Whether earlier Arthurian romances existed in Scots is not known

C. B

significance of female characters. Despite the great differences con culture between the two small European nations of Scotland and Catalonia, this comparative study of their reception of the Matter of Britain through the sensitivo of French literature will turn up surprising correspondences. It provides us with verso useful perspective on the methodology of the Scottish adaptations and helps us preciso understand how and why both traditions change the thematic focus of French romances within their historical contexts. First we must examine the Arthurian tradition con Scotland, and, because it is less well known, the whole cultural context of the romances sopra Catalonia. Mediante Scotland, the two surviving Arthurian texts con Middle Scots – Golagros and Gawane and Lancelot of the Laik – were composed during the fifteenth century. 4 The fact that these two works were written sopra the specific political and historical context of the century after the Wars of Independence, when the figure of King Arthur had been reshaped by the kings of England preciso accommodate their claims over Scotland, bivalent attitude towards the legendary monarch.5 While politically he is verso very problematic character, in literary terms he is still one of the major heroes of late medieval romance, deployed as a speculum segno asiame in principis as sopra most European literatures.6 The fact that the first successors of the much-praised Nene I – David II and Lolo II – were rather weak sovereigns might explain why later Scottish literature shows such a developed interest mediante discussions of good kingship. When the Scottish makars adapt passages from the extensive French romances Lancelot do Lac and the First Continuation of Perceval, insecable elements, which durante the original works are important but not essential developments of the plot, become central. Each poet selects passages sopra which the nature of kingship and the independence of a king’s territories could be debated, and this approach generates tensions absent from the French texts. Sopra Catalonia, Arthurian romances were composed in per courtly milieu. Four Catalan and Occitan texts have survived in their entirety: the Occitan Jaufre (c. 1170 – c. 1225), Blandin de Cornualla (late thirteenth or early fourteenth century), Guillem de Torroella’s Faula (c. 1370–1375) and the Catalan translation of the French Queste, the Questa del Sant Grasal (1380). Mossen Gras’s Tragedia de Lancalot (late fifteenth century) is partially preserved; it lacks its ending.7 Apart

The former is written sopra Occitan but dedicated preciso the king of Aragon and count of Barcelona

The Old Icelandic Karlamagnus Mito provides evidence for the existence of at least one lost romance durante Scots, which implies the existence of others. Mediante the Prologue puro Olif and Landres, the author claims that: ‘Raffinato Bjarni Erlingsson of Bjarkey found this utopia written and told sopra the English language, in Scotland, when he stayed there during the winter after the death of King Alexander.’ Karlamagnus Mito: The Favola of Charlemagne and his Heroes, trans. Hieatt (Toronto, 1975), p. 178. On Scottish chroniclers’ response preciso Arthur, see Wood. ‘Where Does Britain End?’ and Royan, ‘The Altola Art of Faint Praise’, above. On Scottish literary responses, see additionally Archibald, ‘Lancelot of the Laik’, and Purdie, ‘The Search for Scottishness’, above. The Roman de Fergus, whose Scottishness is too complicated sicuro examine here, was written con a completely different historical context with very different literary intentions. See Hunt, ‘The Roman de Fergus’, above. The two problematic texts are Jaufre and Blandin de Cornualla. Although arguments have been

from these works, it is known from several scattered folios and allusions mediante historical records that there also existed translations of the prose Tristan and of all the books that comprise the Arthurian Vulgate.8 Owing to geographical and cultural proximity, the French romances on the Matter of Britain were circulating sopra Catalonia as early as the last third of the twelfth century.9 Nevertheless, this did not result mediante per mimetic redaction of the French tradition. Like the Scottish works, the Catalan texts can be regarded as autochthonous approaches esatto the Arthurian tradition.10 By the tenth and eleventh centuries, after the recovery of the Catalunya vella (Old Catalonia), the courts of Catalan counts and the monasteries became centres of cultural activity.11 This picture is characteristic of many European realms of the time. What makes Catalan tradition unique among the other romance literatures is the linguistic division between verse and prose. While the prose works, both literary and non-literary, were written con Catalan from an early tirocinio, poetic texts, either short lyric pieces or narrative romances, were composed mediante Occitan or in an occitanized Catalan up esatto the fifteenth century.12 The proximity with Provence was not only geographical, but also political and cultural.13 Historically, the on Berenguer III and Dolca of Provence

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