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Much work still needs to be done on the composition and transmission of French-language poetry and verse in Outremer. There is a diverse body of extant Old French verse poetry and songs relating to the crusades, but precisely where these were written is not always easy to determine. Several songs can be linked to Outremer, but many more can be said to pertain to the experience of crusading more broadly defined. Therefore, an important question to consider is the role of French as a language of literary East-West communication - of personal letter-writing, recounting of military exploits, or complaints and critiques from the East. Additionally, some Old French crusade songs were written by crusaders upon their return from the Holy Land, making much of this literature an exercise in memory.
A large portion of these songs have already been transcribed, edited, and assessed for their musical and literary values elsewhere. This site will therefore present texts which offer insight into the role of French as a language of literary communication, in addition to those definitively composed and circulated in Outremer. A selection of relevant authors can be found below in the list of “Poets Writing in or about Outremer.” But those texts whose authors remain anonymous (including the critical Manuscrit du Roi) are listed under “Anonymous Texts and Other Relevant Manuscripts”.