- Nouveau Recueil complet des fabliaux (NRCF). Vol. 1 ed. by Willem Noomen, Nico van den Boogaard, and: Nouveau Recueil complet des fabliaux (NRCF). Vol. 2 ed. by Willem Noomen, Nico van den Boogaard (review)
- Studies in the Age of Chaucer
- The New Chaucer Society
- Volume 9, 1987
- pp. 242-245
- View Citation
- Additional Information
STUDIES IN THE AGE OF CHAUCER are smoothly and accurately rendered with occasional very felicitous phrasing. All in all this is a useful study of an important medieval genre, a work which not only is very pleasant to read but also presents the insights of a perceptive literary critic. PAUL BARRETTE University of Tennessee WILLEM NOOMEN and NICO VAN DEN BOOGAARD, eds. Nouveau Recuezl comp/et desfabliaux (NRCF). Vol. 1. Assen (Pays-Bas): Van Gorcum; New York and London: Garland, 1983. Pp. xxii, 406. $50.00. WILLEM NOOMEN and NICO VAN DEN BOOGAARD, eds. Nouveau Recuezf comp/et desfobliaux (NRCF). Vol. 2. Assen (Pays-Bas): Van Gorcum; New York and London: Garland, 1984. Pp. xx, 464. $50.00. In 1972, Lein Geschiere, Willem Noomen, and Nico van den Boogaard undertook the huge task of giving a complete new edition of the French fabliaux. Theprevious editions had been prepared to serve their contempo rary audiences and could not have foreseen the further development of editorial practices or requirements. The heads of the project do not deny the value ofA. deMontaiglon and G. Raynaud'sRecuetlgeneralet comp/et desfabliaux des XIIIe etXIVt? siecles, imprimes ou inedits, publies d'apres Jes manuscrits, 6 vols. (Paris, 1872-90); on the contrary, the title of their own edition is a tribute to their predecessors' work. Lein Geschiere, who was the initiator ofthe NRCF and who collaborated the first years ofthe enterprise,retired after the first volume was published. Nico van den Boogaard died on Christmas Day, 1982; he wasforty-fourand was at the very heart of the project. Death struck him before the first volume was published but he had been involved in the first five volumes. Fortunately,the first team could rely on H. B. Sol's collaboration, but it was also at the head ofa pool ofeditors who prepared the first redaction ofeach fabliau: K. MacGillavry-Molenaar,M. Bonte,]. A. van Os, R. L. H. Lops, and M. Rus; in addition,M. Gosman, E. Kooiman, T. Verhulsdonck, and J. A. van Os collated the manuscripts. The realization of the project has been madepossible by thedynamismofitsmembersand also by a grant of 242 REVIEWS the Z.WO (Low Countries) and of the two universities of Amsterdam and of that of Groningen. The present edition is based on P. Zumthor's assertion that "chaque version, chaque 'etat du texte' doit en principe etre considere, plutot que comme le resultat d'une emendation, comme un re-emploi, une recrea tion" (Essai depoetiquemedievale [Paris, 1972], p. 72). It means that each version is important in itself, representing a moment in the life of the work; each manuscript is the witness of a particular context, which we do not necessarily understand but which is there and must be handed over to scholars as it is. In other words, they consider each version an independent text, of which they give us a diplomatic edition, with its own critical notes. To make the comparison easier, the different versions are presented synop tically. They are followed by a critical edition of at least one manuscript (sometimes more, if the versions are too different). The aim of such an edition is to make the text more legible. Some passages are emended, the punctuation is modernized, and the use of u, v, i, and j, of some diacritic marks, and of figures is as close as possible to present-day use. But, as Boogaard makes clear in his article "Le Nouveau Recuezl comp/et desfobliaux" (NeophzJ 71 :333-46), their concep tion of a critical edition is not that of, say, J. Richner in Eustache d'Amiens duBouchierd'Abevile (Geneve, 1975), or M. Thiry-Stassin and M. Tyssens, Narcisse (Paris, 1976). They do not aim at reaching a collection of lectiones superiores, with ultimately not much in common with the realia of the manuscripts. Although they have filled lacunae, tried to emend the text when rhyme or rhythm are obviously incorrect, or when the reading does not make sense, their aim has never been to produce an elegant text if the basic manuscript is acceptable without emendation. Such a double-sided edition of each fabliau is very precious to any reader. Those who want...