Sunday, November 22, 2009

French Mideival Literature

interpretation, reinterpreted, history primarily the history of the "soul," all created, incl Nature, assumed symbolic, moralistic value, Aristotle the DISCOVErer of the laws of reason; reason given man to apprehend faith, thru faith complete understanding.One ideal, faithin establ order, dominant emot: honor or obligation to one's trust. liege, lady, God, in same manner nearsame terms. =lit restricted: vivid intense, poetic imaginative RATHER real. Mystical lit fraught personal longings aspiration grasp infinite witihn vessel of finite. Didactic and formalistic, moralizes life, lays code conduct, even in the AFFAIRS of the HEART, neglects intrinsic values life (Beaut indivhapp, justice)Lapidaries astrologies bestiaries of M-ages, sought to reveal symb ethic meaning of Nat herself.Universe limited, in its narrow scope as then known, no conscious effort to change: widen horizons, better material condits. Highest aim liberation from sin, avoidance or expiation.11th 12th: warlike conditions. pilgrimages to holy places, expeditions vs saracens in Spain, wars Crusades.Hierarchies of Demons and saints, in pilgimages, fastings, physical suffering, material Hell, material Purgatory.Not yet reflect truly national spirit (10th, 11th, lives of saint, saint alexis, poem of passion)Chansons de geste (deeds) products of the race Hugh Capet and successors called upon to govern. Jongleurs (minstrels) arranged epic poems into cycles, each headed by name of ancestor.A crucified savior, a Christ victorious over bodily pain, quintessence mystical, medieval spirit. Pietistic note.Feudalism: guiding princ: obligation, "commended himself" A mutual guarantee of person and property in an age of weak government. Fuedalism favors crown. Soc in gen now reflects F ideals.Distinctions BEtween: noble and serf, knight and yeoman, courtois and vilain (vulgar), definately drawn. 4 Great Classes or castes: noble, clergy, townsfolk/bourgeois, peasantry.Crusades begin and chivalry milit and soc org sweeps Euro.Polite (Courtois) soc comes into being.When not fighting, these paladins of Fra play warlike games; old men chess young fence or joust.ROLANDchanted at Hastings 1066 (chronicler William of Malmesbury)Serious tone.
Roland NOT courtois. manners of knights crude, tribal or family bond strong.
Ganelon's hatred becomes ruin of French. Roland designates as return-messenger to Marsile. equal to part, enraged presumption, braves Marsile, defies him, as any follower of Charles, sense of solitary grandeur amid the warring factions of state, would, cannot forgive R, insensate hatred, in his passion makes M believe that the destruction of the rear-guard will destroy the Fre. Oliver (reason), 11th hour logic tells him R responsible for Fre defeat, affection for friend mingles w cruelty of a reproach, for thus his conscious compels him to do.
Women: If I could see my lovely sister Alde,
Thou should'st never lie within her arms' embrace. (No refining influ of women)
Charles offers griefstricken Alde consolation son Louis as sub
News? Compacted? Roland w 20000 guard left behind in Sp attacked by overwhelming SaracensRoland is brave and Oliver is wise --Last efforts break sword save from pagans. Sacri for king country honor.Charles having crushed Saracens, returns Fra bodies of beloved knights. Alde, R's betrothed, falls dead at Char feet. Ganelon brought to justice torn pieces 4 stallions, Emperor under weight of sorrows 200y-o lives wearily on.X feudal valor. Relig + Patriot are one: knights fight greater glory of X Fra.Fighting bishops, Valkyrielike angels carry souls of valiant to Para, no place for sophis emots
Pelerinage de Charlemagne a Constantinople (before 1150)
Spirit of braggadocio and rollicking fun, market place epic addressed to populace of a great church fair, amuse rather than uplift.
Charles who wears crown at St Denis, asks the Queen whether there can be a more imposing monarch than himself. Rashly she names Hugo of Constantinople. At once Charles and the Twelve Peers journey to the Orient for the purpose of disproving the Queen's assertion.
In C linger, relics enable preposterous boasts or gabs. Thus majestic Hugo does homage, admits Charles no ordinary mortal. "Never shall we come into a land where renoun is not ours."
Ganelon treachery, Roland pride and loyalty, Charles sorrow--obvious kinship French Classical tragedy (clarity of outline, sense of proportion--Fre lit art)
William of Orange Cycle (Couronnement de Louis 1130)
exhaltation of X. Loyalty to Carol Dyn, tottering to its fall in the successors of Charles.
As in general: tragic muse, reiterating and reinforcing heroic motives, glorify Fra.
Louis too timid, William hastens to aid, protection, feeble, kills off usurpers marries Louis to own sister. To William he bore no love.
Guiborc fails to recognize him, partly because she cannot believe that W would have fled.
Doon de Mayence cycle (Raoul de Cambrai, Gerard de Roussillon 1150)
Raoul driven demand of Louis his just inheritance. L promises then wavers--perfidy, infuriates, destroys town Origini and its cloister of nuns, although in true Mid fashion he refuses to eat meat on Friday. Finally reconcil effected, in which King also pays forfeit.
Still no depiction of imaginative passion
Char Bernier "dull, expostulatory, helpless" excellent exampl hero marked by fate.
But the sight of her husbands degradation moves Bertha to urge...
ecclesiastical and feudal ideas, king and baron, castle and monastery, struggle for possession of the land.
Monastic schools, feudal castles arose on every hand. Great cult upheaval 1150-1200. Polite soc takes form definite molds. Women play part affairs of state, gave tone to ideals of which they themselves the object. Era: warlike, but war no longer opposition of popular forces, conflict of rival clans, but SOCIAL game, waged according to fixed rules: those of Chivalry. Heroic gives place to sentimental and adventurous; epic poetry dies out or bc merged w new genre, “romance”, Huon de Bordeaux 1220 heroic followed by purely fanciful or magical. Aiol 1250+ ttansfuses epic background w romantic motifs and vein of real humor. 1250+: heroic motivation disappears altogether, chansons de geste translated to prose bc part of romantic narrative lore of Europe.
(CH II Lyric and Romance)
12th cen Fra: personal or “lyric” inspiration, songs originally accompany dance (la carole), hands all joined in the refrain, leader. Dating from a time when there was no formal division between polite soc and the people as such. Spring-tide, nightingale, and love. Loving hearts burn secretly.
Northern Fre Type: independ of S, provencal influ. Addressed to soc at large, wo expressed distinction of cast. Product of jangleurs: narrative in form, love experience told as a story. Alliteration of names. Ending in a refrain of 1 2 or 3 shorter verses. Reveries or Mal Mariee(pungent synical, embody the lament of those wedded unhappily. Protagonist as elsewhere is a woman. Consoles herself by taking lover.) Pastourelle: the “shepherdess”, graces celebrate, while riding thru the country meets a sheperdess whose love he implores. Wishes to remain true, he comes to her rescue, attacks importunate nobleman, freq to the regret of the girl.
Her shapely form brought joy to me,
Her glowing color too;
And stopping there, her close to see,
I straightaway 'gan to woo.
Succumbs to his beau parler, forgets rustic in the arms of the new lover.
Southern: encouraged by rivalry of the courts of Champagne, Blois, Flanders, England. Gave to the new age a distinction (second only to Renaissance). William IX 1087-1127, earliest known tropator (composer of tropes), grandfather lighthearted Eleanor, mother of Marie of Champagne and Alice of Blois. Avenue northward, baggage of poets travelling over it. Gai saber, new poetic art. New Ovid of age written Tractatus Amoris / De Amore. A poetry of “art”, point of departure: idenitification of love w relig: Omnia vinvit amor. Purely sensuous ideal of antiquity changed: conviction of the unattainable, like mystic before the Virgin he humbled himself before his lady. Result: phil interpretation of love as the source of Noble Traits (valour), lover became: perfectworshipper of his unattainable mistress. System has laws, precepts, remedies: code: complex in extreme and administered by Love (the Lord of Terrible Aspect). Poetry becomes a difficult and subtle art, trobar clus, conceits and euphemisms, every natural note banished: dishonorable vulgar vilain. Gain in poetic expression. Psychology of emotion. Lyric not of the people, in artistic form. German Minnesong largely importation. Themes: crusades suggest Conon de Bethune 1180), conceit of wandering body cors and captive heart cuers, subtleties of mind, art turnd to rhetoric. Tenson and Jeu parti: debates or contests in verse on some problem of love casuistry: should a lover prefer the marriage or the death of his beloved? Which lover has the greater chance, one who is blind, or one who is deaf and dumb? Chanson. Game toy with ideas.
Peotry is ever ready to draw on pop sources, just as the people are willing to adopt courtly forms and modify them. Morning song, salut d'amour,
The courtois ladies were enamoured of the art of Provence also reacted to the wonder of the Orient, now made accessible by the Crusades, and the tales of marvels and enchantments, legend of Troy, Aeneas, The past, by degrees, seemed contemporaneous and actual: genuine renaissance, chivalric garb, Troilus a fate-stricken lover, matchless like Helen, lovelorn like Dido, bewitching like Medea, was the aim of most 12th cen heroines. Past exploited (monasteries) as to its sensus “meaning”, Ovid, sanction of age, elaborated, metaphor and hyperbole, gains almost freedom of prose 8-syl replaces 10, a whole literature drawn from the Latin, in the vernacular: roman to romance, assumes the function of a distinct genre, independent of any Latin origin, prototype modern novel. Matiere: fra National Epic, Rome, Britain Arthur.
Alexandre Strange animals, amphibiuos men, Valleys from which None Return, Fountain of Youth, speaking trees fortell his doom, Wonderbook of East, spirited style and richly flowing narrative.
Thebes 1150 , posit woman stil subordinate to man.
Eneas 1150+ circle about Dido and Lavinia, as the moth plays about the flame, thru Lavinia, more skilled in artifices of love, he regains his prowess and accomplishes the high emprise of defeating Turnus—and, incidentally, of founding Rome. Deft and vivid handling of dialog.
Troie 1165 , wrote 30000 verses in honor of Eleanor of Poitou. Dares and Dictys furnished only the background and the main characters; medieval alaboration. Fall of Troy becomes typ 12th cen mil exploit, knights in armor, ladies in castle and bowers, behind it all the trials and tribs of courtly lovers. Helen too puzzling, as well as too Greek; Andromache only a faithful wife; Cassandra a scolding sorceress; Polyxena a victim; whereas Briseida had a fairly clear record. Benoit gave feudal soc an ancestry in the halls of Ilion (as Virgin imperial Rome). Narrative has some flow and charm, picturesque.
Celtic stories: in England thru Wales and Cornwall, on continent thru Armorica or Brittany. Commerce, and therefore literature, musical accompaniment, in the French court circles, folklore character much,
Geoffery on Monmouth: Historia regum Britanniae: mingles legend w fact in a resonant pseudo-historical style, Brutus—eponymic of Britain, so that Arthur appears the exemplar chiv, curtois B counterpart of the Fr Charlemagne, Mordred—not Lancelot—lover of Guinevere, court the center of “politeness, which people of other countries thought worthy of immitation, “love” inspires “knighthood”, crux, discussion, “the women of As court esteem none worthy of their love who have not given proof of their valor in three days' battle”,
Wace (Norman poet) put Historia in Fr verse, elab, adds account of Round table—became framework for later A story.
Tristan: Celtic magic combin of human passion, prim adven and custom, which is unique in Fr romance. Unlike Arthur, Tristan romances apparently come straight from the vernacular. Lost Estoire written in Eng in Norman French probably. Tristans expeddition to Ire to fetch the blond-haired Isolt for his maternal unkle, King Mark of Cornwall. Love-philter, stung by repentance, passion, endeavors to renounce Isolt, flees, marries second Isolt, decieved by false report boat was to bring true Isolt black sail, falls dead.
Beroul: same story but primitive traits, midas-like ears, concealed under a cap, cunning of the dwarf Frocin, reveals tristans guilt to mark, leap to freedom from chapel window, Iselt handed over to band of lepers, insight, humor, connects the legend, another world, does not narrate, he psychologizes, knights of Brittany, treats Tristans desir, and his volunte (which tears him from her), develops the conceit of Iselts cuers (TR) and her cors (which to his and her shame Tristan shares with Mark), lays foundation for theme, manage a trois, penetrates the tragedy of Mark's life, crystallize, triumph of life over death,
Old Norse Sir Tristrem, Folie Trisan (T disquised as 'fool')
“With such models as guide, the Romance enters upon a fruitful career.” So they say when Troyes comes up. Troyes late 12th. Active in court 1160 1170 semetime.
“Perceval and other forms in Fra of Grail legend. Robert de Boron (prob from Bergundy) wrote the Roman de l'Estoire dou Graal or Metrical Joseph, a poem on the career of Joseph of Arimathea. The connects the Grail definitely with the cup of the Last Supper and relates how the followers of Joseph brought the Grail to England. Thus the foundation is layed for an entire Xation of the legen and a general remodelling of the Grail quest, which is largely the wor of the first quartre of the thirteenth century.”
Crestien's poem inspire masterpiece in Germany—Middle High German Parzival 1215 Wolfram von Eschenbach. Makes Parzival an exemplar of German treue or fidelity of character. (creates a type second only to faust)
Next to cretien, British matter: Raoul de Houdenc (after 1200). Accords prize of beauty to Idoine, lets the hero accomplish impossible tasks in the pursuit of prowess, little to hold reader except thrill, one of its fairest blossoms, bravery and courtesy, humor and fancy.
Chivalry having become a thing apart, the courtly “love adventure” treated w more an dmore realism, own path, for its own sake, as fate.
Love of abstraction, gothic art after 1200, not merely a personification, but the conscious representation of one action in terms of an entirely different action. Without ceasing to be a true story, becomes a volume of symbols. “vision” literature of med church.
Jean de Meun: his scorn of the fair sex helped to keep his work alive at a time when many of his other ideas were out of date or inappropriate. Uphold science against superstition. Proverbial.
Making the fable reflect contemporary manners. Wolf stands for hypocritical priest, calf fleeing . Novice escaping the cloister. The drama
does not reach its flourescenece until the later mid ages, in the 15th cen, It waited for a public which came with the development of the great industrial centers and the rise of the Bourgoise to a place of prominence.
Later developing the so-called mystery play1374 or miracle play: 13th Miracle de Theophile by Rutebeuf : a monk has bartered his soul to the Devil and finally having grown repentant, he recovers it thru the intercession of the Virgin.
Wife slandered by revengeful lover fav theme.
Adam de la Hale: Jeu de Robin et Marion. Obvious adaptation of the Pastourelle to a musical, dramatic form. Spoken of as forrunner to comic opera. Robin loves Marion, and together they ward off an importunate knight. This occus amid scenes of merrymaking and frolic; a wolf is driven from the flock attended by 2 shepherds and the play ends in a dance which carries the company off to the woods. The beauty and grace of the entire compos\ition has often been noted. Certain lines breathe the spring time of life, altho many of the motifs are commonplacesfor example the refrain: Robin M'aime, Robin M'a, / Robin m'a demandee, si m'ara,END:human institutions decay, by degrees.monarchy forced win support bourgeois class, power great nobles wanes, feudalism disintigrates. Scientific knowl rises medieval fixity broken and Renaissance.Begin w satire and irony. Gallic commonsense, protest: fabliaux, beast-epic.
Courtly love reaches its apogee, “third estate” hard commonsense earliest victory: 1270 Clopinel.
A time when courtly idealism was disintegrating and burguois irony scored its first victories.
Receives its coup de grace in the undying pages of Don Quixote—exaltaion of chivalry and not to the romances as such.
14th cen crusade-cycle romantic compositions: become object burlesque and parody, fate awaited all epic and chivalric expression at close of MiddleAges.

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