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PREFACE

1. The impetus for the translation of the Latin histories probably came during the reign of Saint Louis, because the translation of the text was completed in the 1270s and the Latin recueil , one source for it, was completed in the first half of the thirteenth century. Further, a reference in the prologue that the translator undertook the work "at the command of a man whom he neither could nor should refuse" . . . (enprist il ceste ouvre à fere par le commandement de tel home que il ne pout ne ne dut refuser) has led some to postulate the direct patronage of Saint Louis. For this, see Gabrielle Spiegel, The Chronicle Tradition of Saint-Denis: A Survey (Brookline, Mass., and Leyden, 1978), 78-87. For further discussion of the text, see text pages 3-6. [BACK]

2. For studies dealing with vernacular historiography that give priority to Latin historiography, see Bernard Guenée, Histoire et culture historique dans l'occident médiéval (Paris, 1980); Spiegel, Chronicle Tradition ; and Jules Viard, ed., Les Grandes Chroniques de France , (Paris, 1920-53). [BACK]

3. For examples of the interest in new texts, see Guenée, Histoire et culture historique ; Bernard Guenée, ed., Le métier d'historien au Moyen-Âge: Étude sur l'historiographie médiéval (Paris, 1977); Jacques Krynen, Idéal du prince et pouvoir royal en France á la fin du Moyen-Âge (1380-1440): Étude de la littérature politique du temps (Paris, 1981); and Colette Beaune, Naissance de la nation France (Paris, 1985). [BACK]

4. Gabrielle Spiegel has studied the origins of vernacular historiography in a series of articles: "Genealogy: Form and Function in Medieval Historical Narrative," History and Theory 22 (1983): 43-53; idem, " Pseudo-Turpin , the Crisis of the Aristocracy and the Beginnings of Vernacular Historiography in France," Journal of Medieval History 12 (1986): 207-23; and idem, "Social Change and Literary Language: The Textualization of the Past in Thirteenth-Century Old French Historiography," Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies 17 (1987): 129-48. [BACK]

5. See Nicole Pons, "Latin et français au XV e siècle: Le témoignage des traités de propagande," Le moyen français. Actes du V e colloque international sur le moyen français, Milan, 6-8 mai 1985 (Milan, 1986), vol. 2, 67-81; and Serge Lusignan, Parler vulgairement: Les intellectuels et la langue française aux XIII e et XIV e siècles (Montreal, 1987). [BACK]

6. This discussion of audiences is based upon Bernard Guénee, "Les Grandes Chroniques de France : Le roman aux rois (1274-1518)," in La nation , vol. 1, pt. 2, Les lieux de mémoire , ed. Pierre Nora (Paris, 1986), 189-214; and idem, "Histoire d'un succès," in François Avril, Marie-Thérèse Gousset, and Bernard Guenée, Les Grandes Chroniques de France. Reproduction intégrale en facsimilé des miniatures de Fouquet. Manuscrit 6465 de la Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris (Paris, 1987), 83-138. [BACK]

7. Two surviving manuscripts from the abbey of Saint-Denis contain the Latin texts later translated in the Grandes Chroniques de France . These books from the early (Vat. Reg. 550) and mid-thirteenth centuries (B.N. lat. 5925) are illustrated only by initials. For further discussion of them, see the Introduction of this book. break

In a section of his book devoted to "aids to readers," Guenée attempts to describe in general terms the role of pictures in manuscripts. Although his discussion remains broad, he is one of the few historians to suggest that illustrations of historical accounts may contribute to an understanding of their text. See Guenée, Histoire et culture historique , 237-41. [BACK]

8. In contrast, most other vernacular histories seem to have been illustrated with limited pictorial cycles. Thus the earliest surviving manuscript of the chronicle of the Anonymous of Chantilly (Vat. Reg. 624) is unillustrated; only the late fifteenth-century version (Musée Condé, Ms. 869) has a pictorial cycle. Further, although the Johannes translation of the Pseudo-Turpin chronicle was illustrated from the mid-thirteenth century with one to three historiated initials, the most densely illuminated copies of the text are a pair dating from the early fourteenth and mid-fifteenth centuries and illustrated by 15 miniatures. See Ronald Walpole, ed., The Old French Johannes Translation of the Pseudo-Turpin Chronicle: A Critical Edition (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1976); and Rita Lejeune and Jacques Stiennon, La légende de Roland dans l'art du Moyen-Âge (Brussels, 1969), 1:270-75, 2: plates 265-79, XXXVII. The only complete surviving manuscript (B.N. n. a. fr. 6295) of the Anonymous of Béthune is a late thirteenth-century book illustrated by a series of historiated initials. [BACK]

9. Although Paulin Paris, Jules Viard, and Roland Delachenal note variants in their editions of the Grandes Chroniques , they give priority to royal copies of the manuscript. Viard and Delachenal use as their base manuscripts the first Grandes Chroniques (Ste.-Gen. 782) for text through the life of Saint Louis and Charles V's book (B.N. fr. 2813) for the life of Louis VIII and for the lives of Philip III to the beginning of Charles VI. Because Charles V's manuscript ends abruptly in 1379, the edition was completed by a transcription from B.N. fr. 17270.

Their selection of texts presents a somewhat lopsided view of what constitutes a typical copy of the Grandes Chroniques . For instance, priority is given to the translation of Louis IX's life added in the fourteenth century to the first Grandes Chroniques (Ste.-Gen. 782) although an earlier translation of Guillaume de Nangis's Gesta Ludovici IX existed in John the Good's manuscript (B.L. Royal 16 G VI), and a different translation taken from Guillaume de Nangis's amplified chronicle (of c. 1316-18) appears in a series of manuscripts made by Parisian libraires (B.N. fr. 10132; Castres, B.M.; Grenoble, 407 Rés.). Of these earlier translations, the version in John's manuscript is published in an appendix to Viard's edition in which footnotes describe different readings from B.N. fr. 10132. In addition, the life of Charles V recorded in Delachenal's edition corresponds to that in Charles V's manuscript (B.N. fr. 2813), which differs significantly from that in virtually every other manuscript containing the text (here Delachenal gives variant readings in his footnotes). For editions of the Grandes Chroniques de France , see Paulin Paris, ed., Les Grandes Chroniques de France (Paris, 1836-38); Viard, ed., Grandes Chroniques ; and Roland Delachenal, ed., Les Grandes Chroniques de France: Chroniques des règnes de Jean II et de Charles V (Paris, 1910-20). For dates of the versions of Saint Louis's life, see Viard, ed., Grandes Chroniques , 7:xvii, vol. 10; and Léopold Delisle, "Mémoire sur les ouvrages de Guillaume de Nangis," in Mémoires de l'Académie des inscriptions et belles-lettres 27, pt. 2 (1873): 353. [BACK]


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