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REVIEWS obvious. H. M. Colvin considers the implications for future research on the limitations ofour knowledge and gives an excellent survey of the state of contemporary scholarship. Like the two art historians, Nigel Wilkins deals with the Continental influences on his subject, music and poetry at court. Wilkins's knowledge of late-medieval French poetry is well known; here he gives a general picture of the surviving sources, which other scholars will find useful though they may not wish to follow all his speculations. RUTH MORSE Cambridge University JEAN-CLAUDE SCHMITT, The Holy Greyhound: Guinefort, Healer ofChtfdren Since the Thirteenth Century. Translated by Mar­ tin Thom. Cambridge Studies in Oral and Literate Culture 6. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1983. Pp. x, 215. $34.50. Sometime before 1261 the Dominican inquisitor Stephen of Bourbon encountered (about thirty miles north of Lyons) an un­ usual heresy, which he at once determined to suppress. A number of peasants in the region were worshiping a dog, a greyhound they had named Guinefort, because it had been hastily and unjustifiably slain by a local knight. Stephen's exemplum, condemning such heretical superstitions, was included in his collection ofexempla as de adoratione guinefortis cants. Having saved the infant of the house from the coils and jaws ofa large serpent, Guinefort was slain by the returning father-knight, who, finding blood spattered around the nursery and the dog's mouth, struck the faithful animal a mortal blow. Stephen also reported that in afortified place about a league distant a heretical ritual was enacted, in commemoration of Guinefort, though inspired by enticements of the devil: mothers with sick or weak children sought out a certain old woman, who enacted rituals involving offerings to demons to bring about the infants' health. 223 STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER Jean-Claude Schmitt is as interested in the researcher's investiga­ tive process as he is in historical interpretation. In The Holy Greyhoundhe employs, in addition to history, the methodologies of folklore, ethnology, archaeology, and iconography. The data are documentary and oral, though, as is inevitable with folkloric mate­ rials of the Middle Ages, the traces of their existence are written. Stephen of Bourbon uncovered a heretical cult and gathered testi­ mony from witnesses in the region. For the Dominican father it was an error of superstition; he discovered it while on a routinejourney, preached against it, and includedit in his work on the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit. But what did the cult, the legend of Guinefort, and the ritual mean? More, Schmitt thinks, than historiography can reveal, for what Stephen described was an oral tradition that was at odds with official, literate culture. For the contemporary researcher to deal with that tradition, folkloric, ethnographic, and archae­ ological procedures are necessary. To interpret some of the texts, Schmitt used analytical methods of structuralist literary critics. The results are impressive, and this book is satisfying. Because of it we know a bit more of the social history of thirteenth-century France and a great deal more about interdisciplinary scrutinies and their gratifying results. Schmitt isolates a learned narrative tradition of the Guinefort story (beginning with a version in Li Romans des sept sages, ca. 1155) from an oral family of legends related to Aarne-Thompson motif B 524.1.4.1, "Dog defends master's child against animal assailant." Schmitt concludes, debatably, that "the wealth of differ­ ent versions indicates that it is not a 'true story."' Probably he is correct here, but not necessarily so. In his close textual compari­ sion-a rigorous and deft handling-he discards the Oriental ana­ logues. They are anterior to Stephen's exemplum but sufficiently removed spatially to be ignored. The folklorists' term for this is "oicotyping." Although Schmitt is inclined toward Bedier's disdain of "diffusionist theories," he has difficulty, finally, in deciding "which parts of the narrative belong to the oral tradition,and which may be attributed to a genre peculiar to learned culture." Wisely he concludes that although a popularization of a learned narrative occurred late in the twelfth century, the influence of folklore is 224 REVIEWS apparent throughout, linking the narrative to the healing rite. Nearly a century earlier...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1949-0755
Print ISSN
0190-2407
Pages
pp. 223-226
Launched on MUSE
2018-01-03
Open Access
No
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