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Title: Courtly and neocourtly : love, licence and Latinity in selected Old French fabliaux
Author: Collins, R. E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 1997
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Per Nykrog says that 'the point of view of the Old French fabliaux is identical to that of courtly literature'. This Dissertation sets this opinion beside the blatant uncourtliness found in certain fabliaux, and argues that their Courtliness is Neocourtliness. A.D. Mikhailov observes that the uncourtly are not confined to one class or type, but are those who show une sécheresse de coeur and un froid esprit calculateur. The courtly are therefore those who show the opposite traits, but traditionally they do so à mesure. In the selected fabliaux, the characters acts with passion and emotional excess, privileging freedom and imagination above morality and mesure. These ideas cannot fit comfortably with Courtliness. The characters are victims of other people's narrow-mindedness, imposed through the stories told about them, but they reclaim their lives by taking over these stories. Specifically, they appropriate Latin and vernacular texts to create rôles within the story (Part 1 of the Dissertation), or, by deliberate twisting of words, exaggerate the stories told about them to the point of absurdity (Part 2). The new story becomes a vehicle for the characters' freedom. The imagery of the Song of Songs is used for similar purposes (Part 3), and a version of Scholastic logic is used to structure plots (Part 4). These abuses of 'venerated texts' as enabling texts take these fabliaux very far from Courtliness as traditionally understood, into Neocourtliness. Their libertine attitudes, together with the intellectual demands they make, suggest they arose from a free-thinking tendency within a clerkly milieu. This judgement made, many traits of courtly literature, such as those shown by Iseut and Perceval, can be seen retrospectively as neocourtly. I conclude that, as a genre, neocourtly writings can be seen as analogous to today's Postmodern criticism.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available