Chapter

Degenerations

Brian Murdoch

in Gregorius

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199596409
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191745737 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199596409.003.0005
Degenerations

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In north-western Europe the narrative survives in prose in Irish and in a post-Reformation chap-book tradition in Germany which lasts into the nineteenth century. Both are based on the Gesta Romanorum, the latter, however, with an episcopal ending. Two golden age Spanish plays and a prose text seem also to derive from it. The chapter also considers a very wide range of folktales and folk-ballads, also based probably on the Gesta, though some have (unconvincingly) been thought of as much older, in languages ranging from Catalan, Italian, and Rhaeto-Romanic to the Slavonic languages (with Serbian ballads as an early example), Armenian, Syriac, and Coptic. There is even a Hebrew tale which relocates the story in religious terms. Folktales are often degenerations, reductive and fragmented, and some are no longer really analogues, but a great deal of the theology often remains.

Keywords: degeneration; reduction; chap-book; Spanish literature; folktale; folk-ballad; analogues

Chapter.  21407 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

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