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A Pastourelle in Outremer: The Cultural Politics of Hybridity in “L’altrier cuidai aber druda”

Authors
  • Cullen, Terrence1
  • 1 New York University, Department of French, 19 University Place, 6th Floor, New York, NY, 10003, USA , New York (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Neophilologus
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Jan 09, 2019
Volume
103
Issue
2
Pages
171–187
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s11061-018-09594-2
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

This article reconsiders the anonymous thirteenth-century poem “L’altrier cuidai aber druda,” a bawdy pastourelle that is one of a number of texts in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 844 that are written in a hybrid between French and Occitan. Contextualizing the poem within its sole manuscript witness, a songbook thought to have been commissioned for the French-descended William II of Villehardouin, the Prince of the Morea in what is now Greece, I argue that a consideration of the cultural politics of this Crusader state can shed new light on the significance of the poem’s mixed language. With its blend of Occitan, French, and artificial words that are not quite either language, the text stages an act of literary deceit that undermines the prestigious language of the troubadours by thwarting both narrative and linguistic expectations. Parodying Occitan in this way would have been particularly appreciated by the francophone nobility of the Morea, eager to maintain their connections to their homeland in Europe and threatened by the specters of linguistic and cultural alterity from both fellow Crusaders and the resurgent Byzantine Empire.

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