Date of this Version
Studies in Philology 55:1 (Jan 1958), pp. 7-23
That Le Roman de Flamenca is ultimately concerned with the history of heterodox culture in Provence during the thirteenth century has been both affirmed and denied by competent Provencal scholars. To complicate matters, the earliest work to suggest relationships between history and this romance, a study by Paul Grimm, attempted to show that the final tournament has to do with ambiguous events which took place between 1196 and 1200.2 If the Provencal past has a bearing on Flamenca, it is important that we should understand just what aspects of that epoch the poem treats and from what point of view. This paper endeavors first to suggest possible meanings which the medieval reader might see in the conventions of the fable; then it applies these meanings to history, giving new evidence concerning the identities of some of the poem's important characters. These are persons who were for the most part active in the Albigensian controversies. It is perhaps in the area where historical occurrences and literary conventions illuminate one another that the action of Le Roman de Flamenca is best understood.