The Chanc?un de Willame, a study of theme and style

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Patricia E. Pardue (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
James Atkinson

Abstract: Since its relatively recent discovery, the Old French Chançun de Wlllame has presented a number of problems to scholars of the chanson de geste. The composite nature of its manuscript, the unusual inconsistency of its tone, and many contradictions within its narrative have made the Willame an enigmatic and paradoxical example of the medieval epic In this study, however, we have set aside consideration of these irregularities and, by means of a close reading of the text and by study of previous Willame scholarship, we have looked beyond the surface features of the poem in order to determine if there may exist a guiding theme behind the facade of battle narrative. After presenting the details of its manuscript tradition, we have examined the Willame in depth by means of a close analysis of the battle of Archamp, using for this examination a number of the formulae of battle narrative. The theme which has emerged is that of a character study of the heroes and the non-heroes who are involved in the battle of Archamp, directly or indirectly. We have next studied a number of the narrative procedures employed by the poet, with a concentration upon the motifs used to present and develop the characters. This portion of the study has revealed a consistent realistic approach by the poet and a focus upon the psychological aspects of epic warfare.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1971
Guillaume (Chanson de geste)
Guillaume d'Orange (Chansons de geste)
Heroes in literature
Poetry, Medieval
French poetry $y To 1500

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