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

REVIEWS117 continues by saying, 'much more important to Julian than the details of Mary's appearance are "the wisedam and the trueth of hir soule,"' for she is 'fulfillid of grace,' of Gabriel's words 'gratia plena,' (161). He ends with the womb image, the birthing, the beginning, citing the work of my former colleague, Edward P. Nolan. This book is highly recommended for all Julian scholars and lovers. JULIA BOLTON HOLLOWAY Hermit of the Holy Family, Fiesole, Italy barbara ?. altmann, The Love Debate Poems ofChristine de Pizan. Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 1998. Pp. 294; 4 illus. isbn: 0-8130-1478-2. $49.95. This is a beautifully produced, scholarly edition ofChristine de Pizan's three debate poems, Le Livre du Débat de deux amans, Le Livre des Troisjugemens, and Le Livre du Dit de Poissy; all were composed in 1400 or shortly thereafter. Prepared by an expert on Christine's debate poems, this is the only modern edition other than Maurice Roy's in his Oeuvrespoétiques de Christine de Pisan (1886-96). The two lovers' debate revolves around the question ofwhether love is a source ofgreater good or suffering for loyal lovers; the Livredes Troisjugemens considers three cases ofamorous infidelity; the first half of Le Livre du Dit de Poissy recounts in detail Christine's visit to her daughter at the Convent ofPoissy, followed by two stories ofunhappy lovers, each of whom claims to be the more unhappy. In addition to the text of the poems, the edition includes a general introduction and an introduction to each work, a list of variants, notes (both on meaning and especially on the manuscripts), a short glossary, a bibliography of works cited, and four illustrations in color. Prepared with great attention to detail, this edition gives us an excellent text of these poems which have received little scholarly attention, a situation which this edition may help to change. The general introduction discusses the background to the poems, arguing for the coherence ofthemes and attitudes in Christine's work in the context ofher reworking of inherited forms. Altmann's overview ofthe dit and the débat amoureux as genres shows how Christine made significant changes in the generic prototype which we find, for example, in Guillaume de Machaut's judgment poems. Christine's two principal transformations were the substitution ofstory telling for the debate proper and the absence ofjudgments at the end of the poems. Although these poems were written for courtly audiences, and each is dedicated to a noble patron who is asked to judge the amorous question debated in the poem, Altmann makes clear, in the section entitled 'Theme and Variations: Interplay of Form and Content,' that Christine reshaped generic traditions both to introduce concrete and topical detail and to show that the debates arc designed to be read against one another. Finally Altmann argues that Christine expressed her views ofgender issues in a number ofways, such as her innovative inclusion of female voices and her choice of a narrator who is not in any way a servant of love. Thus Christine's characters 'force the réévaluation of a highly stylized and literary phenomenon in light oflived experience' (30). The major difficulty with this excellent edition relates to the question ofaudience. Since a translation is not included and explanatory notes are minimal (as is the Il8ARTHURIANA glossary), the edition seems aimed at scholars who read Middle French with little difficulty. Furthermore, many of the notes deal with descriptions ofthe manuscript: Altmann points out, for example, when a word is written above the line. Since the relevance of this information to literary scholars is unclear (this kind of note should have been separated from the substantive ones), this information will be of use principally to specialists in codicology. Yet the editor also gives information needed by nonspecialists, such as the explanation ofreferences to Ovid and to the phoenix. Christine's complicated syntax often makes these poems difficult to read; they would be accessible to a broader audience had the notes been more substantive, including help with syntax, and the glossary fuller (or if a translation had been included). While there is little of direct interest to Arthurian...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1539
Print ISSN
1078-6279
Pages
pp. 117-118
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
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.