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  • Els manuscrits, el saber i les lletres a la Corona d'Aragó, 1250–1500 ed. by L. Badia et al.
  • Pau Cañigueral Batllosera
Els manuscrits, el saber i les lletres a la Corona d'Aragó, 1250–1500
Edited by L. Badia, L. Cifuentes, S. Martí and J. Pujol. Barcelona: Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat, 2016. <–1500.html>

This volume contains a selection of eight papers originally presented at the conference "Els manuscrits, el saber i les lletres a la Corona d'Aragó, 1250–1500," which took place at the Universitat de Barcelona in 2014. Although the eight studies cover topics that would at first sight seem to only loosely relate to each other—ranging from Catalan-Occitan lyric poetry to homemade medicine or the reception of Dante and Petrarch—all in fact share a focus on the material conditions of circulation of medieval texts. In recent years certain medieval Catalan manuscripts, particularly those containing lyric poetry, have received much scholarly attention, while others, such as those containing scientific and philosophical treatises, have remained comparably less studied. One could say that this volume evens the scales by offering a mosaic of areas and approaches to the material culture of medieval Catalan letters as a whole.

The first contribution by Cabré and Winiarski tackles the corpus of Catalan narrative verse, the noves rimades. Noves rimades are a particularly slippery genre to define. They encompass very heterogeneous compositions whose models cannot usually be identified. Most texts remain, furthermore, anonymous, and are really difficult to date. Cabré and Winiarski study the Conte d'amor, a piece contained in the Cançoner de París-Carpentràs, and propose a new chronology for the extant corpus of Catalan narrative verse that seems better fitting with that of neighboring Romance traditions. The Cançoner de París-Carpentràs is a mutilated manuscript that has suffered several modifications over the course of centuries. With their material study, Cabré and Winiarski show how the original scribe copied a group of literary pieces that are quite closely related from thematic and cultural perspectives. The Conte d'amor actually presents more similarities with late Occitan literature than with the French or Italian traditions. While it has been traditionally considered that the first examples of Catalan narrative verse date to the last third of the fourteenth century, this new analysis allows the authors to propose an earlier date, one that re-conceptualizes noves rimades as a continuation of French and Occitan trends and models. [End Page 334]

In the second chapter of the volume, Marfany unearths a consolatory poem copied on one of the flyleaves of a liber curiae containing legal documents from 1348. This is a unique text. It stands as the first authorial draft of the composition and happens to be the earliest of the three known extant holographs of medieval Catalan literature (the other two are service copies close to a final version, both dating to the second half of the fifteenth century). Marfany studies the poem's compositional process and remarks on the author's attention to rhyme and stress patterns as well as on his use of a language that combines both Occitan and Catalan features, as was common at the time. Interestingly, though, Marfany notes how the author never emends any of the hybrid features of his language, demonstrating that he had naturalized it as a literary register.

Pellissa's contribution offers a comprehensive approach to Catalan sentimental fiction. Like noves rimades, sentimental fiction encompasses very heterogeneous texts—including allegorical poetry, short stories in prose or verse, and prosimetra. Pellissa defines the genre formally, as a literary trend characterized by a discursive focus on the never-ending pain of lovers, a poignant vocabulary, and overly dramatic hyperboles. In contrast to neighboring Castilian texts, Catalan sentimental fiction has been mostly transmitted in manuscripts. Pellissa establishes main channels through which sentimental fiction circulated and illustrates various compilatory practices in songbooks like the Jardinet d'orats, the Cançoner del marquès de Barberà, and the Cançoner de Co...