The Manuscript Context of the Middle Dutch Fabliaux
Besamusca, Bart (Utrecht University)
The Dynamics of the Medieval Manuscript:Text Collections from a European Perspective (2010)
In the 1999 volume of essays in honor of Per Nykrog, Keith Busby discussed five anthology manuscripts containing more than ten Old French fabliaux, focusing on what he called “the local dynamics of the codex.” By studying the manuscript context of these tales, Busby convincingly demonstrated the productivity of this new approach for the corpus of comic tales, which were highlighted by Nykrog in Les fabliaux (1957), an indisputable monument of fabliaux scholarship. Some years later, in what will most certainly prove a milestone in the field of medieval literary studies as well, Busby applied his point of view to Old French verse narratives. In this contribution I would like to pursue his line of reasoning by discussing the manuscript context of the Middle Dutch fabliaux. Regrettably, Netherlandists have studied the Dutch stories without paying much attention to their material transmission in codices, much like the great majority of Romanists analyzing French comic tales.