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In search of the lost French ‘Ur-Renart’

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More than a century was to pass from the composition of the oldest branches of the Roman de Renart down to the oldest surviving manuscripts. In that century the life of these branches - just as the life of lyric texts and short chansons de geste - was primarily oral. Therefore we find important and extensive variants in the manuscripts which would not be expected within exclusively written tradition and, what is more, reflections of oral variants which have not been handed down in the French collections of the Roman de Renart, but in the German and Dutch versions, Reinhart Fuchs and Van den vos Reynaerde. This study presents some relevant examples und puts them up for discussion. In the area of oral transmission convincing proofs can scarcely be provided. But some of the arguments supplied here would be hard to ignore.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 16, 2010

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