Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Troubadour Poems from the South of France

Troubadour Poems from the South of France

William D. Paden
Frances Freeman Paden
Copyright Date: 2007
Edition: NED - New edition
Published by: Boydell and Brewer,
Pages: 292
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7722/j.ctt14brw1v
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Troubadour Poems from the South of France
    Book Description:

    The poetry of the troubadours was famous throughout the middle ages, but the difficulty and diversity of the original languages have been obstacles to its appreciation by a wider audience. This collection aims to redress the situation, presenting English verse translations in contemporary idiom and a highly readable form. It includes some 125 poems, with a strong representation of those composed by women, and goes beyond traditional limits in time to feature a sampling of the earliest texts in the Occitan language, written in the tenth and eleventh centuries, and later works from the early fourteenth. Though most poems translated in the book were written in Occitan, the vernacular of southern France, there are also a few translations of poems written in the same place and time but in other languages, including Latin, Hebrew, Norse, Catalan, and Italian. Genres include love songs, satires, invectives, pastourelles, debates, laments, and religious songs. A comprehensive introduction places the troubadours in their historical context and traces the development of their art; headnotes introduce each poet, and the book ends with a bibliography and suggestions for further reading. WILLIAM D. PADEN is a Professor of French and Italian at Northwestern University, and was recently named a Chevalier dans l'Ordre des Palmes Acad130>miques. FRANCES FREEMAN PADEN is a Distinguished Senior Lecturer in The Writing Program and Gender Studies, also at Northwestern University.

    eISBN: 978-1-84615-601-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-v)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. vi-viii)
  4. PREFACE
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. ABBREVIATIONS
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. [Map]
    (pp. xiii-xiv)
  7. Introduction
    (pp. 1-12)

    In the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, and continuing into the fourteenth, the region that we know as the South of France was home to the troubadours, poets whose lyrics were heard from the Pyrenees to the Alps. These poets did not speak French but Occitan, the vernacular language of the region. The word “troubadour” represents Occitantrobador,from the verbtrobar,meaning “to find,” “to invent,” or “to compose”; hence, a troubadour is “one who finds, invents, or composes.” Women troubadours are called by the infrequent feminine form of the word,trobairitz.Although we know about twenty trobairitz by name,...

  8. Before the Troubadours (950–1100)
    (pp. 13-20)

    The earliest traces of written Occitan go back to the tenth and eleventh centuries. They include legal documents written in a blend of Latin and Occitan, orlatin farci(“stuffed Latin”), that is, Latin interspersed with vernacular elements. Typically, Latin is employed for the more impersonal passages and Occitan for passages in which the speaker engages himself more directly.

    The oldest literary texts date from the same period. Their language is often difficult to determine precisely, in part because their transmission was unreliable. We have selected a tenth-century charm from folk medicine and, from the eleventh century, a bilingual dawn...

  9. Spring (1100–1150)
    (pp. 21-58)

    The earliest known troubadours include some who were notable figures in their time, either because of their social standing or their poetic genius or both. The first, Guilhem IX, duke of Aquitaine and count of Poitou, was the lord of about one-third of what we call France. His successor, Jaufré Rudel, was called “prince” of Blaye, a town at the mouth of the Garonne river near Bordeaux. In contrast, Jaufré’s contemporary Marcabru was of uncertain origin; according to hisvidahe was a foundling from Gascony, the region lying along the Atlantic coast between Bordeaux and the Pyrenees. Cercamon, Bernart...

  10. Summer (1150–1200)
    (pp. 59-146)

    The second half of the twelfth century saw some of the greatest poets among the troubadours, including Bernart de Ventadorn and the Comtessa de Dia for the love song, and Bertran de Born for satire. Bernart de Ventadorn and Bertran de Born were from the West, as most of their predecessors had been, and so were others such as Rigaut de Berbezilh, Giraut de Bornelh, Arnaut Daniel, Gaucelm Faidit, Maria de Ventadorn, Gui d’Ussel, and Peire Vidal. But the mode of troubadour poetry spread east to Provence with Raimbaut d’Aurenga (Orange) early in the half-century, and with Raimbaut de Vaqueiras...

  11. Fall (1200–1250)
    (pp. 147-194)

    With the turn of the century, the women poets, or trobairitz, became more active. They had appeared on the scene in the twelfth century with Azalais de Porcairagues and the brilliant Comtessa de Dia. Now in the thirteenth century Castelloza made known the depth of her suffering, and a number of other women, all of the nobility, practiced verse. Often they wrote as a social amusement in the genres that use dialogue, thetensóand thepartimen,or in independent stanzas calledcoblas.Relatively few poems by women survive, but those that do offer voices and perspectives that cannot be...

  12. Winter (1250–1300)
    (pp. 195-240)

    The end of the thirteenth century saw the flourishing of dance songs, orbaladas,and the nearly total eclipse of the trobairitz, as far as we can tell with our imperfect knowledge of their chronology. The sole possible exception, which we have included here, is Bietris de Romans, about whom we know little. The period is dominated by two prolific court poets, Guiraut Riquier of Narbonne, who served King Alfonso X of Castile,el Sabio,in Toledo for almost a decade, and Cerverí de Girona, who served King Jaume (James) I of Aragon in Barcelona. An Italian poet, Guido Cavalcanti,...

  13. Aftermath (1300–1350)
    (pp. 241-260)

    In the fourteenth century the Old Occitan language shifted into Middle Occitan. Early in the century poets such as Rostanh Berenguier (Poem 118) wrote in the manner of the troubadours. A new group also emerged known as the School of Toulouse, whose poetry was mostly religious; definitely written, not oral; read, not sung; and transmitted in manuscripts distinct from the troubadourchansonniers.One of these new poets was Arnaut Vidal, perhaps a graduate in law, whose poem in praise of the Virgin won the first competition organized by theConsistori de la Gaia Sciensa(Poem 120). The most prolific member...

  14. SOURCES FOR THE TEXTS AND LIVES OF THE TROUBADOURS
    (pp. 261-267)
  15. MUSIC
    (pp. 268-268)
  16. WORKS CITED
    (pp. 269-272)
  17. SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER READING
    (pp. 273-274)
  18. INDEX OF FIRST LINES
    (pp. 275-276)
  19. INDEX OF AUTHORS
    (pp. 276-277)
  20. INDEX OF TERMS
    (pp. 277-278)
  21. Back Matter
    (pp. 279-279)