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Azemar lo Negre, troubadour albigeois du XIIIe siècle (review)
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REVIEWS Jacques Gourc, ed., Az.em.ar Io Nègre, troubadour albigeois du XMesiècle. Collection SUD. Paris: Editions du CNRS, 199 1 . Pp. 109. F90. Gourc's book includes an introduction, a critical edition of the vida and five poems, a short glossary, an index ofproper names, and a summary bibliography. Azemar left four poems, of which one appears in eight manuscripts, and none in fewer than four. None of these manuscripts furnishes a melody. Azemar's portrait appears in two manuscripts, and his name figures as a witness in a document recording a sale in 12 10. Agreeing with the attributions by Andraud and Topsfield in their editions of Raimon de Miraval. Gourc also confidently attributes to Azemar Io Negre a fifth poem, a partimen between N'Aemar and Raimon de Miraval. This poem has the distinction of bearing the number 1 , 1 in the Pillet-Carstens list of troubadour poems. A book of 109 pages may seem exaggerated for the edition offour or five poems and a vida However, it is not out of line with recent editions, such as Rieger's 766 pages for 46 poems, or Guida's 437 pages for 10 poems. On the other hand, this is a poet about whom very little is known, so that Gourc's section headed Biographie is necessarilyextremelyconjectural. and his section Relations poétiques amounts to little more than a list of poets who visited Spain and a conviction that their poems may have been first written down in the Spanish courts. In the section on the Oeuvre, Gourc is on surer ground, because he has the poems to deal with, and he makes agood case for a uniform metrical and indeed structural and thematic form in the four poems of certain attribution. Azemar shows a distinct preference for the seven-syllable line and for strophes of seven or eight lines. Gourc asserts that Azemar did not practice the trobar dus, although some of his work seems to approach it, nor yet the trobar ric. With this it is easy to agree; but it is less easy to see, as Gourc does, a kind ofsentimental progress in the four poems based on their content. The critical edition ofthe texts, pp. 3 1 -89. is the heart ofthebook. All the usual apparatus is provided: for each poem information including P-C number, metrical Repertoire number, manuscripts, previous editions, and a stemma; then the text, variants, a modem French translation, and notes, ending with a section on rapports intertexhiels. Only the text of 3, 1 differs much at all from previous 43 REVIEWS editions by Kolsen (pp. 156-62). Appel (pp. 1-3), and Mahn (v. 3. pp. 326-27), but this is because for 3, 1 Gourc has chosen C as his base manuscript, while Kolsen used L. This choice is to be applauded, since L presents some strange, probably Italianate solutions to the phonetic problems of Old Occitan, especially in the fricatives. Apart from this the texts of the poems as edited by Gourc ofXex very little that is new. The notes range very widely and seem to be addressed to novice readers of troubadour poems as well as the scholarly audience. In some notes Gourc glosseswords from the text, bygiving one or more modem French equivalents; in others, he justifies his choices from various manuscripts, makes comparisons with other troubadour poems, discusses difficult passages, and identifies historical persons mentioned in the text. Readers of varying skills will find some notes useful, others incomprehensible or simplistic. The translations are generally workmanlike and make the most ofwhat is sometimes a difficult text. This reviewerwould quarrel with one rendering: the expressionjoy tan vil in 3,4 line 26, which Gourc translates as "un plaisir aussi misérable."The word vilis ambiguous, as seen in Giraut de Bomelh's Leu chansonet'e vil (242.45) which Sharman translates "a clear, quick and light little song." adding a note on vil and its two meanings of"quick" and also "low" or "menial," with a further reference to Paterson, p. 107 (p.287), although Pattison understands it differently in his translation of 389,7 line 3 (p. 171). To refer to the...