- Editor's Note
This volume of Tenso was produced in 2020, a year that, as I draft these words, augurs to be as weighty as 1347 and 1348 were for the medieval world. The earlier years saw the ravages in Western Europe of Yersinia pestis, the bacterium that causes bubonic and pneumonic plague; 2020 has become the year of SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2), the name of the virus that has caused the pandemic disease identified as COVID-19.
Tenso has represented and served as a voice for the community of Occitan scholars since its first issue in 1986–1987. How COVID-19 may change that world is hard to know as I write. What is clear is that the emergency has severely limited scholarly access to libraries, though it has expanded, at least temporarily, scholarly access to online materials, such as those posted by the HathiTrust Digital Library, normally accessible only via partner institutions.
This volume serves as a special issue, edited by Daniel O'Sullivan, who organized two panels at the Medieval Congress in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 2019—oh, the days when scholars could meet in person—on the theme of Thibaut de Champagne and the troubadours. Dan's introduction sets that stage separately.
This issue also includes two brief pieces relating to scholar Jean-Claude Dinguirard (1940–1983), who deserves more recognition than he may have received during his too-short lifetime. His exceptional work in Occitan ranged from linguistic studies of Gascon to work on proverbs and medieval literature, and included translations into Occitan. His son has created a web site, described here, which will be of great interest to Occitan scholars, as the site makes available the works of the universitari tolosenc. In parallel, Pierre Escudé describes efforts to make Dinguirard's works available again in print.
The genre of the Op-Ed is continued in Tenso 36, with a different team of scholars offering their perspectives on directions for Occitan studies. Bill Burgwinkle and Hervé Lieutard each [End Page iv] offer insights on new areas worthy of exploration by current and future Occitanists.
Some members of the Tenso bibliographic team have expressed regret that their work is less complete than they might have wished, because of the pandemic. No apologies are accepted. The Web is an incredible tool, even as hard copies have proven harder to obtain in 2020 (let us now praise the work of Interlibrary Loan Librarians throughout the world). I propose a round of applause for our bibliographers and discographer for their continued and unstinting efforts to let the scholarly community know what is being published, in print and online, relating to our fields of studies. Though Tenso's bibliographers may not have been able to work in 2020 as they usually have, they offer here their always excellent research. As for works omitted this year, they will be incorporated into annual bibliographies in years to come, as has always been the case.
One last observation: this volume includes two necrologies, one for Xavier Ravier, who had two passions, linguistics (principally Occitan dialectology and onomastics) and verse, which he knew as a critic and as a poet. Samuel Rosenberg's fame may be greater in the community of Old French scholars than among Occitanists, despite his significant work in our discipline. For me, Sam was a mentor and a friend. On his retirement, freed from the constraints of teaching and committee work, he engaged ever more actively in scholarship and translation, serving as a model for us all to his last days. COVID-19 has forced many of us into some form of "retirement" or confinement. Sam's career demonstrates that while such a retreat brings deprivations, it can also be filled with opportunities.