Yes! Finally, Flamenca–that great and marvellous Old Occitan romance–has been added to the happy family of Medieval texts that is the “Lettres Gothiques” series, edited by the great and marvellous Michel Zink, and housed at the Livre de Poche.
Flamenca has been previously published in paperback, again in a facing-page bilingual edition: Jean-Charles Huchet’s version for UGE in their “10/18 bibliothèque médiévale” series. That was back in 1988 and it’s been out of print for a while. I’d been waiting and hoping for a good new Lettres Gothiques or Champion Classiques. Being as they are paragons of good bookly virtue: well done editions of the original text, nice translations into modern French that are usually also elegant and pleasing, beauteous introductions (à la Oxford World’s Classics or Penguin Classics), plus some fine critical apparatus, bibliography, the usual. All in the well-formed package that is a good paparback: quality paper and typeface, usually a pretty cover, et à un prix bien démocratique.
I am happy. I am happy because this brings a fine literary work to a wider audience, including enabling its teaching to students; being in an easily-obtained cheaper series makes it easier to put on reading-lists. I am happy for Flamenca, Guillem, Archimbaut, Margarida, Alis, the anonymous authors, anonymous scribes and all other involved in the text and its making. And I’m happy as part of a community of happy people, we lucky
few not-very-many who know and love Flamenca. That last happiness is a very Nehamasian happiness, of a community formed and bonded through shared taste.
I haven’t read it yet, having only just heard the news via the Société Guilhem IX (thanks Topher), after which I immediately ordered a copy online. Knowing this series, I would more or less very nearly guarantee that it will be good. Even if it were not, the fact that it’s become accessible in cheaper paperback (once again) is a great and marvellous thing, and to be celebrated. May the joy and enjoyment spread!
To find the new Flamenca, make ingenious use of your engine of choice (as it were and with apologies to Flamenca) to find ISBN 9782253082569. Here’s the information from the publishers:
(I was going to post about something else, having partly written various something elses, but this is more important. Also, it is happy great marvellous news, which trumps all other things.)
UPDATE: some not-very-good photos via FaceBook, taken in haste with the book balanced on my knee in The Significant Other’s office while he was finishing *&%$!**ing grant applications: