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To survey the field of medieval English and European romance is to witness the remarkable elasticity of a narrative genre that came from an irrepressible urge to tell and retell stories in new languages, with shifting themes, adapted into particular forms, and transmuted into new versions for different geographic, social, and political contexts. The term “romance” applies to a vast domain of texts, which were produced throughout Britain, Europe, and the Mediterranean world, as far west as Wales, as far east as Byzantium, from Scotland to Italy and Spain, from the twelfth century to the early modern period and even later.
This new Companion provides a broad and perceptive overview of the most important vernacular literary genre of the Middle Ages. Freshly commissioned, original chapters from seventeen leading scholars introduce students and general readers to the form's poetics, narrative voice and manuscript contexts, as well as its relationship to the Mediterranean world, race, gender and the emotions, among many other topics. Providing fresh perspectives on the first pan-European literary movement, essays range across a broad geographical area, including England, France, Italy, Germany and the Iberian Peninsula, as well as a varied linguistic spectrum, including Arabic, Hebrew and Yiddish. Exploring the celebration of chivalric ideals and courtly refinements, the volume excavates the tensions and traumas lying beneath decorous surface appearances. An introduction, bibliography of texts and translations as well as chapter-by-chapter reading lists complete this essential guide.
In 1541, in the midst of protracted marriage negotiations on behalf of her young daughter, Marguerite de Navarre penned a 1401-line love debate poem, commissioned a series of eleven illustrations for it, and gave an illuminated copy of the manuscript to Anne de Pisselieu, Duchesse d'Estampes, the mistress of Marguerite's brother, King François I. Chantilly MS 522, which we will examine here, is one of two extant illustrated manuscripts of this poem. Written at a difficult time during Marguerite's life, La Coche dramatizes the self-imposed exile of the poet, Queen of Navarre, in the countryside, where she encounters three grieving women who describe their unhappiness in love, each advancing particular reasons for being the most miserable in a unique style of versification and rhyme. As they take refuge from the rain in a coach and journey back to court, the women argue about who should judge the debate, which Marguerite has agreed to write down; the matter concludes with Marguerite's presentation of her book to the Duchess, who will read it with the King. The book thus stages a mise-en- abyme of its creation and transmission, and seems to mark, for its author, a watershed in her literary career. Marguerite de Navarre includes La Coche in the first printed edition of her collected works, where it is the only fully illustrated work. After La Coche, she writes more often in a secular mode; shortly after this time, she may have begun to pen some of the tales for the Heptaméron, which was published posthumously.
For its querelle among female voices about courtly love, La Coche has long been recognized as a precursor to the Heptaméron. Renaissance critics have examined its valorization of female friendship and its dramatization of a community of women offering support to a woman writer who takes up her pen in their interests. The illustrated manuscript, Chantilly MS 522, executed by the artist identified as the Parisian Master of François de Royan,49 has been hailed as a precious example of a Renaissance illuminated manuscript that depicts its female author. Perhaps just as remarkable are three unadorned manuscripts with prose “legends” providing detailed instructions for the artist inserted where the images should be; many critics believe that Marguerite wrote these instructions herself.
This collection of essays recognizes the accomplishments of one of the pathbreaking senior women in the field of medieval French literature, Nancy Freeman Regalado, who has been on the faculty of New York University since 1968.
Nancy Regalado has distinguished herself as a specialist of the Middle Ages, with work ranging widely from literary to cultural history and, more recently, staging and performance. Her publications include such seminal studies as Poetic Patterns in Rutebeuf: A Study in Noncourtly Poetic Modes of the Thirteenth Century (Yale University Press, 1970); Le Roman de Fauvel in the Edition of Mesire Chaillou de Pesstain, in collaboration with Edward H. Roesner and François Avril (Broude Brothers, 1990); Contexts: Style and Values in Medieval Art and Literature, a special issue of Yale French Studies, co-edited by the late Daniel Poirion (1991); and Performing Medieval Narrative, with Evelyn Birge Vitz and Marilyn Lawrence (D. S. Brewer, 2005). She has given more than seventy-five invited lectures, scholarly papers, and presentations around the world, and is a regular presence at the International Congress on Medieval Studies held in Kalamazoo, Michigan. In addition, she has convened dozens of conferences, symposia, and workshops, including the ongoing Faculty Colloquium on Orality, Writing, and Culture, co-organized with Evelyn Birge Vitz at New York University since 1987, and Storytelling in Performance, co-organized with Vitz and Martha Hodes since 2004. The awards and honors she has received – in particular, the insignia of the Ordre des Palmes Académiques (1992) as well as fellowships and grants from the American Council of Learned Societies (1979 and 1988), the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation (1993), and the National Endowment for the Humanities (1979, 1984, and 1992) – attest to her merits as a scholar.
Her merits as a teacher have twice been formally recognized by New York University: she received the Distinguished Teaching Medal in 1996 and the Golden Dozen Teaching Award in 2003. Nancy Regalado has directed seventeen doctoral dissertations and served as primary reader for thirty more, working with students at New York University, Yale, and Columbia – in French, Spanish, Comparative Literature, History, Music, and Art History. Having Nancy Regalado as a thesis advisor is an immense privilege. Not only is she a meticulous reader, who offers copious comments, she is an unfailingly encouraging, caring, and patient guide.
This collection of essays pays tribute to Nancy Freeman Regalado, a ground-breaking scholar in the field of medieval French literature whose research has always pushed beyond disciplinary boundaries. The articles in the volume reflect the depth and diversity of her scholarship, as well as her collaborations with literary critics, philologists, historians, art historians, musicologists, and vocalists - in France, England, and the United States. Inspired by her most recent work, these twenty-four essays are tied together by a single question, rich in ramifications: how does performance shape our understanding of medieval and pre-modern literature and culture, whether the nature of that performance is visual, linguistic, theatrical, musical, religious, didactic, socio-political, or editorial? The studies presented here invite us to look afresh at the interrelationship of audience, author, text, and artifact, to imagine new ways of conceptualizing the creation, transmission, and reception of medieval literature, music, and art.
EGLAL DOSS-QUINBY is Professor of French at Smith College; ROBERTA L. KRUEGER is Professor of French at Hamilton College; E. JANE BURNS is Professor of Women's Studies and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
Contributors: ANNE AZÉMA, RENATE BLUMENFELD-KOSINSKI, CYNTHIA J. BROWN, ELIZABETH A. R. BROWN, MATILDA TOMARYN BRUCKNER, E. JANE BURNS, ARDIS BUTTERFIELD, KIMBERLEE CAMPBELL, ROBERT L. A. CLARK, MARK CRUSE, KATHRYN A. DUYS, ELIZABETH EMERY, SYLVIA HUOT, MARILYN LAWRENCE, KATHLEEN A. LOYSEN, LAURIE POSTLEWATE, EDWARD H. ROESNER, SAMUEL N. ROSENBERG, LUCY FREEMAN SANDLER, PAMELA SHEINGORN, HELEN SOLTERER, JANE H. M. TAYLOR, EVELYN BIRGE VITZ, LORI J. WALTERS, AND MICHEL ZINK.