WEMSK31:Old French Literature

                  WEMSK31 Old French Literature

[I have not tried to ignore older works, in spite of what you may think.
Those who miss Lanson-Tuffrau, Bedier-Hazard, Petit de Julleville, Gaston
Paris, and all their old friends will understand, I hope]

A. For the Romance literatures in general: Grundriss der
romanischen Literaturen des Mittelalters, in Zusammenarbeit mit
Jean Frappier, Martin de Riquer, Aurelio Roncaglia hrsg. von Hans
Robert Jauss und Erich Koehler (Heidelberg: C. Winter
Universitaetsverlag, 1968-). A multivolume enterprise with up to
date bibliographies and information, unfortunately organized mostly
by genre. If you find your author or subject, this can be extremely

B. The periodical bibliography for Romance literatures in general:
Romanische Bibliographie (1961-).

C. A fine general survey of Romance: Erich Auerbach, Introduction
to Romance Languages & Literature, tr. Guy Daniels (NY: Capricorn
Books, 1961; a reduced reprint).  Good to just read through; good
bibliography. Old.

1. List of Corpus: Raphael Levy, Chronologie approximative de la
litterature francaise du moyen age. Beiheft 98 zur Zeitschrift fuer
Romanische Philologie (Tuebingen: Niemeyer, 1957).  Often
overlooked, but a very useful compilation.

2. Guides:

a. Pierre Langlois and Andre Mareuil, Guide bibliographique des
etudes litteraires, 3d ed. (Paris: Hachette, 1965).  Old, but worth
looking at. Quite general.

b. Peter Ronge, Studienbibliographie Franzoesisch, 2 vols.
(Frankfurt: Athenaeum, 1971).  The best and fullest, but way out of
date. Perhaps too full for a first look through.

c. Richard Kempton, French Literature: An Annotated Guide to
Selected Bibliographies. Selected Bibliographies in Language and
Literature 2 (NY: MLA, 1981). A short (42 pp.) beginner's guide.

d. Fernande Bassan, Donald C. Spinelli and Howard A. Sullivan,
French Language and Literature: An Annotated Bibliography.  Garland
Reference Library of the Humanities 954 (NY: Garland, 1989), 365
pp. Good and careful.

e. Sze/na/ssyne/ Luda/nyi Vale/ria {acute accent marked by vowel +
/}, Guide bibliographique pour les etudes de philologie francaise
(Debrecen: Kossuth Lajos Tudoma/nyegyetem Ko"nyvta/ra/, 1986).  Pp.
64-117 are devoted to literature.

3. Bibliographies:

a. Urban T. Holmes, The Mediaeval Period, rev. ed. In: David C.
Cabeen, A Critical Bibliography of French Literature, vol. 1
(Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1952).  May be catalogued
under Cabeen.

b. Robert Bossuat, Manuel bibliographique de la litterature
francaise du Moyen Age. Bibliotheque elzivirienne, nouv. serie:
Etudes et documents (Melun: Librairie d'Argences, 1951). Three
supplements, e.g.: Troisieme supplement, 1960-80, by Francoise
Vielliard and Jacques Monfrin (Paris: Editions du Centre National
de la Recherche Scientifique, 1986-). These form your best source
for bibliography up to ca. 1985.

c. Periodical bibliography: Bibliographie der franzoesischen
Literaturwissenschaft (Frankfurt: Klostermann, 1960-).  THE annual
periodical bibliography. Great!

4. Encyclopedia: Medieval France. An Encyclopedia, ed. William W.
Kibler and Grover A. Zinn. Garland Reference Library of the
Humanities, 932; Garland Encyclopedias of the Middle Ages, 3 (NY:
1995). Broadly conceived. Signed articles with bibliography.

5. Chrestomathies:

a. For the very earliest period: Wendelin Foerster and E.
Koschwitz, Altfranzoesisches Uebungsbuch zum Gebrauch bei
Vorlesungen und Seminaruebungen, 7th. ed., by Alfons Hilka 2 vols.
(Leipzig: Reisland, 1932). Vol. 1: Die aeltesten Sprachdenkmaeler;
Vol. 2: Rolandmaterialien. A famous old stand-by, strict editing.

b. Karl Bartsch and Leo Wiese, Chrestomathie de l'ancien francais
(VIIIe-XVe siecles), 12th ed. (NY: Hafner, 1958; repr. of 1919
ed.). Kind of standard.

6. Commentaries: It is the custom in introductions to Old French to
include one text which is thoroughly treated. This can be very
helpful when you run into a snag (keep a list of such texts).
Examples are:

a. Gerhard Rohlfs, From Vulgar Latin to Old French, trn. Vincent
Almazan and Lillian McCarthy (Detroit: Wayne University Press,
1970), with a careful commentary on Marie de France's Bisclavret.

b. Karl Voretzsch, Altfranzoesisches Lesebuch, 3d ed. Sammlung
kurzer Lehrbuecher der Romanischen Sprachen und Literaturen, 7
(Halle: Niemeyer, 1961). For example, the Eulalie (7-11).

c. Carl Voretzsch, Einfuehrung in das Studium der altfranzoesischen
Sprache. Sammlung kurzer Lehrbuecher der romanischen Sprachen und
Literaturen, 2, 9th ed., ed. Gerhard Rohlfs (Halle: Niemeyer,
1966). E.g. Pelerinage de Charlemagne.

d. Guy Raynaud de Lage, Manuel pratique d'ancien francais, 5e
tirage. Connaissance des Langues, 2 (Paris: Picard, 1973). E. g. Le
charroi de Nimes, Conte du graal.

7. One-volume histories of literature:

a. Carl Voretzsch, Altfranzoesische Literatur, 3d. ed. (Halle:
Niemeyer, 1925).  There is an English translation, by Francis M. Du
Mont (NY: Stechert, 1931). Very good for coverage.

b. Urban T. Holmes, A History of Old French Literature, rev. ed.
(NY: Russell and Russell, 1962); good bibliographies.

c. Paul Zumthor, Histoire litteraire de la France medievale (Paris:
PUF, 1954).  Of the above, Voretzsch is the most solid; all are
beginning to be a little old.

d. Dominique Boutet and Armand Strubel, La litterature francaise du
Moyen Age. Que sais-je? 145 (Paris: PUF, 1978). A typical Que sais-
je? volume; quite useful.  Easy read.

e. Michel Zink, Litterature francaise du Moyen Age (Paris: PUF,
1992).  Good bibliographies.  There is an English translation of
his Introduction a la litterature francaise du Moyen Age (Paris: Le
Livre de Poche, 1992), by Jeff Rider, Medieval French Literature:
An Introduction (Binghamton, NY: Medieval & Renaissancce Texts and
Studies, 1995.

8. Larger histories of literature:

a. Too often forgotten is the Histoire litteraire de la France,
ouvrage commence par les religieux benedictins de la Congregation
de Saint Maut, et continue par des membres de l'Institut (Academie
des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres) (Paris: Imprimerie Nationale,
1733-1974. 40 vols. so far (through 14th C.).

b. A one-volume work which could be multi-volume: Dictionnaire des
lettres francaises, under direction of Cardinal Georges Grente,
vol. 1, Le Moyen Age, rev. ed. by Genevieve Hasenohr and Michel
Zink (Paris: Fayard, 1994).  This should be your first port of
call, though it is not always easy to use.

c. Gustav Groeber & Stefan Hofer, Geschichte der
mittelfranzoesischen Literatur. 2 vols. 2d ed. Grundriss der
romanischen Philologie, N. F., 3-4 (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1933-37).
Covers 14th and 15th centuries, which are often neglected.

9. Franco Latin: Clavis des auteurs latins du moyen age: territoire
francais, 735-987, edite par Marie-Helene Jullien et Francoise
Perelman. Clavis scriptorum latinorum medii aevi: auctores Galliae,
735-987. 2 vols. Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis
(Turnhout: Brepols, 1994-). Not yet completed.

10. If you need translations:

a. Klassische Texte des romanischen Mittelalters in zweisprachigen
Ausgaben (Munich: Fink, 1963-).

b. See section 11, below.

11. I thought I might add the name of some series of editions of
Old French literature:

a. Societe des Anciens Textes Francais (SATF). Paris. Most recently
by Picard.  Publishes critical editions. Many of these reprinted by
Johnson Reprint Corporation, NY.

b. Classiques francais du moyen age (CFMA). Paris: Champion. For
example: Les romans de Chretien de Troyes. Some of the CFMA
editions have a Modern French translaiton.

c. Textes Litteraires Francais (TLF). Geneva: Droz. Critical
editions, e.g. Le roman de Perceval.

d. Classiques Garnier publishes critical editions with a facing
page translation.

e. Lettres gothiques. Paris: Le Livre de Poche. Publishes bilingual

Max Grosse adds: I would like to add a few items to Jim's extremely valuable and well done introductory bibliography of material for the study of Old French.T wo of the best chrestomathies are: Henry, Albert: Chrestomathie de la littérature en ancien français, 3e éd.revue, Bern: Francke 1965 (with a linguistic commentary and a glossary)Rickard, Peter: Chrestomathie de la langue française au quinzième siècle, Cambridge: Cambridge UP 1976

Although Voretzsch, Rohlfs and Raynaud de Lage still are useful, I warmly would recommend Kibler's text book, and not only to an Anglo-American audience (as far as I know, there is no French or German equivalent which isa s systematic and as well organized - Rohlfs' presentation of Old French tends to be as atomistic as his great historical grammar of Italian which provides wonderful data, but does not organize nor explain them):William W. Kibler: An Introduction to Old French, New York: MLA 1984.

To the series of editions, I would like to add: GF-Flammarion, with modern French translations Reclam, with German translations and, most important Biblioteca Medievale (Pratiche Editrice, Parma) with Italian translations -in this collection you will find texts not easily available on the market elsewhere - BTW this is one of the very few collections of medieval texts without a national or linguistic limitation.

A new big reference grammar of Old French has come out recently - so far I haven't had time to have close look at it, but it seems to be great: Buridant, Claude: Grammaire nouvelle de l'ancien français, [Paris] : Sedes, 2000, ISBN 2-7181-9265-8