In the British Museum contains eighteen chansons of the cycle.
The cycle of twenty or more chansons which form the geste of Guillaume reposes on the traditions of the Arab invasions of the south of France, from the battle of Poitiers (732) under Charles Martel onwards, and on the French conquest of Catalonia from the Saracens.
1170) in Foucon de Candie (Candie = Gandia in Spain ?) is the return of Guillaume from the battle; and the Italian compilation I Nerbonesi, based on these and other chansons, seems in some cases to represent an earlier tradition than the later of the French chansons, although its author Andrea di Barberino wrote towards the end of the 14th century.
The chansons de geste of the cycle of Guillaume are: Enfances Garin de Monglane (15th century) and Garin de Monglane (13th century), on which is founded the prose romance of Guerin de Monglane, printed in the 15th century by Jehan Trepperel and often later; Girars de Viane (13th century, by Bertrand de Barsur-Aube), ed.
The conclusions arrived at by earlier writers are combated by Joseph Bedier in the first volume, "Le Cycle de Guillaume d'Orange" (1908), of his Legendes epiques, in which he constructs a theory that the cycle of Guillaume d'Orange grew up round the various shrines on the pilgrim route to Saint Gilles of Provence and Saint James of Compostella - that the chansons de geste were, in fact, the product of 11th and 12th century trouveres, exploiting local ecclesiastical traditions, and were not developed from earlier poems dating back perhaps to the lifetime of Guillaume of Toulouse, the saint of Gellone.
In the earlier chansons de geste he is invariably a majestic figure and represents within limitations the grandeur of the historic Charles.
Historical tradition was already dim when the hypothetical and much discussed cantilenae, which may be taken to have formed the repository of the national legends from the 8th to the 10th century, were succeeded in the 11th and the early 12th centuries by the chansons de geste.
The account in the Chanson de Roland of the trial of Ganelon after the battle of Roncesvalles must have been adopted almost intact from earlier poets, and provides a striking example of the value of the chansons de geste to the historian of manners and customs.
Flach, Le Compagnonnage dans les chansons de geste (Paris, 1891).
Gradually most of the chansons de geste were attached to the name of Charlemagne, whose poetical history falls into three cycles: - the geste du roi, relating his wars and the personal history of himself and his family; the southern cycle, of which Guillaume de Toulouse is the central figure; and the feudal epic, dealing with the revolts of the barons against the emperor, the rebels being invariably connected by the trouveres with the family of Doon de Mayence.
But it chanced to find as its exponent a poet whose genius established a model for his successors, and definitely fixed the type of later heroic poems. The other early chansons to which reference is made in Roland - Aspremont, Enfances Ogier, Guiteclin, Balan, relating to Charlemagne's wars in Italy and Saxony - are not preserved in their original form, and only the first in an early recension.
At the beginning of the r4th century Girard of Amiens made a dull compilation known as Charlemagne from the chansons de gests, authentic history and the pseudoTurpin.
The French and Norman-French chansons circulated as freely in England as in France, and it was therefore not until the period of decadence that English versions were made.
New ed., 1878, 1892, 1880, 1882) and the supplementary Bibliographie des chansons de geste (1897).
The third volume of the Epopees francaises contains an analysis and full particulars of the chansons de geste immediately connected with the history of Charlemagne.
For individual chansons see Anseis de Carthage, ed.
Fauriel was biased in this work by his preconceived and somewhat fanciful theory that Provence was the cradle of the chansons de geste and even of the Round Table romances; but he gave a great stimulus to the scientific study of Old French and Provencal.
Both were men of courage and activity, and the two men are often confused in the chansons de geste.
The Best Collection, More Particularly From The Musical Point Of View, Is Les Chansons Populaires Du Canada, Started By Ernest Gagnon (1St Ed.
Of a few chansons de geste.
Although the diffusion of epic poetry in England did not actually inspire any new chansons de geste, it developed the taste for this class of literature, and the epic style in which the tales of Horn, of Bovon de Hampton, of Guy of Warwick (still unpublished), of Waldef (still unpublished), and of Fulk Fitz Warine are treated, is certainly partly due to this circumstance.
The proofs of this which Schultz and Gautier adduce from the Chansons de Geste might be multiplied indefinitely.
It has long been conceded that the great French national epics of the 11th and 12th centuries must have been founded on a great fund of popular poetry, and that many of the episodes of the chansons de geste refer to historical events anterior to the Carolingian period.
Flach gave them a solid basis by the wide range of his researches, utilizing charters and cartularies (published and unpublished), chronicles, lives of saints, and even those dangerous guides, the chansons de geste.
The most instructive, perhaps the only instructive, parallel is to be found in the French " chansons de geste," of which the Chanson de Roland is the earliest and best example.
It has been held that the chansons de geste were formed by joining together " bunches " of these earlier cantilenes, and this was the view taken by Leon Gautier in the first edition of Les Epopees frangaises (1865).
Mais on peut expliquer la formation des chansons de geste par une autre hypothese " (Meyer, Recherches sur l'epopee francaise, p. 65).
Noticed above between the Iliad and the Odyssey, and between Homer and the early Cyclic poems. And the peculiar degradation of Homeric characters which appears in some poets (especially Euripides) finds a parallel in the later chansons de geste.3 The comparison of Homer with the great literary epics calls for more discursive treatment than would be in place here.
C. 800), archbishop of Reims, was for many years regarded as the author of the legendary Historia de vita Caroli Magni et Rolandi, and appears as one of the twelve peers in a number of the chansons de geste.
- Godfrey was the principal hero of two French chansons de geste dealing with the Crusade, the Chansond'Antioche (ed.