Godefroi de Buillon

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Jan Boyd Roberts
University of Alabama Press, 1996 - Crusades - 147 pages
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Godefroi de Buillon is an edition of folios 1 through 60 of Paris, Biblioth?que Nationale, fonds fran?ais 781, a prose version of the Old French Crusade Cycle dating from the close of the 13th century. It includes the Beatrix version of the Naissance du Chevalier au Cygne, Le Chevalier au Cygne, Les Enfances Godefroi, La Chanson dŐAntioche, Les ChŽtifs, and La Chanson de JŽrusalem. It is of considerable interest for the history of French literature because it is apparently one of the earliest mises en prose, preceded perhaps only by Robert de BoronŐs prose Merlin. The author explicitly refers to his purpose: ŇlŐai commenchie sans rime pour lŐestore avoir plus abregiet et si me sanle que le rime est mout plaisans et mout bele mais mout est longue [I undertook it without rhyme to have it shorter, for it seems to me that rhyme is beautiful but very long]Ó (1:3-5). In fact, he has rendered the original verse into prose by two distinct methods. The Swan Knight branches of the Cycle are severely abbreviated. Collation with the verse texts is impossible; individual verses are only rarely identifiable. On the other hand, the more historically based branches are the product of an almost verse for line dŽrimage, more often than not by the simple elimination of the second hemistich, as well as the elimination of repetitive, descriptive, and affective passages.

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