Thursday, 1 December 2011

An ad for The Pilgrim of Lurve

In amongst a few nuggets uncovered in a trawl of online newspaper archives: several advertisements for John Graham's epic poem, Geoffrey Rudel; or, the Pilgrim of Love (see my previous entry). This one appeared in The Morning Post, Tuesday, May 10, 1836. Another ad in the same paper a month of so later features the endorsement: 'He has exhibited a mastery over the Spenserian stanza'. Which is nice.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Dugué's Rudel opus: Chapter 1

Having done a bit of digging on Ferdinand Dugué, the illustre inconnu of 19th-century French literature, I took it upon myself to translate a bit of his two-volume novel, Geoffroy Rudel (see my previous post). It's heavy on the florid sighing and, as one might expect from a dramatist, stuffed with monologues. But not without interest.

'Chapter 1: Le premier mai' in parallel French / English text is available as a PDF.

Don't mention it.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Concerning Tripoli (no, the other one...)

There are two cities called Tripoli; the Rudel legend is concerned with the less famous of the two. This Tripoli is now the largest city in northern Lebanon. I recently came across a website with plenty of information on its history and images of its architecture, including some examples from the Crusades era.

The site also has a section on Jaufré Rudel and the treatment of the legend by the Lebanese/French writer Amin Maalouf in his libretto for the opera L'Amour de Loin (mentioned in an earlier post). Included is the complete text of the libretto.

The photograph (from Wikimedia Commons, taken by 'Heretiq') shows
a view of the Citadel from the Nahr Abu Ali river.

Monday, 3 October 2011

Ferdinand who??

A two-volume novel, Geoffroy Rudel, published in 1837, announced the arrival on the French literary scene of Ferdinand Dugué, who became best known as a dramatist (William Shakespeare and Le juif de Venise being his most famous plays).

Well, 'famous' is a relative term. Wikipedia has nothing about Dugué; no survey of 19th-century French literature I've come across even mentions him. And yet, judging by a rather fawning article in La Presse in 1913 (when Dugué had just turned 99!), he could be described as 'the doyen of our playwrights ... and probably of all the playwrights in the world' without, one assumes, prompting guffaws from the reader.

An advert in the same paper, back in 1838, described Geoffroy Rudel as '
a book that everyone can read and everyone can love'. It goes on:
Readers ... will find charming characters and poetry, and a tight plot leading through vivid and moving scenes to a dénouemement of great originality.
How greatly original? Geoffroy pulls through and marries the princess? Maybe I'll translate and upload a few choice passages in due course.

No mistaking the tradition Dugué writes in, though; when asked in 1913 which poets he most admired on the contemporary scene, he replied 'Jean Richepin most of all... then Edmond Rostand'.

Dugué's Geoffroy Rudel is now, inevitably, available online at the Internet Archive: Volume One and Volume Two.

The articles from La Presse (of which there are several more, and a few on La Princesse Lointaine, too) can be found at the Gallica digital library, a Bibliothèque nationale de France joint.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

I am but a singer of chawwnsawwwn

Now, here's an oddity for you. The French singer Alain Barriére, during a fairly brief spell in the limelight, wrote and recorded a song in the late 1960s entitled 'Princesse Lointaine'. It was the b-side of his single, 'Tout Peut Recommencer' (1968) and also appeared on an album that year. It's pretty clearly an hommage to Rostand and Rudel, with references to taking the cross and dying of love. Here are a few of the lyrics:

Princesse lointaine
Qu'ils sont longs les jours
Si tu files ta laine
Moi je me meurs d'amour

Chevaliers mes braves
Je m'en vais en voyage
Je m'en vais par les âges
Retrouver mes amours

Continuer la guerre
Point sera la dernière
Creusez vos cimetières
Je me rends à l'amour

There are a few songs by Barriére on youtube, but 'Princesse Lointaine' isn't one of them, sadly.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Lointaine in Translation

La Princesse Lointaine in English, anyone? An 1899 translation by Charles Renaud of Edmond Rostand's 1896 play about the Rudel legend is available at the Internet Archive.

It's in blank verse, which, if you ask me, is cheating.

Friday, 22 July 2011

The singer and the songs: new book on Jaufré

Books about Rudel come along even less frequently than conferences about him, but there's a new one just published.

Chansons pour un amour lointain: Jaufré Rudel, by Roy Rosenstein, Professor of Comparative Literature and English at The American University of Paris, features new translations - into modern French - of Rudel's surviving lyrics (by the poet Yves Leclair), with notes and commentary by Professor Rosenstein.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

A Rudel conference

Just over a week ago, Blaye hosted an academic conference on Jaufré Rudel - a rare occurrence, it's safe to say. I'm ashamed to say that I couldn't make it, but I hear it was a success. I hope none of the delegates fell mortally ill on the journey there and died in the arms of the, er... Mayoress?

Thanks to Roy Rosenstein for telling me about it.