Aucassin and Nicolette
translated by Francis William Bourdillon
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Aucassin and Nicolette is an anonymous medieval French chantefable, literally a “sung story,” a text that alternates between prose and verse sections —
the only one that is known, and which has survived in only one manuscript. It is a beautifully told chivalric love story that fascinatingly challenges classic gender roles,
with a heroine who is more active than the hero in her adventurous quest for a happy reunion between the grievously separated lovers.
Forget, at least on first reading, that Aucassin and Nicolette is considered to be a parody of various genres of medieval literature —
enjoy it as the one-of-its-kind gripping, touching, and often humorous literary gem that it also is. “One of the freshest and most delightful springtime flowers of literature,”
the Encyclopaedia Britannica’s Gateway to the Great Books has justly called it.
In addition to the foreword and the translation by Francis William Bourdillon, the Dunyazad Library edition also has the foreword by Andrew Lang, who published
his own translation the same year as Bourdillon, 1887.
All versions contain the same text, but on a device with a large enough screen the carefully typeset PDF version will give you the best reading experience.
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About the Author
Of the French author, who wrote Aucassin and Nicolette in the late 12th or early 13th century, nothing is known.
Francis William Bourdillon (1852–1921) was a British poet, novelist, scholar, tutor, and essayist.
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