Tuesday, August 31, 2010

New/Recent Scholarship: Olifant Vol. 25

Journal Olifant
Volume 25, Number 1 - 2 / 2006
Publisher Société Rencesvals
ISSN 0381-9132
Pages 19-484
Online Date Tuesday, January 13, 2009

All articles are available for purchase from MetaPress for $8.00/each.

Epopée et cinéma (pp. 83-96)
Norris J. Lacy (Penn State University)


This article discusses the crucial difficulty of defining epic in cinema and examines the divergence between the "grammar" of film and that of oral or written epics. A central section analyzes technical and other elements of Frank Cassenti's film La chanson de Roland (1978) and of Dani Kouyaté's film Këita: l'héritage du griot (1995, from Burkina Faso), while offering also a few remarks concerning El Cid (Anthony Mann, 1961). Noting that there have been surprisingly few cinematic adaptations of romance epics, the article reflects briefly on some of the reasons for this neglect.

[The article is in French]

Back to the Future: Star Trek and the Old French Epic (pp. 161-74)
Kimberlee Campbell (Harvard University)


Recent critics have commented that the science fiction serial Star Trek has evolved into a cyclical corpus of stories resembling traditional epic or saga. This study explores the parameters of that cyclicity in comparison with the chanson de geste. Although Star Trek borrows little content from the Middle Ages, poetic and narrative structures are markedly similar to the Old French epic. The author theorizes a generalized Western storytelling filiation, elaborated in response to similar collective need, through which past and future function equally to validate the present.

La "fuite du monde" dans la chanson de geste et le western (pp. 243-254)
Catherine M. Jones (University of Georgia)


The aging heroes of Old French epic often turn to the monastic life to atone for the slaughter of countless Christian and Saracen knights. In these moniage narratives, the initial withdrawal from chivalric pursuits is temporary, for the hero is soon called out of retirement for a final confrontation with the forces of evil. A similar fate befalls numerous cowboys of the silver screen as they grow older, wiser, and weary of battle. Although the Westerner does not embrace the religious life, he is often domesticated by a pious woman. He renounces violence to lead a life for which he is ill suited. Coming out of (real or virtual) retirement for a final showdown, he fulfills his final destiny.

Renaissance Carolingian: Tullia d'Aragona's Il Meschino, altramente detto il Guerrino (pp. 313-320)
John C. McLucas (Towson University)


Tullia d'Aragona's epic poem, Il Meschino, altramente detto il Guarino, is a poetic adaptation of Andrea da Barberino's prose Meschino. Tullia's word choices are similar, and even misreadings allow the modern reader to follow Andrea in Tullia's text. Differences other than verse for prose lie in its structure and tone: these follow conventions of her time, a century and one half after Andrea. Questions of her attitude toward women and male beauty contrast with Andrea's and derive from historical changes as well.

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