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Community Reviews. Showing Rating details. More filters. Sort order. That was silly.
It has imprisonment, ship wrecks, kidnapping, and kissing. My copy is a beautiful, circa translation by Andrew Lang. There is a lengthy introduction comparing it to other works and making me wish Mr Lang were still alive so I could ask him a question or two. Nov 30, Robert Stewart rated it it was amazing Shelves: sources.
This is a wonderful parody of a medieval romance. Everything is reversed, the heroine isn't a beautiful Christian held by Saracens, she's a Saracen held by Christians. And Aucassin isn't a valiant knight, he shirks from his knightly duties to find his love In one passage, he explains why he would prefer hell to heaven. And in the land of the Torelore, the king is in bed waiting to give birth.
Though it's never cited as such, this is probably the earliest of the post-classical picaresque works This is a wonderful parody of a medieval romance. Though it's never cited as such, this is probably the earliest of the post-classical picaresque works of literature. Be sure to read Lang's introduction. Feb 24, Shelley rated it liked it. It was okay. That is about all I can say.
I know it is supposed to be a great magnificent work of literature but I did not feel really connected to it. It seemed a bit draggy and tedious. Good story at the base- rich boy and poor servant girl fall in love and are imprisoned to keep them apart. Some of the things they go through to get back to one another were kind of funny and I did like the part about wanting to go to hell rather than heaven because the people in hell would be more interesting.
That was pretty funny. I guess in the grand scheme it was a pretty good read but I don't want to read it again anytime soon. A flimsy little story of star-crossed lovers, with some high adventure medieval-style. The beauty of this book lies in imagining a troubador performing the piece in verse and song.
First French novel I have ever read.
Definitely gives off some Shakespear vibes, but without the confusing language. I would've enjoyed this a lot more if the eBook edition I was reading didn't take forever to load each page and it wouldn't let me download it, because reasons, apparently. Also, what the hell, Aucassin, why are you so mean to the king just because he happens to be giving birth? Let him be trans in peace, geez.
Aucassin and Nicolette is an anonymous Old French chantefable creation comprising prose and verse , probably from the 12th or 13th century; its only remaining source is a manuscript kept in the National Library of France, in Paris. The story fascinated authors such as Andrew Lang and Francis William Bourdillon, who translated the chantefable in English. I read both translations and I found them very good and similar, but I prefer Lang's version because it's more melodious and it sounds a little Aucassin and Nicolette is an anonymous Old French chantefable creation comprising prose and verse , probably from the 12th or 13th century; its only remaining source is a manuscript kept in the National Library of France, in Paris.
I read both translations and I found them very good and similar, but I prefer Lang's version because it's more melodious and it sounds a little more old-fashioned than the other one. Bourdillon thinks that sometimes we need to leave modern complicated novels behind and turn to old and simple tales, which we may find "more moving, more tender, even more real, than all the laboured realism of these photographic days. The translator speculates that the plot is not original because the particular form of this tale pre-exists in the Arabian or Moorish culture.
Thus, Bourdillon suggests that the story probably comes from Spain, the place where two religions and mentalities met. The story is quite charming, a lightly mocked romance: the noble French youth Aucassin is, to his father's great irritation, in love with the much smarter adopted Saracen Nicolette. Aucassin complains and daydreams a lot, neglecting his chivalric duties, or trying to negotiate doing them in return for the right to marry Nicolette. Nicolette lies in her bed looking out at the bright moon, with which she is consistently linked throughout the story, listening to the nightingale, and while she does as a courtly maiden in love should do, thinking of her love, such thoughts quickly pass to his father and she decides that she will not wait in her tower for him to come to kill her.
Notably, her plan's first stage expresses itself in her dressing herself in expensive fabrics — thus taking control of her own body, person, and, accordingly, of her fate, before she ties the bedding together and climbs from her window down the tower. Although in haste, she takes care of her dress once on the ground, lifting the hem in an action reminiscent of the moment where she cured the pilgrim to keep it out of the dew — Nicolette is a lady even under such dangerous conditions.
Thus she is simultaneously a disruptively active rebel and a proper courtly woman. Her act of lifting the hem of her dress lends further weight to Aucassin's description of her curing the pilgrim through an almost identical act, lifting her hem to reveal her leg.
At the same time, it is worth noting the ambiguity of the garment which she wears, the bliaut, which can be worn by a woman or a man. The narrator again describes her physically, this time in much more detail than before, from head to toe.
It is again a voyeuristic moment, as our eyes move with his down the form of the young woman alone in a garden in the dark. Her vulnerability is thus clarified, yet she proves impossible to catch, crushing the daisies as she walks quickly through the garden to the door. She is described in terms of flowers, fruits and nuts — her lips redder than roses and cherries in the summer, her breasts like large nuts, her skin so white that the white daisies which they crush are black in comparison.
The descriptions of her lips and breasts relate her again to the beloved in the Song of Songs. To my mind, however, her turning the daisies black, albeit metaphorical, is unsettling. Compare her to Olwen in How Culhwch won Olwen: Olwen came, dressed in a flame-red silk robe, with a torque of red gold around her neck, studded with precious pearls and rubies.
Neither the eye of a mewed halk nor the eye of a thrice-mewed falcon was fairer than hers ; her breasts were whiter than the breast of a white swan, her cheeks were redder than the reddest foxgloves …. Wherever she went four white trefoils appeared behind her, and for that reason she was called Olwen The Mabinogion, translated by Jeffrey Gantz, pp. The first beings whom Nicolette encounters in the forest are a group of shepherd boys, and she opens the conversation with Christian greetings — again through her speech she emphasises her Christian beliefs and further distances herself from her Saracen origins.
Nicolette here draws on standard courtly love rhetoric, in which love is equated with hunting, in which the man must capture the woman. Such supernatural creatures with healing powers are another feature of Marie de France's lais. Thus her entire being is again transformed. The fairy is another stock character in medieval literature; such otherworldly women are characterised by their superlative beauty and rich dress, and by their existing in forests.
Nicolette meets all the criteria. Whiter she was than any altar lily, and more sweetly flushed than the new born rose in time of summer heat. She lay upon a bed with napery and coverlet of richer worth than could be furnished by a castle's spoil.
Very fresh and slender showed the lady in her vesture of spotless linen. About her person she had drawn a mantle of ermine, edged with purple dye from the vats of Alexandria. By reason of the heat her raiment was unfastened for a little, and her throat and the rondure of her bosom showed whiter and more untouched than hawthorn in May.
The description of the fairy's leg being on display, and of its whiteness, invokes the image of Nicolette's white leg curing the pilgrim, and the comparison of the fairy's white skin with the hawthorn blossoms invokes the way in which Nicolette's skin is white enough to make the daisies look black.
While the fairy may only be in her white chemise, her coat, of Alexandrian purple, is of Saracen origins like Nicolette.
Aucassin and Nicolette (Bourdillon) - Wikisource, the free online library
If the women look alike, what of their personalities and abilities? Such fairies as the one who loves Lanval are dynamic like Nicolette, and do not act like passive maidens. When Nicolette is separated from Aucassin by a storm at sea, her ship is driven onto the shores of Carthage. The ship belongs to the King of Carthage, who is at this point identified as her father.
Her beauty is not questioned — given the emphasis on her blonde hair and white skin up to this point in the story, it is intriguing that the Saracens do not comment on it. Instead, they celebrate her because of her beauty, and the narrator describes how she truly seemed to be a woman of noble blood. The ambiguity of Nicolette's being is further emphasised when she cannot identity herself to the Saracens because she was stolen away as a small child.
It appears that they therefore do recognise her as one of their own, after all, which raises again the question of her appearance — could she truly be blond-haired and white-skinned after all?
Aucassin and Nicolette
The depiction of Saracens in medieval art and literature only increases the ambiguity, instead of offering answers. There is none so lovely in all pagandom, her body is beautiful, slender, and fine, her skin is as white as the flower of the thorn Guillaume d'Orange : four twelfth-century epics, trans. By Joan M. This is open to interpretation — I suggest that she sees her own appearance reflected back at her from the people, art and sculpture around her.
But what does she see? She prays to the Christian God that she will again hold him in her arms. However, her family have other ideas, and seek to marry her to a pagan king. Her subsequent actions link her to many female saints whose families attempt to marry them to pagan kings against their will. We voyeuristically follow Nicolette through her assumption of a disguise: And she took a herb, and smeared her head and face with it, so that she was all black and stained.
And she got a coat made, and cloak and shirt and breeches, and attired herself in minstrel guise; and she took her viol, and went to a mariner, and so dealt with him that he took her in his ship. They set their sail, and sailed over the high sea till they arrived at the land of Provence. And Nicolette went forth, and took her viol, and went playing through the country, till she came to the Castle of Beaucaire, where Aucassin was. In contrast to the moment in which Aucassin undresses her in his memory, Nicolette begins at the level of her skin, changing its colour to black. Thus she loses the light which has thus far epitomised her appearance.
She then has the different layers of clothes made, and, at the last, the nature of her disguise is revealed — she is a jongleur. Nicolette is no longer a woman, no longer of noble blood, no longer white- skinned as she has been explicitly represented throughout the text. She is an action transvestite in every sense, as she negotatiates with a ship captain to sail her away from Carthage. He takes her to Provence, from where she travels on foot to Beaucaire, whither Aucassin had earlier arrived when they were separated at sea.
Thus we see Nicolette's commitment to Aucassin, to the only relationship of her life which she has freely chosen, and to the preservation of which all her actions and moments of un dressing have been directed. She has rejected her initial family, albeit one forced upon her, and her birth family, to be with him. The plot of the story has been developed according to all that has happened to her and to all that she has done to affirm her vision of her future.
Aucassin et Nicolette (Writer)
Upon her arrival at the castle of Beaucaire, she does not immediately declare her true identity to Aucassin, for all that she goes directly to him. When she arrives, he is sitting lost in his memories of her, sighing and crying. Yet on this occasion, the only description of Nicolette that we are given is that she is brave. Explore music. Purchasable with gift card. Medieval song in Old French and Modern English translation introducing a singing play about two lovers.
Chantefable d'Aucassin et Nicolette is a 13th Century song introducing a medieval singing play about two lovers. I have sung it in the original Old French pronunciation and also in my modern English translation. Qui vauroit bons vers oir del deport du viel antif De deux biaux enfans petis Nicholette et Aucasins, Nicholette et Aucasins [English translation] Who will hear a fine old song 'tis an ancient tale I sing Of two young folk who could do no wrong Nicolette and Aucassin Of the sufferings he would embrace, his acts were noble full of grace for his lover fair of face. Sweet the song and full of renown courtly gentle as I sing No man can be so cast down taken up with suffering sore with heavy worries and pain that if he hears it he'll refrain and be joyful once again so pretty and sweet the song is.
Who will hear a fine old song 'tis an ancient tale I sing Of two young folk who could do no wrong Nicolette and Aucassin, Nicolette and Aucassin. Tags classical english alto choral guitar humour mediaeval medieval modal old french world music Sale. Two movements for wind quintet.