Jean Renart and the Art of Romance
Essays on Guillaume de Dole

Edited by Nancy Vine Durling

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"Excellent. . . . Offers both a valuable introduction to the romance for general readers while at the same time serving substantial fare to a specialized public."--Matilda T. Bruckner, Boston College

"Groundbreaking discussions of a recently ‘discovered,’ extraordinary 13th-century literary figure. . . . Splendid essays from highly respected scholars. "--Harriet Spiegel, California State University, Chico

"The authors of The Finding of the Grail have adopted the medieval practice of retelling an old story selectively to renew it for contemporaries. Joseph Bédier did no differently with the Tristan legend. The modern reader will find this elegant little volume equally appealing."--Jeanette Beer, Purdue University

In this first volume of critical essays ever devoted to Jean Renart’s work, contributors draw on political and social history, women’s studies, translation theory, musicology, and literary theory to illuminate Jean’s remarkable contribution to the highly complex genre of courtly romance.

An extraordinary blend of realism and high artifice, unique in its combined use of songs and narrative, Jean Renart and the Art of Romance offers zestful dalliances in high places, handsome but self-serving knights, and a beautiful woman whose decisive intelligence allows her to triumph over daunting odds. An important contribution to our understanding of 13th-century romance, this volume of essays will prove of interest to scholars of medieval French literature, history, musicology, and codicology.

Introduction, by Nancy Vine Durling
Text and Context
1. The Uses of Embroidery in the Romances of Jean Renart: Gender, History, Textuality, by Nancy A. Jones
2. "Once there was an emperor . . .": A Political Reading of the Romances of Jean Renart, by John W. Baldwin
The Language of Lyric and the Language of Romance
3. Lyric Insertions and the Reversal of Romance Conventions in Jean Renart's Roman de la rose or Guillaume de Dole, by Maureen Barry McCann Boulton
4. Suspension and Fall: The Fragmentation and Linkage of Lyric Insertions in Le roman de la rose (Guillaume de Dole) and Le roman de la violette by Michel Zink
5. Jean Renart's Expanded Text: Lïenor and the Lyrics of Guillaume de Dole by Regina Psaki
6. On the Untranslatable Surface of Guillaume de Dole by Patricia Terry
Music and Performance
7. Jean Renart and Medieval Song, by Hendrik van der Werf
Appendix 1: "Bele Aeliz": A Comparison of Lecoy and Gennrich Editions
Appendix 2: Survey of Musical References
Appendix 3: Melodies

Nancy Vine Durling is co-translator, with Patricia Terry, of The Romance of the Rose, or Guillaume de Dole by Jean Renart (English translation with critical notes and introduction, 1993).

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"These seven essays provide a most useful background on the romance Guillaume de Dole that will enable medieval scholars to further appreciate Jean Renart's talent and originality." - Romance Quarterly
--Romance Quarterly

"these essays are an excellent source for understanding both Jean Renart and early-13h-century French romance."

"This is an important and welcome collection devoted to a romancer who fully merits such attention."

"This volume serves both as an excellent general introduction to Jean Renart's work and to his Roman de la Rose or Guillaume de Dole in particular, and as an interesting specialized collection of studies by some of the leading Jean Renart scholars." "An excellent introduction to Jean Renart's Guillaume de Dole, and one that will suggest new directions of research to those who already know the text." The Medieval Review
--The Medieval Review - online

"This very serious (and very handsome) book makes one want to (re)read Guillaume de Dole, whether or not one needs a break from twelfth-century 'chivalric exploits, quests for the Holy Grail, and Celtic marvels,' and especially if one enjoys an author's 'poking fun at established conventions.' More importantly, perhaps, these studies confirm, enrich and advance the Jean Renart renaissance of the past twenty years, documented in the very useful 'Selected Bibliography.' - French Review
--French Review

"A valuable contribution to scholarship on the still little-known thirteenth-century romance of Jean Renart." - Notes and Queries
--Notes and Queries

"Offers an outstanding overview of critical work on Jean Renart's Rose, both reviewing and nuancing previous scholarship and providing several new and distinct interpretations of the text." -Speculum

"Nancy Vine Durling is to be congratulated for bringing together such an intelligent collection: the overall quality is extremely high, the dialogue between essays particularly effective, and the bibliography at the end of the volume remarkably complete." -Speculum

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