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Aucassin et Nicolette by Anonymous

Aucassin et Nicolette

by Anonymous, Aucassin, Aucassin, Aucassin, Aucassin6 more, Aucassin, Aucassin (Uniform title), Aucassin, Aucassin, Aucassin, Jean Dufournet (Editor)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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English (5)  French (1)  All (6)
Showing 5 of 5
This is a 12th century 'cante-fable' in alternating verse and prose, composed by an unknown minstrel. The plot revolves around the love of Aucassin, a Christian and son of the Comte de Beaucaire, for Nicolette, a Saracen maiden raised as a Christian in the home of the captain of Aucassin's father's regiment. Their marriage is, of course, forbidden. The story relates their myriad adventures and vicissitudes and their eventual marriage.
  TrysB | Jun 7, 2012 |
Aucassin and Nicolette is an anonymous French work from around ca. 1220 (give or take 50 years). It combines multiple Old French genres in a subtle parody of the literature of its age. It's sophisticated entertainment for readers who were already familiar with, and perhaps bored by, classics of the previous century. Everything is turned on its head: women who act like men, men who act like women, Christians with Muslim names, Muslims with Christian names, wars fought with food (not over food), warriors who do not kill, heroes who would rather go to hell than heaven, and so on. Yet it's so skillfully framed in a tender hearted love story one would be forgiven for missing the satire entirely, as many early critics did after the work was rediscovered in the 18th century. I'm impressed by its subtle sophistication considering its antiquity, the humor still works to reveal the different literary tropes popular during the 12th century. In a sense it reminds me of Candide or Gulliver's Travels, I had no idea anything like it existed so early in Medieval literature.

--Review by Stephen Balbach, via CoolReading (c) 2011 cc-by-nd
I read two versions:

*Aucassin and Nicolette, translation and introduction by Andrew Lang (1887). An unauthorized fine press edition by Thomas Bird Mosher "the prince of pirates", via Internet Archive (scanned book).
*Aucassin et Nicolette (pdf), translated by Eugene Mason (2001).

The Mason version is easier as he modernizes the language making the plot easier to understand. The Lang version is closer to the original and thus has more of a flavor of the period, it is more satisfying, but takes concentration dealing with unusual vocab and grammar. ( )
1 vote Stbalbach | Jul 15, 2011 |
`Done into English' - super!
  jon1lambert | May 18, 2011 |
The story of Aucassin and Nicolette, a medieval French chante - fable. Aucassin falls in love with Nicolette, a slave girl. His father, the Count of Beaucaire forbids the match. Her owner and godfather imprisions her to prevent Aucassin seeing her. The Count of Beacaire is at war with the Count of Valence. Aucassin agrees to help his father fight on the promise that he will be allowed to say a few words and share a kiss with Nicolette. Once the battle is won his father reneges on the promise and imprisions Aucassin. Nicolette escapes from her godfather's palace and manages to speak through Aucassin through his prison's wall. She then flees into the countryside. On hearing of Nicolette's flight The Count releases Aucassin. He decides to try and find Nicolette, and finds her in the forest. He and Nicolette then escape by ship to Torelore. There they find the king in child - bed while his wife is with the army. The man in bed at the time of birthing is a custom called couvarde and Aucassin beats the king and extracts a promise that this practice will be forbidden in the future throughout his kingdom. There then follows an absurd episode where the king and Aucassin go to the battlefield to find that the "enemy" is various foodstuffs. Aucassin and Nicolette live happily at the castle until it is attacked by a band of Saracens and both are captured and put in separate ships. Aucassin's ship is wrecked, and he finds himself ashore in Beaucaire, where he learns that his parents are dead and he is now the ruler of Beaucaire. Nicolette is brought to Carthage, where it is realised that she is the daughter of the king. She remains in love with Aucassin. To escape an arranged marriage she disguises herself and takes passage to Beacaire. Still in disguise she sings to Aucassin about Nicolette. Aucassin asks her to fetch her and she promises to do so. She goes to her godmother's house and she has a makeover and then Aucassin is brought to her.....and they live happily ever after.

Medieval chant - fables are not really my thing but it was only 60 pages long so I persevered!
1 vote SimB | May 14, 2011 |
This is a reprint of the original 1887 edition. I struggled over A & N as a student.
  jon1lambert | Nov 20, 2009 |
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» Add other authors (72 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Anonymousprimary authorall editionscalculated
Aucassinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aucassinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aucassinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aucassinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aucassinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
AucassinUniform titlemain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aucassinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aucassinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Aucassinmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Dufournet, JeanEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Bedier, JosephIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bedier, JosephPrefacesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bourdillion, Francis WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delvau, AlfredTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dufournet, JeanEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lang, AndrewTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Liborio, MariantoniaEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mason, EugeneTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sandford, LetticeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Folio Society. The third volume the Society issued.
The text of this anonymous title is available at Project Gutenburg.
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