28th Annual Conference of the Center for Medieval Studies
Fordham University, Lincoln Center, New York City: March 29-30, 2008
Cristian Bratu, Remembering the Crusades, Remembering the Self
This tendency is already manifest in one of the first prose chronicles in Old French, Villhardouin’s Conquest of Constantinople. Written in the early 13th century, The Conquest narrates the story of the Fourth Crusade, as wellas Villehardouin’s deeds during the sack of Constantinople. It is also the case with Philippe de Novare’s chronicle of the war between the Cyprus-based Frankish dynasty of the Ibelins against the emperor Frederick II of Germany — a chronicle which also records Novare’s own life. And finally, Joinville initially presents his Life of Saint Louis as a biography of Louis IX, but then shifts the focus onto himself, creating a text that seems much more like a memoir.
These historical texts can therefore be considered chronicles and memoirs. Furthermore, I argue that certain medieval chronicles — such as Joinville’s Life of Saint Louis — open the way for the emergence of the autobiographical genre in late medieval France. Thus, it is Joinville who inaugurates a long line of French mémorialistes and autobiographers, such as Philippe de Commynes, Olivier de la Marche and, later on, Saint-Simon and Rousseau.
Last modified: Dec 1, 2007
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