, Volume 97, Issue 2, pp 261-270
Date: 07 Oct 2012

“Cel corn a lunge aleine!” Jehan et Blonde et la Chanson de Roland

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Philippe de Remi, a land-holder and professional administrator, was a cultivated man, keenly interested in the literature available in northern France in the first half of the thirteenth century. Not content merely to read or to listen, he took the unusual step of trying his own hand at verse narrative and at lyric composition. The result was a substantial body of work: two full-length narratives as well as a collection of lyric poetry and several songs (with music notated). His second romance, Jehan et Blonde, draws on themes and situations common in medieval tales (young love, a match-making father, the threat of a compelled marriage, an elopement); it also depicts a long fight between the hero and the superior forces of his far nobler rival. Here we find, beyond a general evocation of French epic literature, some specific situational and even verbal borrowings from the Chanson de Roland.