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Reviewed by:
  • La Vierge dans les arts et les littératures du Moyen Âge: actes du colloque de Perpignan, du 17 au 19 octobre 2013 by Paul Bretel, Michel Adroher, Aymat Catafau
  • Daniel E. O’Sullivan
La Vierge dans les arts et les littératures du Moyen Âge: actes du colloque de Perpignan, du 17 au 19 octobre 2013. Sous la direction de Paul Bretel, Michel Adroher et Aymat Catafau. Paris: Honoré Champion, 2017. 410 pp., ill.

While the volume’s editors state their desire to take a pluridisciplinary approach, in this they only partially succeed: the essays presented investigate Marian devotion in history, art history, and literature, but only one of the volume’s four parts includes non-literary approaches. Moreover, while the volume covers several disciplines, the individual contributions remain locked in their disciplinary silos. Part One contains four studies of English and Anglo-Norman literary traditions. Jean-Paul Débax studies Mary’s place in English theatre, but because he devotes so much of his chapter to background his textual analyses remain somewhat cursory. Claire Vial’s excellent chapter on Middle English lyrics demonstrates how these songs to the Virgin indulge in the contemplation of mysteries akin to lectio divina, rather than scriptural exegesis. Olivier Simonin examines Mary in Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and Françoise Laurent’s richly documented study of the miracle of Helsin in Wace’s Conception Nostre Dame and two Marian miracle collections finish out the first part. In the opening essay of Part Two, Lola Badia surveys images of the Virgin in the works of Ramon Llull. Miriam Cabré’s article on Mary in the poetry of Ceverí de Girona then posits that this troubadour’s religious production, while seemingly apart from his secular production, relies on the same aesthetic principles of registral variation and thematic adaptation. Michel Adroher examines texts in the Passion Dido to illustrate how much the author surprisingly glorifies Mary Magdalene while putatively praising the Virgin. Finally Sadurní Martí argues convincingly, in his study of the fourteenth-century Franciscan Francesc Eiximenis, how this writer deserves more scholarly attention. The third and longest part on French literature gathers ten essays on: Gautier de Coinci (Jean-René Valette and Gérard Gros); collections such as the Miracles de Notre Dame par personnages (Élisabeth Gauchier-Rémond); and institutions such as Marian poetic puys (Denis Huë). Articles on less-studied texts — L’Advocacie Notre Dame (Jean-Marie Carbasse), the sermons of Arnoul de Lisieux (Audry Bettant), and Cistercian legends (Céline Pérol) — flesh out the literary and socio-cultural landscape. Karin Ueltschi studies the Mesnagier de Paris to show how virtues traditionally associated with Mary are closely aligned to the ideal bourgeoise prudefemme. Finally, Paul Bretel’s ambitious study of images of Virgin in twelve (!) miracle collections marks the culmination of Part Three. The final part is composed of four studies: Alessia Trivellone’s study of a manuscript miniature of a scribe offering his codex to the Virgin in a copy of Jerome’s Commentary on Jeremiah (Dijon, BM 130, folio 104r); Jordi Camps i Sòria’s richly illustrated contribution on the Virgin and Child in Romanesque statues in Catalonia; Jean-René Gaborit’s study of Marian reliquaries; and Jean-Louis Olive’s study of a statuette called Nostra Senyora de la Salvetat in the church of Nostre-Dame de la Salvetat in Roussillon. Several indexes round out the volume; however, a final bibliography would have been equally helpful. The volume will find an appreciative audience among specialists in medieval literature and art. [End Page 447]

Daniel E. O’Sullivan
University of Mississippi


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