In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

REVIEWS115 more consideration here. The performability of medieval gentes is the theme of a thitd section in which Brian Levy, Adrian Tutor, and Kenneth Varty examine the ways in which short narratives (miracle stories, fabliaux, sermons, and the stories of Renart the fox) solicit performance through voice change and physical gestures. Karl Reichl's essay compares medieval and contemporary oral epics, arguing that modern performances ofepic offer valuable evidence for undemanding how medieval epics were performed. This rheme is conrinued in the final section ofthe collection where Benjamin Bagby describes his reconstructions ofmusical performances oforal epics, Linda Marie Zaerr argues that the memorization and performance of a medieval poem can lead to an undemanding oftextual variation in records ofthe text, and Anne Azéma describes her performance practice. Performing Medieval Narrative moves across a number of different genres and national traditions. The individual studies will be valuable to scholats working on the texts under consideration, but the entire volume will be of interest to historians of performance as well as to literary historians for its representation of the diverse methodologies available for understanding the relationship among a performer, a text, and an audience. PEGGY MCCRACKEN University ofMichigan WACE, Le Roman de Brut: The French Book ofBrutus. Translated by Arthur Wayne Glowka. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies, 279. Tempe, AZ: Arizona Cenrer for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 2005. Pp. xxx, 434. isbn: 978-0— 86698-322-8. $48. With the appearance ofthis fine volume, Arthurian scholars no longer have ro put up with the out-of-date Eugene Mason vetsion (RP Medieval Academy 1996). Scholars have a choice now when ¡r comes to reading ot assigning a book of early French chronicles that potttay the (imaginary and legendary) history of Britain. Glowka's work (henceforth G.) has been much anticipated, especially for anyone who mighr have been put off by Judith Weiss's rather cool prose translation (but nevertheless a landmark bilingual edirion; U. Exeter Press, 1999; 2004 (henceforth W. and W2) reviewed by R. Cormier in these pages (Arthuriana 10 [2000]: 124-28). Regatding G.'s 'unrhymed English iambic tetrameter' (intro. xxviii) that claims to preserve Wace's verse-by-verse sttucture and Old French cadences, it would be well to recall hereJamesJ. Wilhelm's 1986 words: '[t]he 14,8000-odd octosyllabic lines in rhymed couplets are not readily translatable into modern English poetry' ( The Romance of ArthurII, ed. Wilhelm, published by Garland). But G. has proceeded nonetheless, and the result is, I think, less than satisfying for anyone who might prefer, for translations of medieval texts, the 'combat boots' ofprose to the 'ballerina slippers' ofverse. Drawing on a much-limited bibliography, G.'s introduction covers the usual (and meager) biographical background information on Wace—the reference to Il6ARTHURIANA service in Normandy wirh royal patronage from 'three Henrys;' the 'cletkly' work in Caen and Bayeux; what might be called production notes for his Roman de Rou and Roman de Brut; his minor works; and the huge success and influence of the palpable and compelling Brut romance. As the publisher's blurb puts it, 'a wonderful inrroduction to the medieval world—a world ofkings and feudal loyalty, ofcastles and siege machines, of battles and invasions, of moral and immoral love, of sin and salvation, and of famines and stotms.' It is Wace who, by adapting Geoffrey of Monmouth's learned Latin History ofthe Kings ofBritain into the vernacular, brings to his audience ofpartons and theit peets, ageless and compelling stories that celebrate the eponymous hero, the Trojan Brutus, and highlight the virtues and vices of his kingly progeny: Lear, Belin and Brennes, Vortigern, Uthet Pendragon, Arthut, among others. The loss ofBritain and the fall ofBriton supremacy provide a climactic finale to the natrative. Similar to W.'s episode markers, G. has taken it upon himselfto break the whole sequence into fourteen chapters ofabout 1000—1200 lines each: I. 'Brutus;' II. 'Lesset Men, Lesser Kings;' III. 'Belin and Brennës;' IV. 'Belin's Heirs;' V. 'The Coming of rhe Romans;' VI. 'Life Under Roman Influence;' VII. 'The House of Constantine: Vortigern and the Saxons;' VIII. 'The House ofConstantine: Autelius Ambrosius;' IX. 'The House of Constantine: Uthet Pendragon;' X. 'The Rise...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 115-117
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.