The Cambridge Companion to Medieval French Literature / Edition 1

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Medieval French literature encompasses 450 years of literary output in Old and Middle French, mostly produced in Northern France and England. These texts, including courtly lyrics, prose and verse romances, dits amoureux and plays, proved hugely influential for other European literary traditions in the medieval period and beyond. This Companion offers a wide-ranging and stimulating guide to literature composed in medieval French from its beginnings in the ninth century until the Renaissance. The essays are grounded in detailed analysis of canonical texts and authors such as the Chanson de Roland, the Roman de la Rose, Villon's Testament, Chrétien de Troyes, Machaut, Christine de Pisan and the Tristan romances. Featuring a chronology and suggestions for further reading, this is the ideal companion for students and scholars in other fields wishing to discover the riches of the French medieval tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This volume is an excellent reference, a helpful tool for students preparing exams and anyone embarking on research. The concise guide to reference works is a particularly useful feature of the appendices. One of the innovative features of the collection is the analysis of manuscripts and their illuminations which many of the authors include, offering a more holistic approach to the texts in terms of their presentation, reception, and consumption by contemporaries and late readers in the larger context of medieval society."
Arthuriana, Sarah-Grace Heller, The Ohio State University
Library Journal

Gaunt (French, King's Coll., London) and Kay (French, Princeton Univ.) offer students and scholars a new way of examining medieval French literature. Their book is not chronologically organized and not a literary history but rather an agenda for research students and teachers of medieval French. The editors ask four questions, under which they group included essays: What is a medieval text? What is a medieval French author? What is the value of genre for medieval French literature? How can we read medieval French literature historically? Adrian Armstrong (early French culture, Univ. of Manchester) contributes a piece on the Testament of François Villon demonstrating his unstable persona and his use of elements of other poets. Under the section dealing with the importance of genre in a medieval text, Jane H.M. Taylor (French, Durham Univ.) discusses medieval lyrical poetry. Simon P. Simpson (French, Univ. of Glasgow) demonstrates how medieval French literature can be read in the context of historical events. This book offers a new approach for students and scholars studying French literature. Highly recommended for academic libraries.
—Bob T. Ivey

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521861755
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 4/30/2008
  • Series: Cambridge Companions to Literature Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 300
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.98 (d)

Meet the Author

Simon Gaunt is Professor of French at King's College London.

Sarah Kay is Professor of French at Princeton University.

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Table of Contents

Chronology; Introduction Simon Gaunt and Sarah Kay; Part I. What Is a Medieval French Text?: 1. The Chanson de Roland Jane Gilbert; 2. The Old French Vulgate cycle Peggy McCracken; 3. Le Roman de la rose Noah D. Guynn; 4. The Testament of François Villon Adrian Armstrong; Part II. What Is a Medieval French Author?: 5. Chrétien de Troyes Matilda Bruckner; 6. The Châtelain de Couci Simon Gaunt; 7. Guillaume de Machaut Deborah McGrady; 8. Christine de Pizan Marilynn Desmond; Part III. What Is the Value of Genre for Medieval French Literature?: 9. Narrative genres Keith Busby; 10. Lyric poetry of the later Middle Ages Jane H. M. Taylor; 11. Genre, parody and spectacle Sarah Kay; 12. Theatre and theatricality Helen Solterer; Part IV. How Can We Read Medieval French Literature Historically?: 13. Feudalism and kingship James R. Simpson; 14. Clerks and laity Emma Campbell; 15. The marital and the sexual William Burgwinkle; 16. Others and alterity Sylvia Huot; Appendix. Reference works for Old and Middle French; Bibliography of medieval French texts; Suggested further reading; Index.

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