France and England

Brian Murdoch

in Gregorius

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199596409
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745737 | DOI:
France and England

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The earliest surviving text of Gregorius is an extensive narrative poem in French intended as an exemplum for an aristocratic audience. It is preserved in two redactions, which are described and the text analysed. The stress is on the avoidance of any despair in divine forgiveness, a key theme in most of the versions, and there is already here the basic paradox of the holy (justified, chosen) sinner. The chapter also examines another French version in alexandrines found in a fifteenth-century manuscript, which contains an unusual justification of the initial incest. The presumed archetype of the two redactions of the early poem was the source for an important medieval German poem (and the ancestor of the many texts that followed it); and a later medieval English poem, which is considered in detail in this chapter, was also based on one of the redactions.

Keywords: medieval French; medieval English; poems; exemplum; despair; paradox

Chapter.  17913 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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