Dutch Romances II

Dutch Romances II


Edited by David F. Johnson, Geert H.M. Claassens

First English translation of the Dutch version of the Old French Fergus, with accompanying text.
Some time in the first quarter of the thirteenth century, Guillaume le clerc composed the story of Fergus, the homo silvaticus who develops into a formidable knight; he was playing a literary game with Chrétien de Troyes, especially with his Conte du Graal, and he created a romance in which the main character features as a "new" Perceval in a realistically depicted Scottish landscape. Shortly thereafter, perhaps as early as 1250, the story was translated into Middle Dutch. The Ferguut, however, is an adaptation of the Old French Fergus, rather than a slavish translation: although the translator followed his Old French original fairly faithfully for the first part, thereafter the poet - and most likely a second author - continued his work from memory, and clearly without the Old French version to hand. The result is a romance which possesses all the appeal of the Old French Fergus, but at the same time reveals something of the Middle Dutch romancer's tastes and techniques.
This volume offers the first ever English translation, facing a new edition of the text, and will thus bring this important work to a wider audience; it is accompanied by an introduction, variants and rejected readings, and critical notes.

David F. Johnson is Professor of English, Florida State University; Geert H.M. Claassens is Professor of Middle Dutch Literature at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

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