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Creole MedievalismColonial France and Joseph Bédier's Middle Ages$
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Michelle R. Warren

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780816665259

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: August 2015

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816665259.001.0001

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Acreole Epic

Acreole Epic

(p.164) Chapter 5 Acreole Epic
Creole Medievalism

Michelle R. Warren

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter delves deeper into the analysis of Joseph Bédier’s Roland, as creole medievalism affects it most deeply as compared to his other works. The poem recounts the story of Charlemagne’s efforts to convert the “pagans” of Spain and to keep peace among his own men. It establishes numerous dichotomies between the “righteous Christians” and the “immoral Pagans”, and these portrayals of absolute difference inspired the nationalist appropriations for which the poem is famous. For Bédier, they ratified his commitments to a purified history of France. In his translation, Bédier bolsters the poem’s anti-Pagan judgments and minimizes ambiguity whenever possible. The Roland, however, also portrays the Pagans and the Christians as remarkably similar. The chapter argues that materials used by both Franks and Saracens reveal traces of disavowed histories of exchange and shared culture. This thematic dualism peaks directly to the dualistic nature of creole relations with France.

Keywords:   Joseph Bédier, Roland, creole medievalism, purified history, shared culture, thematic dualism, creole relations, France

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