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'Tel seit la lei de mariage': Fact and Fiction in Models of Twelfth-Century Marriage Margaret Burrell With the completion of the Decretum by Gratian, which James Brundage dates at 1140 'or thereabouts', there was at last a standard authoritative work on marriage. Gratian's definition of the conditions required in marriage were quoted extensively, along with the slightly differing views found in the Sententiarum Libri VI of Peter Lombard. But there were also other models of marriage to be found infiction:in the secular text of Mystere d'Adam and in the romances of Chretien de Troyes, there can be found models of marriage which deserve comparison and commentary in relation to those of the jurists. This paper will look at the extent to which two works of fiction reflected the theory of the jurists. At least one critic has already chosen to group Adam and the romances together: Lynette Muir, in her monograph on Liturgy and Drama in the AngloNorman Adam, writes in her concluding section on 'Author and audience': 1 James A. Brundage, Law, Sex, and Christian Society in Medieval Europe (Chi Chicago University Press, 1987), p. 229. The references to the works of Gratian have been taken from Brundage, who on p. 231, footnote 5, gives as his authority the editio by Emil Friedberg (2 vols., Leipzig: B. Tauchnitz, 1879; repr. Graz: Akademische Druc u. Verlangsanstalt, 1959). 2 Lynette Muir, Liturgy and Drama in the Anglo-Norman Adam (Oxford: Blackwell, 19 Medium Aevum Monographs, new series, III, p. 119. 2 Margaret Burrell Adam has more in common with the courtly literature of Chretien de Troyes or Marie de France, than with the often rougher, always more warlike Chansons de Geste. The emphasis on feudalism and the use of its concepts of mutual obligation and duty would be easily understood and appreciated by an audience drawn from all classes, but the sympathetic picture of Eve and the psychological skill of the characterisation in both the A d a m and the Cain sequences would be more appropriate to a cultured and a feminine audience. At the beginning of the Adam, the Figura Dei explains to A d a m that he has been created from the earth itself and that he has been given a bon cumpainun (9). Figura then instructs A d a m about her name and purpose: 'Ce est ta femme, Evain a nun; Ce est ta femme e tun pared; Tu l i deiz estre bien feeil. Tu aime li, e ele aint tei, Si serez bien andui de mei. El seit a tun comandement, E vus ansdous a mun talent.' (vv. 10-16) 'Tu la governe par raison; Nen ait entre vus ja tencon, Mais grant amor, grant conservage: Tel seit la lei de mariage.' (vv.21-24) [This is your wife, her name is Eve; she is your wife and your equal; you ought to be faithful to her. M a y you love her and she you, and you will both be loved by me. M a y she be at your bidding and you both at m y command . . . M a y you control her by reason; and let there be no strife between you, but great love, great concern for each other; let such be the law of marriage.] Le Mystere dAdam. An Anglo-Norman Drama of the Twelfth Century, edited by Paul Studer (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1918; edition quoted 1962). All textual references are to this edition, but the translation is mine. In his introduction (p lvi) Studer estimates the date of the composition of the Anglo-Norman text to be between the years 1146 and 1174, with the probability that it was composed in the earlier part of that period, a range of time which Grace Frank confirms by quoting these exact dates in her book, The Medieval French Drama (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1954), n if. Fact and Fiction in Models ofTwelfth-Century Marriage 3 Likewise, in the next speech, Figura counsels Eve on her behaviour, first towards him and then towards Adam: 'Adam aime, e lui tien chier: II est marid, tu sa mullier; A lui seies tot tens encline, Nen issir de sa...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1832-8334
Print ISSN
0313-6221
Pages
pp. 1-15
Launched on MUSE
2013-04-03
Open Access
No
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