur-Mer 192), Andrieux-Reix's text, with variants from the AB family of manuscripts, takes Bibliotheque Nationale de France, MS f. fr. 774 as its base, a manuscript which scholars have identified as having once belonged to the monastery of Saint-Guilhem-leDesert with which Guillaume is traditionally associated.

The introduction is in four main sections: an account of the manuscript tradition; a resume of the poem's principal narrative sequences (Guillaume's retreat to the Abbey of Aniane, lines 1-2101; the building of the hermitage in the wilderness, lines 2102-861; the hero's capture by Synagon and his captivity in Palermo, lines 2862-4923; and his defeat of the pagan giant Ysore who had laid siege to Pans, lines 4924-6862); the principles governing the choice of base manuscript and presentation of the text; and a linguistic commentary in the traditional mould. …

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