Remapping the Story: Franco-Italian Epic and Lombardia as a Narrative Community (1250-1441)
McCormick, Stephen Patrick, 1979-
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McCormick, Stephen Patrick, 1979-
My dissertation focuses on the thirteenth- and fourteenth-century Franco-Italian literary corpus. These texts, written in a hybrid French-Italianate language, include such works as the Entrée d'Espagne and, more famously, Marco Polo's Le devisement dou monde. Using postcolonial theory, I identify nationalist ideologies in modern scholarship that have marginalized the Franco-Italian tradition. This tradition exemplifies a medieval aesthetic of cultural and linguistic hybridity that defies modern constructs of national linguistic identity, border politics, and linguistic purity. My revisionist study argues the independent merit of medieval Lombard literature and replaces the national model with a mosaic of overlapping linguistic and cultural centers mapped according to their respective narrative communities. I use two Franco-Italian texts--a version of the Chanson de Roland and the Huon d'Auvergne --to explore how the borders of the modern printed book have distorted our interpretation of medieval Lombard works. The Chanson de Roland exists in ten French versions. Following nineteenth-century textual emendation praxis, most modern editions are based on Oxford Bodelian Digby 23. The Franco-Italian version of the Chanson de Roland (Biblioteca Marciana fr. IV [=225]), or Venice 4, has received little critical and editorial attention. I problematize the putative superiority of the Oxford manuscript and propose the theoretical apparatus necessary to reinterpret the Venice 4 text within its geo-social specificity, outside the textual borders of the modern printed literary classic. Finally, I explore how each Huon d'Auvergne manuscript can function as a performance artifact which, because of its irreproducibility, must be considered an original document, not merely a component within a hierarchy of textual transmission. I examine how Andrea da Barberino later creates an authoritative, politicized reading of the Huon d'Auvergne by removing it from its manuscript matrix and placing it within the textual boundaries of chapters and books. By de-stabilizing and de-centering notions of literary canon and linguistic purity, my study suggests new ways of interpreting not only minority medieval narrative traditions but also present-day hybrid language migrant narratives in both France and Italy.
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