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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / Volume VI: The impact of the Crusades on Europe

III: The epic cycle of the Crusades,   pp. 98-115 PDF (23.6 MB)

Page 98

 he Epic Cycle of the Crusades" is the name commonly given to two different
cycles, composed in different centuries but related in subject matter, and
both written in Old French dodecasyllabic verse. The first was apparently
begun toward the end of the twelfth century by a versifier named Graindor
of Douai, who rewrote and amalgamated three previously independent poems,
La Chanson dMntioche, Les Chétifs (the Captives), and La Con quête
de Jerusalem, which dealt with the First Crusade. Graindor's compilation
was later prefaced with an account of the fictitious youthful exploits of
Godfrey of Bouillon and the story of his mythical grandfather, the swan-knight;
at a later date (the middle of the thirteenth century) a sequel was added
which carried the narrative from the end of the First Crusade down to the
emergence of Saladin. The second cycle, composed, or at least begun, during
the 1350's, comprises three separate poems, Le Chevalier au Cygne et Godefroid
de Bouillon, Baudouin de Sebourc, and Le Batard de Bouillon. 
 The construction of an epic cycle over the years by different authors, usually
belonging to different generations, but sometimes known to each other, conforms
to a paradigm of which the best-known examples 
 Editions: Cycle I: La Chanson du Chevalier au Cygne et de Godefroid de Bouillon,
ed. Celestin Hippeau (2 vols., Paris, 1874—1877); La Chanson d~4ntioche,
ed. Paulin Paris (2 vols., Paris, 1848); La Conquête de Jerusalem,
ed. Hippeau (Paris, 1868). Cycle II: La Chevalier au Cygne et Godefroi de
Bouillon, ed. Frédéric de Reiffenberg and Adolphe Borgnet (4
vols., Brussels, 1844-1859); Bauduin de Sebourc, ed. L. Napoleon Boca (2
vols., Valenciennes, 1841); La Bâtardde Bouillon, ed. Robert Cook (Geneva
and Paris, 1972); Saladin: Suite etfin du deuxième cycle de Ia croisade,
ed. Larry S. Crist (Geneva and Paris, 1972). 
 General studies: Henri Pigeonneau, La Cycle de la croisade et lafamille
de Bouillon (SaintCloud, 1877); Anouar Hatem, Las Poèmes épiques
des croisades (Paris, 1932); Suzanne DuparcQuioc, La Cycle de Ia croisade
(Paris, 1955) (reviewed in La Moyen-Age by Claude Cahen and Robert Bossuat,
LXIII, 311—328, LXIV, 139—147); Cook and Crist, LaDeuxième
cycle de Ia croisade: Deux etudes sur son développement (Geneva, 1972).

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