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This volume of the epic cycle of poems concerning the First Crusade focuses on the birth and early fictional life of the hero Godfrey and his encounter with the Saracen Cornumarant.
The ten-volume Old French Crusade Cycle, when completed, will represent a large body of epics never before edited critically, important both for an understanding of the phenomenon of cyclical composition and an understanding of the problem of the relationship between epic and romance. Published in Old French, the cycle, which dates from the 13th century, is both history and fiction, romance and epic, folklore and reality; its sources are both oral and classical, and its influence can be seen in translations and versions in Spanish, English, and German. Thus, it is of great value to scholars in a wide range of fields, including Old French literature, Old Spanish literature, Medieval German literature, Middle English literature, folklore, history, linguistics, and music history.
This third volume, edited by Emanuel J. Mickel, Jr., includes two branches: Les Enfances Godefroi presents the birth and childhood of Godfrey, the future hero of the First Crusade, and focuses on the Boulogne/Bouillon family. This poem includes expanded treatment of Ida and a long episode in England concerning Godfrey's older brother, Eustace, the future count of Boulogne. The other branch, the Retour de Cornumarant, is a later addition that concerns the Saracen's journey to Europe to assassinate Godfrey before he can lead the crusade. As it turns out, the journey actually succeeds in promoting the crusading movement.