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Chanson d'Aspremont









 
Chanson d'Aspremont

 
Summary

Surviving in six manuscripts and numerous fragments, the Chanson d'Aspremont narrates an expedition of Charlemagne across the Alps to retake Calabria from its recent saracen invaders, lead by the African king Agolant. Roland, whom Charlemagne left behind on account of his age, slips away from Frame and catches up with Charlemagne's army just in time at Aspramonte, where the armies of Charlemagne and Agolant meet, Roland defeats the saracen Helmon, earning his uncle's forgiveness for disobeying his order to remain behind. Although the author of the text remains unknown, it was likely composed in Sicily in the late twelfth century, perhaps to entertain the troops waiting there for their departure on the third crusade. Indeed the chronicler Ambroise in his L'estoire de la guerre sainte makes several references to the Aspremont, noting the certain geographical locations in relation to certain events in the Aspremont text. The Aspremont's popularity continued into the late medieval period, when the Italian writer Andrea da Barberino reworked the text for his Florentine audiences into Italian.

The Franco-Italian version is sometimes called Aspramonte.

Representative MSS

Chantilly, Musée Condé, 470
Florence, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Magl.c.Vii, 932
Paris, Bibliothèque  Nationale, Fr, 1598
Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciano Francese Z. 4
Venice, Biblioteca Nazionale Marciano Francese Z. 6

Fragments:
Trento, Biblioteca di San Bernardino, Arch. 320 Venezia, Bibl. Nazionale Marciana, Lat.cl.X, 200

Editions

Michael A. Newth, trans., The Song of Aspremont [La Chanson d'Aspremont] (New York: Garland, 1989) 

Francois Suard, ed. & trans., Aspremont: chanson de geste du XIIe siècle (Paris: Champion, 2008)

 













Secondary Literature

Boni, Marco. “I rifacimenti franco-italiani della Chanson d'Aspremont conservati nella biblioteca Marciana.” Cultura Neolatina 21 (1961), 123-34.
Mandach, André de. “À la découvert d’un nouvel Aspremont de la Bibliothèque des Gonzague de Mantoue.” Cultura Neolatina 21 (1961), 116-22.
                        , ed. Naissance et development de la chanson de geste en Europe, vol. 3, Chanson d’Aspremont A : Les cours d’Agoland et de Charlemagne. Manuscrit Venise VI et textes anglo-normands inédits British Additional 35289 et Cheltenham 26119, Geneva: Droz, 1975.
                        . Naissance et development de la chanson de geste en Europe, vol. 4, Chanson d’Aspremont A : Les cours d’Agoland et de Charlemagne. Manuscrit Venise VI et textes anglo-normands inédits British Additional 35289 et Cheltenham 26119, B/C La guerre contre Agoland.Geneva: Droz, 1980.
Infurna, Marco. “Un nuovo frammento franco-italiano della Chanson d'Aspremont.” Medioevo romanzo, 26 (2002), 69-81. 
Monfrin, Jacques. “Fragments de la chanson d'Aspremont conservés en Italie.” In Etudes de philologie romane, 353-399. Genève: Droz, 2001. 
Pizzi, Elena “Una versioneinedited della ‘Chanson d’Aspremont,’: il manoscritto franco-italiano del Museé Condé di Chantilly.” Quaderni di Filologia Romanza 9 (1992): 9-26.

See also Arlima.
See also RIALFRI

A larger collaborative web project is underway to produce a digital edition of the French corpus of the Aspremont, which includes a number of the manuscripts mentioned here.

 

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