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Transposition of Stanzas in Mediaeval Poetry, a Method of Analysis: Poems VII and X of Arnaut Daniel

Transposition of Stanzas in Mediaeval Poetry, a Method of Analysis: Poems VII and X of Arnaut Daniel

Shore, Lys Ann Taylor

Florilegium, Volume 2 (1980) 146-160

Abstract

Complicating the establishment of the text of many Old Provençal poems is the question of the stanza-order. Each different arrangement may constitute a distinctly different version of the poem, so that even after the text of the poem has been established, there still remains for the editor the problem of choosing an ordering of the edited text to print. Traditionally, the practice of editors of Old Provençal poetry has been to choose a “best” ordering by more or less subjective criteria, and to relegate mention of other versions to the critical notes.’*’ Until the present, however, there have been few grounds on which to base an objective judgement. First, since the survival or destruction of any manuscript is a random process, an editor cannot base his choice on the number of manuscripts in which a version of a poem survives. Also, the complex and confusing relationships of manuscripts containing Old Pro­vençal poems make the relative dating of different versions of a poem difficult and the identification of the original version virtually impos­ sible. Moreover, the possibility of author’s revisions cannot be dis­missed, and it can further be argued that all the versions of a poem, being of mediaeval origin, deserve consideration by mediaevalists. How­ever, it is seldom feasible to include in an edition all the versions of each poem in full.

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