The importance of Fergus is literary rather than political

The importance of Fergus is literary rather than political

Elle laisse percevoir une volonte de modifier les representations traditionnelles du paysan

Roman de Violette, didactic and hagiographical pieces, lais and fabliaux, of which Fergus was edited by Francisque Michel (1842) for the Abbotsford Ritrovo on the strength of the Scottish connection.11 Neither manuscript includes insular compositions and it is difficult preciso envisage an audience in the British Isles with the detailed textual knowledge of the romances of Chretien which, as we shall see, Fergus undoubtedly requires. It is anything but a roman a these or verso roman a clef. Durante prime to its notably benign humanity and intelligent arguzia, elements of realism mark it as not so much epigonal as revisionist,12 although they are always subsidiary esatto the literary, and ludic, design which aims at renovating inherited motifs by giving them an original, comic twist or application. Guillaume rejuvenates the motifs of his model, Chretien’s Perceval, and scales down its ambition by substituting the search for the resplendent shield (bel escu, escu flamboiant) for Perceval’s grail quest and by linking it, less loftily, to the recovery of Galiene whom Fergus has neglected con favour of adventure, which so often eludes him.13 Guillaume avoids writing per mere roman d’aventures with per superfluity of episodes by restricting his hero’s quests to two: the adventure at Nouquetran on the Black Mountain where he obtains the horn and wimple he sought, to the neglect of Galiene, and the winning of the resplendent shield at Dunnottar which a dwarf predicts will enable him to win her back. That Perceval provides the principal instigation of Guillaume’s creative ‘make-over’ is clearly suggested by the frequent use he makes of it and the two Continuations (see Owen’s translation Appendix Per), but he is careful not esatto name Chretien or to make any source references,14 preferring puro rely on the alertness of the cognoscenti who must have constituted verso significant part of the audience of his remarkable rete informatica. 15 11

Perhaps for this reason it is less widely known than it deserves sicuro be, despite having been the subject of verso number of penetrating studies

See Y. G. Lepage, ‘Indivisible recueil francais de la delicate du XIIIe siecle (Paris, Bibliotheque Nationale, fr. 1553)’, Scriptorium 29 (1975), 23–46, who suggests a date of 1285–90 for the production of the manuscript and localizes it preciso Picardy. See Le roman des aventures de Fergus, di nuovo. F. Michel (Edinburgh, 1842). For an example, see P. Le Rider, ‘Per propos de costumes . . . De Giraud de Bari au Conte du Graal et a Fergus’, Le Moyen Age 107 (2001), 253–82, who observes concerning the description of Perceval’s clothing: ‘La juxtaposition, dans ces descriptions, des references au passe litteraire et de la reproduction du reel est instructive. Elle montre par ailleurs quelle role essentiel verso joue dans la premiere forme medievale du roman d’apprentissage, de Perceval a Fergus, la chanson de geste d’Aiol’ (p. 281). See, for example, lines 2546 ff. His conception of bourlingue, lines 2722–25, resembles that of Calogrenant con Yvain who sees it simply as a means of confronting an opponent to prova his courage and prowess. The exceptions are an unenlightening oral espressione ‘sinon com j’ai oi conter’ (line 1206: ‘as I have heard tell’) and the description of the resplendent shield which the narrator says he cannot improve on: ‘Ne porroie je mius trover/ De sa biaute comme j’en sai,/ Por ce qu’en escrit trove l’ai’ (lines 4078–80: ‘I could find nothing better to say of its beauty than what I know of it from having found it durante writing’). See particularly, M. A. Freeman, ‘Fergus: Parody and the Arthurian Tradition’, French Forum 8 (1983), 197–215; B. Schmolke-Hasselmann, The Evolution of Arthurian Romance, pp. 158–69 (‘The Principle of Variation: Fergus as verso new Perceval’); K. Gravdal, Vilain and Courtois: Transgressive Parody sopra French Literature of the Twelfth and Thirteenth Centuries (Lincoln, NB,


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