Archives de catégorie : Création littéraire et artistique / Literary and artistic creation

Lodén Sofia, Le chevalier courtois à la rencontre de la Suède médiévale

Lodén Sofia, Le chevalier courtois à la rencontre de la Suède médiévale, Du Chevalier au lion à Herr Ivan, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2012, (dir. A. Bengtsson, M. Gally, P. Förnegård, Université de Stockholm)

Résumé/abstract :
This dissertation investigates the links between Chrétien de Troyes’ romance Le Chevalier au lion from the late twelfth century and the Old Swedish text Herr Ivan, written at the behest of Queen Eufemia of Norway at the beginning of the fourteenth century. The study has two parts. The first sets out to determine the sources of the Swedish text: Was Le Chevalier au lion really the source text of Herr Ivan? The second part raises the question of what happened to the courtly ideals that characterize the French romance when they were transferred into Swedish.The analysis of the question concerning the sources of Herr Ivan confirms that Le Chevalier au lion was the translator’s main source, while the Old Norse version Ívens saga, from the middle of the thirteenth century, was used as a secondary source. The relationship between Le Chevalier au lion, Ívens saga and Herr Ivan is examined through a comparison of the three texts: the choice of verse or prose, the role of prologues and epilogues, and the use of the voice of a narrator and of direct and indirect discourse. Four specific passages are compared at a micro-level.By comparing Herr Ivan to its sources, it becomes clear that the Swedish translator wanted to stress certain courtly ideals by presenting a distinct and coherent interpretation of what Chrétien de Troyes refers to as courtoisie. This indicates that the function of the text was to present a set of ideological and aesthetic values. The analysis of the transmission of courtly ideals takes its point of departure in the uses of the French word courtois and the Swedish equivalent hövisker. As a next step, three elements intimately linked to courtliness are examined: aventure, gaieté and honneur. Also the different roles played by the lion are highlighted. Finally, it is shown how the courtly ideals of Herr Ivan can be read in the light of the other Old Swedish texts written at the behest of Queen Eufemia: Hertig Fredrik av Normandie and Flores och Blanzeflor.

Eriksen Stefka Gueorguieva, Writing and reading in medieval manuscript culture

Eriksen Stefka Gueorguieva, Writing and reading in medieval manuscript culture. The transmission of the story of Elye in Old French and Old Norse literary contexts, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. J. G. Jørgensen, Université d’Oslo)

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Goeres Erin Michelle, The King is dead, long live the King

Goeres Erin Michelle, The King is dead, long live the King : commemoration in skaldic verse of the Viking Age, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. H. O’Donoghue, Université d’Oxford)

Résumé/abstract :

This thesis examines the function of commemorative skaldic verse at the Viking-age court. The first chapter demonstrates that the commemoration of past kings could provide a prestigious genealogical record that was used to legitimize both pagan and early Christian rulers. In the ninth and early tenth centuries, poets crafted competing genealogies to assert the primacy of their patrons and of their patrons’ religions. The second chapter looks at the work of tenth-century poets who depict their rulers’ entrances into the afterlife. Such poets interrogate the role public speech and poetic discourse play in the commemoration of the king, especially during the political turmoil that follows his death. A discussion follows of the relationship between poets and their patrons in the tenth and eleventh centuries: although this relationship is often praised as one of mutual trust and reliance, the financial aspects of the relationship were often juxtaposed uneasily with expressions of emotional attachment. The death of the patron caused a crisis in these seemingly contradictory bonds between poet and patron. The final chapter demonstrates the dramatic development in the eleventh century of deeply emotional commemorative verse as poets become adopted into their patrons’ families through such Christian ceremonies as baptism and marriage. In these verses poets express their grief after the death of the king and record the performances of public mourning on the part of the kings’ followers. As the petty warlords of the Viking age adapted to medieval models of Christian kingship, the role of the skald changed too. Formerly serving as a propagandist and retainer in the king’s service, a skald documenting the lives of kings at the end of the Viking age could occupy an almost infinite number of roles, from kinsman and friend to advisor and hagiographer.

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Lanpher Ann, The Problem of Revenge in Medieval Literature: Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and Ljósvetninga Saga

Lanpher Ann, The Problem of Revenge in Medieval Literature: Beowulf, The Canterbury Tales, and Ljósvetninga Saga, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. A. Orchard, Université de Toronto)

Résumé/abstract :

This dissertation considers the literary treatment of revenge in medieval England and Iceland. Vengeance and feud were an essential part of these cultures; far from the reckless, impulsive action that the word conjures up in modern minds, revenge was considered both a right and a duty and was legislated and regulated by social norms. It was an important tool for obtaining justice and protecting property, family, and reputation. Accordingly, many medieval literary works seem to accept revenge without question. Many, however, evince a great sensitivity to the ambiguities and paradoxes inherent in an act of revenge. In my study, I consider three works that are emblematic of this responsiveness to and indeed, anxiety about revenge. Chapter one focuses on the Old English poem Beowulf; chapter two moves on to discuss Chaucer’s Reeve’s Tale and Tale of Melibee from the Canterbury Tales; and chapter three examines the Old Icelandic family saga, Ljósvetninga saga. I focus in particular on the treatment of the avenger in each work. The poet or author of each work acknowledges the perspective of the avenger by allowing him to express his motivations, desires, and justifications for revenge in direct speech. Alongside this acknowledgement, however, is the author’s own reflection on the risks, rewards, and repercussions of the avenger’s intentions and actions. The resulting parallel but divergent narratives highlight the multiplicity of viewpoints found in any act of revenge or feud and reveal a fundamental ambivalence about the value, morality, and necessity of revenge. Each of the works I consider resists easy conclusions about revenge in its own context and remains incredibly current in the way it poses challenging questions about what constitutes injury, punishment, justice, and revenge in our own time.

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McLennan Alistair, Monstrosity in Old English and Old Icelandic literature

McLennan Alistair, Monstrosity in Old English and Old Icelandic literature, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (dir. K. Lowe, Université de Glasgow)

Résumé/abstract :

The purpose of this thesis is to examine Old English and Old Icelandic literary examples of monstrosity from a modern theoretical perspective. I examine the processes of monstrous change by which humans can become identified as monsters, focusing on the role played by social and religious pressures. In the first chapter, I outline the aspects of monster theory and medieval thought relevant to the role of society in shaping identity, and the ways in which anti-societal behaviour is identified with monsters and with monstrous change. Chapter two deals more specifically with Old English and Old Icelandic social and religious beliefs as they relate to human and monstrous identity. I also consider the application of generic monster terms in Old English and Old Icelandic. Chapters three to six offer readings of humans and monsters in Old English and Old Icelandic literary texts in cases where a transformation from human to monster occurs or is blocked. Chapter three focuses on Grendel and Heremod in Beowulf and the ways in which extreme forms of anti-societal behaviour are associated with monsters. In chapter four I discuss the influence of religious beliefs and secular behaviour in the context of the transformation of humans into the undead in the Íslendingasögur. In chapter five I consider outlaws and the extent to which criminality can result in monstrous change. I demonstrate that only in the most extreme instances is any question of an outlaw’s humanity raised. Even then, the degree of sympathy or admiration evoked by such legendary outlaws as Grettir, Gísli and Hörðr means that though they are ambiguous in life, they may be redeemed in death. The final chapter explores the threats to human identity represented by the wilderness, with specific references to Guthlac A, Andreas and Bárðar saga and the impact of Christianity on the identity of humans and monsters. I demonstrate that analysis of the social and religious issues in Old English and Old Icelandic literary sources permits nuanced readings of monsters and monstrosity which in turn enriches understanding of the texts in their entirety.

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Shafer John Douglas, Saga-accounts of Norse far-travellers

Shafer John Douglas, Saga-accounts of Norse far-travellers, Thèse de doctorat soutenue en 2010, (Université de Durham)

Résumé/abstract :

The thesis examines the medieval Icelandic sagas’ many accounts of travel taken by Scandinavian characters to lands in the distant north, south, east and west. These Norse far-travellers have various motivations for their journeys, and particular motivations and motifs are associated with each cardinal direction. Travel to the distant west and north, for example, is typified by commercial motivations: real estate and settlement schemes in the west, trade and tribute-collection in the north. Travel to the distant east frequently takes the form of royal exile, and piety is often the central motivation for journeys to the distant south. Other sorts of narrative patterns are also discussed. It is shown, for example, that there is a sort of “moral geography” evident in the literature, whereby journeys towards “holy” regions (east and south) are more spiritually beneficial than journeys in the opposite directions. The study systematically identifies and discusses saga-accounts of far-travel, surveying the various purposes and themes associated with each of the cardinal directions. The first chapter introduces the material and key terms and provides a survey of the relevant scholarship. The following four chapters cover far-travel in each of the four directions, west, south, east and north respectively. The primary-text examples cited throughout support literary observations, and the conclusions drawn are all focused on literary aspects of the texts. Additionally, some historical observations are occasionally made, though these are never the main focus of the arguments. The sixth and final chapter supplements the concluding sections of these four main chapters and draws additional conclusions. The concluding chapter also offers a diagrammatic representation of the relationships between the various motivations for far-travel in the different cardinal directions.

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L’historiographie médiévale normande et ses sources antiques (Xe-XIIe siècle)

Actes du colloque de Cerisy-la-Salle et du Scriptorial d’Avranches (8-11 octobre 2009)

publiés sous la direction de Pierre Bauduin et Marie-Agnès Lucas-Avenel

2014, 16×24 cm, broché, 380 p., ISBN : 978-2-84133-485-8

Presses universitaires de Caen

30 €

Les Normands au Moyen Âge se sont passionnés pour l’histoire. Soucieux de faire œuvre de mémoire, les auteurs médiévaux relatent les origines du duché et la destinée des Normands ; ils célèbrent les exploits de leurs ducs et des chevaliers partis conquérir l’Angleterre et l’Italie du Sud. Lecteurs assidus de la Bible, ils se sont aussi inspirés des œuvres de l’Antiquité gréco-romaine et chrétienne.
Comment, en revendiquant l’héritage des Anciens, ces auteurs ont-ils fait une œuvre originale ? Issu d’un colloque interdisciplinaire qui a réuni des spécialistes français, anglais et italiens à Cerisy-la-Salle et à Avranches, ce volume apporte des réponses à cette question, à partir de l’examen renouvelé des bibliothèques normandes et au travers de l’analyse des modèles littéraires ou des stratégies d’imitation mises au service de projets historiographiques différents.