# fren336 semaine 13 “méta” – au-delà de la bande dessinée

Reading (and) comics, medievalised: notes from the last—“meta”—week of FREN 336, a class on bande dessinée, in French.

This was a second curious beast of an experimental course this year. Its first half and compulsory readings focused on Belgian comics (and as Belgian cultural expression). The second part, like MDVL301A in the first term this year, was centred on student group presentations. We have all done a lot of extremely sophisticated high-end top-class reading. We’re now into the final week, and Going All-Out Meta.

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Happy #HugAMedievalistDay

Hug a Medievalist.

Because #medievaltwitter is amongst the finest public scholarship, breaking barriers of academia, bringing “outsiders” in.

Because Medievalists are able to go beyond the weaker—impoverished and impoverishing—recent idea of out-reach, back to its roots and underlying essential qualities, where they can perform alchemical philological magic to reveal a potent quintessence and share that openly and freely and equitably with the world for the greater and limitless enrichment of all. Why would you “perform outreach” when you could in-embrace-one-other instead, in brotherly or sisterly love: ou/où on s’entrembrasseBecause French (especially Old French) does it better.

Because Medievalists hug better. And we share better. Including hugs. Come join our happy virtuous cycle.


Extending #HugAMedievalist and #WhanThatAprilleDay16 into a weekend Occ Fest

With apologies to Ozzy and in festive continuation of Twitter’s virtual medievalise-ins, #HugAMedievalist (2016-03-31) and #WhanThatAprilleDay16 – Guilhem de Peitieus / Old Occitan (2016-04-01).

Medievalists and philologists are here to help, at your service and for the public Good. Even at what for others is “the weekend.” Manning the Medievalism Helpdesk today is the master satirist Marcabru. He’s joining us today from 870-ish years ago to help our Powers That Be with Words Of Wisdom and Thoughts For The Day from another world; from nobler, more gracious and honorable, yet humbler times. In the humility of looking back in turn, in the ever-repeating virtuous cycle of nostalgia, at better less barbarous times.

Welcome to a civilisation where: (more…)



It’s not too late: here in this time-zone, there’s an hour left for hugging medievalists. Here is a round-up of the medievalist huggery that’s being going on today over in the Twitterverse.

First, an explanatory note on Medievalists, why they have a Day online, and why hugging is a fitting tribute.


On writing and the future of the book / bookishness


Thinking about writing?

Writing about thinking about writing?

Thinking about writing about thinking?

Trying to write?

Have to write?!?

Trying to write without getting into any of the infinite regresses, anxieties and dreads, and Sloughs Of Despond above?

There is hope. (more…)


[Dedicated to the dedicated Valerie Michelle Wilhite.]

This post is a spin-off from an abstract I was writing for a call for papers, which I’m also sharing and redistributing immediately here below. It’s an idea for an ideal (post-book) edition of the 13th-c. Occitan Flamenca, and the post is punctuated with illuminations from Scarfolk Council*. You see, I am still being rather overcome with joy because of two things:

  • Flamenca is gaining recognition (a steady happiness since May), and
  • yesterday, my copy of Discovering Scarfolk arrived.

Some of this post is still in note/draft form, but you’ll get the gist of the idea.



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From (more…)

Gaston Paris, or, the joys of 1880s Grand Philological Journals

I am very fond of the journal Romania, particularly in its late-19th-century heyday.

My fondness is personal as much as professional, and at least as subjective as it is the objective result of scholarly solidity and sound serious research. For I am a European and a mongrel, and I spent my formative years in a multilingual mongrel European country at the crossroads of Europe.

the Rhine

For most of my youth I lived actually physically on the language line; a line that dates back to the frontier between Roman colonisation and Roman conquest; nowadays, the infamous French-Flemish language-line. We lived a walk away from one of the great old north-south roads: old seasonal cattle-droving track and ley-line; Roman military and trade route; Medieval trade, pilgrimage, communications superhighway. We were not far from the other main ancient axes radiating outwards from the centre of Belgium, heading to every point of the compass. Belgium is a country whose rich identity is bound up with trade, traffic, accessibility, open dealings, talking to people, and doing so in their own language. A land of fine linguists and of multilingualism; with, yes, its other side in a long history of dodginess, espionage, and other diplomacy. It is unfortunate that the past couple of centuries’ recent history have moved matters and people towards divisions, and separation and separatism; it is, as ever, tempting to be flippant and blame Napoleon. (more…)

The Old Talks Series: “Courtly Love and Chrétien de Troyes’s ‘Lancelot’ (or, Why Gaston Paris Was Not Actually Wrong)”


This was an invited talk for the Maynooth Medieval and Renaissance Forum (NUI Maynooth, 2009). It was long. It’s OK, it was meant to be and that was what was requested, that was the form and format. It includes a lot of words and a lot of wordiness about these words, because it’s a close reading. Mainly of what Gaston Paris has to say—that being the point and purpose—but also a fair amount of what Chrétien de Troyes has to say.

(And not because I talked too much, for too long, and people failed to shut me up: I do not do that because it is mean, rude, obnoxious, arrogant, inconsiderate, disrespectful, and a disgrace to The Profession. Also because I despise people who go over time. And people who talk badly. And people whose idea of a “talk” is to read out a written paper that was meant/written for, you know, solitary silent reading; that having been said, the piece below is somewhere between my (then) Super-Formal-Serious For Reading style, and my For Talking To/With Other People style. And though I get grumpy about this sort of thing—especially given the physical pain of having to sit still, ideally on a badly-designed chair, through a bad talk badly delivered—I am not a complete misanthrope, I do like some human beings.)

See also:


The eponymous hero of Chrétien’s Lancelot / Le Chevalier de la charrette has previously been interpreted as perfect knight, perfect lover, both, and neither; fatally flawed, supremely human, or both; and a problematic and downright troubling representative / representation of a courtly ideal. While “courtly love” will become the topic of a long-running modern literary debate – with an ever-growing field of enquiry – its origins and the first modern expression of the idea lie with the Lancelot and its immediate contemporary cultural context: the essay that sparked the debate being “Études sur les romans de la Table Ronde: Lancelot” by Gaston Paris, in Romania 12 (1883). Over the last 125 years, Paris’ work has suffered misreading, rereading, and rejection; but is currently in process of rehabilitation, by Karl D. Uitti through the 1980s, and with Ursula Bähler’s Gaston Paris et la philologie romane (Paris: Droz 2004) – well-received and much-reviewed over the last three years.

This paper is a reading of Paris’s essay and of Chrétien’s Lancelot, so as to ascertain what truths may be recovered or discovered from primary sources and first principles. A second intention is showing where the “courtly love debate” now stands. Having been tied to developments in various theoretical -isms along its historical course, Medieval literary criticism is returning now to its sources but in a renewed state as “New Philology” and, indeed, even influencing the mainstream of literary theory.

The main part of this paper examines courtly love in Chrétien’s Lancelot: instances thereof, its different types of expression, and analysis and interpretation in the light of contemporary intertextual context, bearing in mind a multilingual literary culture. The reading refers particularly to Occitan influences (canso, tenso, novas – especially the judici d’amors), and investigates how far the idea of love in the Lancelot signals a biculturalism that has moved into full cultural infusion and conflation. An epilogue in guise of conclusion shows how the idea of courtly love next evolves (in French romance, but with its main continuations being in Catalan poetry). (more…)

mid-week good reads

mean parrot is mean

Further to Monday’s post:

On The Future Of The Book c/o Open Access and what happens in real, actual research libraries:

the future the future

Of immediate working / professional pertinence, starting with a couple on everyone’s favourite kind of live interactive performance: