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Literary Texts or Historical Documents? The Mirror of Medieval Society

  • Geoffrey Wilson
Part of the Archives Internationales D’Histoire Des Idees/International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 83)

Abstract

Paradoxical as it may at first appear, La Curne de Sainte-Palaye, whilst foremost amongst the medievalists of his century, ranks equally amongst those of his day least appreciative of the literary merits of the “anciens rimeurs.” Whether or not he in fact gave whole-hearted support to the charges of coarseness and barbarity levied unceasingly against them, it was certainly never his intention to establish himself as the apologist of those whose productions had, he felt, been justly over-shadowed by subsequent literary achievement:

Que les Partisans des Siècles qu’ils n’ont ni vus ni connus nous vantent l’heureuse simplicité de nos Aieux. Que leur mauvaise humeur s’exhale en vaines déclamations contre la subtilité de nos Ecrivains modernes. Pardonnons à ceux-ci leurs écarts peut-être trop ingénieux et trop raffinés; mais ne regrettons pas ceux qui les ont précédés. Comparons les Ecrits de ces temps barbares avec ceux que l’Imprimerie depuis 200 ans environ a mis entre nos mains. Soyons pénétrés de rcconnoissance sur-tout pour ces hommes respectables qui, vers le milieu du siècle dernier ont achevé d’épurer notre langue.1

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Historical Document Literary Text Medieval Literature Fictional Source 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague, Netherlands 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geoffrey Wilson

There are no affiliations available

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