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Volume 25, Issue 2, 2004
An Old French Romance and its Adaptations

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1. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
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2. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Craig Thorrold Mistranslation or Modification?: Toponymical Transformation in Partonope of Blois
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This paper is concerned with the transformation in the Middle English Partonope of Blois of French place-names that appear in its source, Partonopeus de Blois. Six of the twenty-two French toponyms in the version of Partonopeus drawn upon by Partonope appear at least once in the English text in a different form. At first sight these divergences seem either to be insignificant substitutions or else to arise from common scribal errors. Closer consideration suggests, however, that they are in at least some cases intentional. The principal effect of these alterations, which has escaped the attention of previous scholars, is to shift the location of the Somegur episode from the Vexin to Ponthieu. Given the probable dating of Partonope to the second quarter of the fifteenth century, this relocation may have been designed to avoid a transfer to the Lancastrians of the implicit criticism in Partonopeus of Henry II's possession of Normandy.
3. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Eugenia Margarida Neves dos Santos D'Un Imaginaire à l'Autre: Partonopeus de Blois et la Historia de l'Esforçat Cavaller Partinobles
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This paper offers an introduction to the anonymous Catalan Historia de I'Esforgat Cavalier Partinobles; the author discusses some of the principal differences between the Historia and the Old French Partonopeus de Blois. She notes that the opening episodes of the Catalan text are marked by a strong element of fantasy and provide an alternative version of the family history of Melior and her sister; also that in Partonopeus the character of Gaudin is already a Christian when he first appears, but that in the Historia his conversion forms part of the main story. These and other changes, including the introduction of a Moorish sorceress and a mysterious sword which may be wielded only by a Christian, are related to the historical context of Christian / Muslim conflict in northern Spain against which the text was composed. The author also considers questions of cultural transmission, concluding that the Catalan adaptation is not simply a re-telling of the Partonopeus story, but also serves as a means of preserving an endangered language,
4. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Maria Bendinelli Predelli The Italian Cantare of Bel Gherardino: A Source for Partonopeus?
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This paper provides a summary of the fourteenth-century Italian cantare Bel Gherardino, and examines the similarities and differences between it and the Old French Partonopeus de Blois. In many of the passages where Bel Gherardino differs from Partonopeus — notably in the characterisation of the heroine, in a simplification of the passage concerning the hero's return home, and in the location of the rescue of the hero by the heroine's sister — the Partonopeus version appears to be the result of a clearly identifiable intervention on the part of an author. It may be concluded that Bel Gherardino does not derive from the text we now know as Partonopeus de Blois, but rather from an earlier story, which may be termed Ur-Gherardino. The existence of an Ur-Gherardino poem would also help to shed light on the problematic relationship between Partonopeus, Ipomedon and Lanzelet.
5. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Anne Reynders La Version en Moyen-Néerlandais du Partonopeude Blois Est-Elle Une Traduction Fidéle d'Une Version Frangaise Aujourd'hui Perdue?
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This paper is a comparative study of the continuation of both the Middle Dutch Pardionopeus van Bloys and the Old French Partonopeus de Blois. The author argues that, contrary to the opinions of some previous scholars, Parthonopeus van Bloys is not an unquestioning translation of the French text; rather it represents a subtle reworking of the continuation. The Dutch tale also contains a unique episode which has little in common with the French tradition, which appears to be an original composition rather than a translation of a lost Old French version. The author observes that the Middle Dutch adaptation differentiates more clearly between Christians and Muslims than the Old French version, and notes the narrator's use of humour and irony, particularly in the portrayal of the sultan. She concludes that the writer of Parthonopeus van Bloys was no simple translator, but rather a critical adaptor who analysed his original carefully and then produced a modified text which was popular among the medieval Dutch-speaking public
6. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Pierre-Marie Joris "Thèbes Avec Troie": Partonopeude Blois ou le Sens d'Un Retour
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This paper explores the relationship between Partonopeus de Blois and other contemporary Old French texts. Among the numerous reworkings of literary material recognisable within the narrative, the author focuses on how the narrator of the Old French text rewrites elements from the romances of antiquity, particularly material related to Thebes and to the story of Troy. He argues that the skillful integration of these elements and the inherent intertextuality of the structure of the romance informs our reception of the text, and contributes to a complex reading of what is a superbly-architectured piece of work. He goes on to argue that it is only by understanding the subtle nuances of the literary interplay within Partonopeus de Blois that we will be able to further our knowledge of the place held by this particular romance in the pantheon of medieval literature.
7. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Alain Corbellari De la "Bibliothèque Des Romans" au Grand Opéra: Les Métamorphoses de Partonopeus aux XVIII et XIXe Siècles
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Forgotten in France for many centuries, the romance of Partonopeus de Blois was resurrected in the eighteenth century and enjoyed a certain notoriety which culminated in Massenet's opera Esclarmonde, a nineteenth-century adaptation of the tale by the librettist Alfred Blau. This paper reveals the story of the rediscovery and the dissemination of Partonopeus de Blois through the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and explores the motivations of the early philologists for choosing this romance. The author then focuses on the sources of the opera Esclarmonde and on the possible inspirations and influences affecting its creators
8. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Olivier Collet "Armes Et Amour" Ou "Amour Sans Armes?": Un Aspect Négligé de la Circulation et de la Reception du Roman de Partonopeu de Blois au XIIIème Siècle
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This paper analyses the differing receptions of the Old French Partonopeus de Blois in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries by revisiting a little known text, a peculiar prolongation in the form of an Art d'aimer which has been added to a versified French translation of the Disciplina clericalis. This continuation exists in only one manuscript; recent advances in technology and new research have allowed the author to determine that quite large parts of this Art d'aimer have been borrowed from Partonopeus. He analyses these borrowings, reassesses the judgments of his predecessors, and concludes that Partonopeus de Blois might have had a much greater literary impact on the authors of other Old French texts than has previously been thought
9. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Denis Hüe Faire d'Armes, Parler d'Amour: Les Strategies du Récit Dans Partonopeus de Blois
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In this paper the author revisits selected scenes of love and war from the Old French Partonopeus de Blois. He focuses on the rhetoric of these passages and by a close textual reading highlights the dynamics of the romance and the game of echoes between the two spheres. He underlines the symmetry of the discourse of love and war and the constant dialogue which is established by the anonymous author. Epic and courtly motifs are knowingly intertwined to create meaning and to renew the art of writing. He concludes that in this story, love is the way to redeem not only the knight but also the narrator of the romance.
10. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Francis Gingras Le Miel et l'Amertume: Partonopeus de Blois et l'Art du Roman
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This paper focuses on the prologue of the Old French Partonopeus de Blois. The author analyses the narrator's style of writing and argues that he puts the receivers at the very centre of the experience, relying on them to analyse the material with his subtle help. The author argues that it is therefore not the intrinsic nature — good or bad — of the story which is important, but what the receivers may gain from it. Via a series of reworkings, the creator of Partonopeus orients the reception of the story and establishes his narrative style by an innovative use of literary tradition.
11. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
An Faems Le Narrateur Amoureux de Parthonopeus Vanbloys
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This paper consists of a comparative study of the figure of the narrator in the Old French Partonopeus de Blois and the Middle Dutch Parthonopeus van Bloys. The author focuses on two key passages which illustrate the way in which the translator both maintains and adapts the narratorial interventions in the text. In general, the figure of the narrator in the Middle Dutch poem is a faithful recreation of his French predecessor; however, there are some significant differences between the two. In the first passage the addition of a reference to Ovid illustrates the relationship between the poet and his medieval Dutch public. The second passage forms part of the translator's own original continuation of the story of the sultan Margaris, which sees a significant shift in the function of the narrator and the tone of his interventions.
12. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
J. Chimène Batemzin Problems of Recognition: The Fallible Narrator and the Female Addressee in Partonopeude Blois
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This paper is concerned with two interrelated aspects of the Old French Partonopeus de Blois; the subjective perspective of the narrator, and the theme of recognition. The frequent narratorial interventions show that the poet's position is not one of detachment: his own desire intrudes into the story of Partonopeus, and the two tales of desire inform each other; in this way, the romance may almost be interpreted as a confession addressed to the female beloved. The narrator repeatedly identifies himself with female characters, claiming that his personal experience has allowed him to recognize their inner realities: his identification with these female characters and his failure to communicate with his beloved can be seen as related phenomena. The female addressee does not merely provide the poet with an excuse to work; she also enables him to produce a new and complex kind of literary discourse.
13. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Gretchen Mieszkowski Urake and the Gender Roles of Partonope of Blois
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This paper is concerned with the inverted gender roles portrayed in the Middle English Partonope of Blois, and the part played by Urake in realigning them. The relationship between hero and heroine begins with Partonope in a female passive role as a "kept man," and Melior in a male dominating role as a sexually self-assured woman who chooses the man she wants and controls him. Urake, one of the most unusually interventionistic of romance go-betweens, saves Partonope's life and prepares him, both physically and psychologically, to assume his position as the triumphal hero; she also torments Melior into accepting a less controlling form of love more suitable for a medieval woman. In this way the conventional ending to the romance is enhanced by the satisfaction of seeing the inverted gender roles of hero and heroine put to rights
14. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Claire M. Jackson The City as Two-Way Mirror in the Middle English Partonope of Blois
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The Middle English Partonope of Blois possesses two characteristics which are more in keeping with twelfth-century French romance than with fifteenth-century English literature: a strong focus on place and the forceful presence of the heroine. Both Melior and her city undergo a substantial shift in identity: Melior is transformed from a dominating woman who seeks to control the hero into a more passive figure; Chef d'Oire changes both in character — from being an otherworldly magical place with its own independent sense of time to a tournament venue more grounded in reality — and in the terminology which is used to describe it. Throughout the work Melior and her city are portrayed as interdependent and inseparable, and in order to convert the initially subversive and powerful Melior into a more conventional romance heroine it is also necessary to adapt the image of her city.
15. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Mattia Cavagna Le Désert-Forêt Dans le Roman de Partonopeus de Blois
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This paper analyses the importance of the forest in understanding the Old French Partonopeus de Blois. The forest embodies the dual nature of the romance, mixing religious and supernatural elements. It provides a structural framework for the action, as both parts of the romance start with a journey into the forest: it is the passage to the Otherworld, the frontier between reality and the unknown. Placed at the limit of the civilised world, the forest is the space of perigrinations and of reconciliation, both with other characters and with God. In Partonopeus the forest also leads to the sea, the next step in the journey to the Otherworld, and the passage from one realm of reality to the other is achieved with the help of an animal. The author also reflects on the otherworldly roles of Melior and Uraque, in the traditions of the fairy lover and the healing fairy.
16. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Albrecht Classen The Struggle Against Fear as a Struggle for the Self in Konrad von Wurzburg's Partonopier Und Meliur
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Magic appears frequently in medieval narrative, offering both danger and opportunity to the individual. The link between magic and fear is one of the most intriguing aspects of courtly romance, and this phenomenon is extremely well-developed in Konrad von Wiirzburg's Partonopier und Meliur. Konrad displays remarkable skill in developing the psychological aspects of his protagonists, and this paper demonstrates that the process of personal growth for the hero of this text is reflected in multiple manifestations of fear Partonopier is initially afraid of the strange forest, the supernatural ship, the deserted city, the dark night and the invisible Meliur; later he fears losing both Meliur's love and God's grace. Fear proves to be the basic element of his entire life, but it provides him with the opportunity to search for himself; his path towards maturity is directly linked to his ability to overcome it.
17. Mediaevalia: Volume > 25 > Issue: 2
Contributor's Vitae
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