Best known for their love-songs and invention of Courtly Love, the troubadours were also fascinated by debate. Like their contemporaries throughout the medieval world who sharpened their wit and intellect on scholastic disputations, the troubadours devised their entire, multifaceted lyric production on the basis of many forms of dialogue: intertextual debates, satirical challenges, self-questioning, mini-dramas. This debating process is nowhere more in evidence than in the troubadour tensos and partimens.
This three-volume critical edition makes available for the first time the massive corpus of 160 tensos and partimens involving real speakers. They supply a mine of new information on the medieval Occitan language, contemporary politics, courtly and judicial mores, and attitudes to gender, class, and ethnic stereotypes, often presenting a picture of courtly life, love and sexual relations very different from that of the better-known love-lyric.
The edition meets the highest standards of scholarly rigour: the notes and critical apparatus are as minimal as scholarly probity allows but always helpful and well-argued, taking due account of previous scholarship, and the translations clear, accurate and elegant. A cumulative index, bibliography and glossary aid access to these volumes which fill one of the last major gaps in our knowledge of medieval Occitan literature.
RUTH HARVEY is Professor of medieval Occitan literature at Royal Holloway, University of London; LINDA PATERSON is Professor Emerita of French at the University of Warwick. They were assisted by Anna Radaelli.
Ruth Harvey is Senior Lecturer in French at Royal Holloway University of London