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Aucassin and Nicolette.

Aucassin and Nicolette. by Francis William Bourdillon
By: (1844-1912)

Aucassin and Nicolette is a medieval romance written in a combination of prose and verse called a “song-story.” Created probably in the early 13th century by an unknown French author, the work deals with the love between the son of a count and a Saracen slave girl who has been converted to Christianity and adopted by a viscount. Since Aucassin’s father is strongly opposed to their marriage, the two lovers must endure imprisonment, flight, separation in foreign lands, and many other ordeals before their ardent love and fierce determination finally bring them back together. Aucassin is the very model of an intrepid knight, totally devoted to his love; and Nicolette is daring and ingenious in her staunch perseverance against all odds. This translation, completed in 1887, is by Scottish poet, novelist, critic, and collector of folk tales Andrew Lang (1844-1912). (Introduction by Leonard Wilson)

First Page:

AUCASSIN AND NICOLETE

Dedicated to the Hon. James Russell Lowell.

INTRODUCTION

There is nothing in artistic poetry quite akin to "Aucassin and Nicolete."

By a rare piece of good fortune the one manuscript of the Song Story has escaped those waves of time, which have wrecked the bark of Menander, and left of Sappho but a few floating fragments. The very form of the tale is peculiar; we have nothing else from the twelfth or thirteenth century in the alternate prose and verse of the cante fable . {1} We have fabliaux in verse, and prose Arthurian romances. We have Chansons de Geste , heroic poems like "Roland," unrhymed assonant laisses , but we have not the alternations of prose with laisses in seven syllabled lines. It cannot be certainly known whether the form of "Aucassin and Nicolete" was a familiar form used by many jogleors , or wandering minstrels and story tellers such as Nicolete, in the tale, feigned herself to be, or whether this is a solitary experiment by "the old captive" its author, a contemporary, as M... Continue reading book >>


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