About Flamenca

Le Roman de Flamenca holds a unique position in Provençal literature. "Flamenca est la création d'un homme d'esprit qui a voulu faire une oeuvre agréable où fût représentée dans ce qu'elle avait de plus brillant la vie des cours au XII siècle. C'était un roman de moeurs contemporaines" 1 Flamenca is the creation of a man of talent who wished to write an agreeable work representing the most brilliant aspects of courtly life in the twelfth century. It is a novel of manners"] 2. Apart from a very intriguing fable of beautiful Flamenca imprisoned in a tower by her jealous husband, this story presents a very interesting linguistic document consisting of 8095 lines of the "universally acknowledged masterpiece of Old Occitan narrative"3. Multiple styles, such as internal monologues, dialogues and narratives, provide a rich lexical, morphological and syntactic database of a language spoken in southern France.

Both the author and title of the original manuscript now known as Flamenca, The Romance of Flamenca, or in French Le Roman de Flamenca remain unknown. Some scholars speculate that the Sir Bernardet mentioned in the text is also the name of the author but this is not universally accepted (Blodgett, 1995 xi). It is commonly agreed upon that the text was written sometime in the 13th century and whoever the author is, he was probably someone of “clerical status and in some way connected to the court of Alga, a castle belonging to the Roquefeuille family” (Blodgett, 1995 xii). As for the title, the author does not use the word roman ‘novel’ to introduce his story but instead uses novas ‘news’ (Blodgett, 1995 xx). Some argue that novas should be considered a genre of its own. The style of Famenca and other Provencal novas is unique, moving between lyric, narrative and continuous reference to the didactic. The Romance of Flamenca presumably refers to the character, William’s love for Flamenca (Blodgett, 1995 xx-xxi). Literary analyses of the text often center around fin'amors , a term used to refer to the medieval literary concept of courtly love and chivalry but Flamenca is also much more than this.

The unique manuscript of Flamenca is preserved in the Bibliothèque Municipale de Carcassonne (France). The first full edition and translation of the manuscript was offered by Paul Meyer in 1865. It has been further edited, translated and commented multiple times. Below is the list of selected editions and translations:

Editions and Translations

  1. Barlaam et Josaphat. Bibliothèque Européenne. Bruges: Desclé de Brouwer, 1960.
  2. Bégou, Georges, trans. Le roman de Flamenca. Paris: Jean Picollec, 1990.
  3. Blodgett, E.D, trans. The Romance of Flamenca. New York: Garland, 1995.
  4. Bradley, W.A., trans. The story of Flamenca. New York: Harcourt Brace, 1922.
  5. Gschwind, Ulrich, ed. Le Roman de Flamenca. Nouvelle occitane du 13e siècle. 2vols. Berne: Francke, 1976.
  6. Hubert, Merton J. and Marion E. Porter, ed. and trans. The Romance of Flamenca. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1962.
  7. Huchet, Jean-Charles, ed. and trans. Flamenca. Roman occitan du xiii siècle. Paris: Union Générale d'Editions, 1988.
  8. Lavaud, René and René Neilli, ed. and trans. Les Troubadours. Jaufre. Flamenca.
  9. Kirsch, Fritz Peter En traduisant "Flamenca", in: Mélanges de langue et de littérature occitane en hommage à Pierre Bec par ses amis, ses collègues, ses élèves, Poitiers 1991, 249 - 258.
  10. Lewent, Kurt, ed. Bruchstücke des provenzalischen Versromans Flamenca. Sammlung romanischer Ubungstexte. Band VIII. Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1926.
  11. Limentani, Alberto, ed. Las Novas Guillem de Nivers ("Flamenca"). Vulgares Eloquentes. Vol.I. Padoue: Antenore, 1965.
  12. Manetti, Roberta, ed. and trans. Flamenca: romanzo occitano del XIII secolo. Mucchi Editore, 2008.
  13. Meyer, Paul, ed. Le Roman de Flamenca. Paris: A. Franck; Béziers: Delpech, 1865.
  14. Meyer, Paul, ed. Le Roman de Flamenca. 2nd ed. Vol.I. Paris: Emile Bouillon, 1901.
  15. Prescott, H.F.M. Flamenca. Translated from the Thirteenth-Century Provençal of Bernadet the Troubadour. London: Constable, 1930.
  16. Ricketts, Peter T. et al. Concordance de l'Occitan Médiéval 2 [Les Troubadours, Les Textes Narratifs en vers]. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols Publishers, 2005.
  17. Ryan, John Leopard, ed. The Romance of Flamenca. Diss. U of New Mexico, 1974.
  18. Zufferey, François (éditeur) et Valérie Fasseur (traducteur). Flamenca: Edition bilingue langue d'oc-français. Lettres Gothiques Française, 2014. (Livre de Poche)


1. Meyer, Paul. 1865. Le Roman de Flamenca. Paris: A. Franck; Béziers: Delpech.

2. Bradley, W.A 1922. The story of Flamenca. New York: Harcourt Brace.

3. Fleischmann, Suzanne. 1995. The non-lyric texts. In F.R.P. Akehurst and Judith M. Davis, editors, A Handbook of the Troubadours, 176–184. University of California Press.

4. Meyer, Paul, ed. Le Roman de Flamenca. 2nd ed. Vol.I. Paris: Emile Bouillon, 1901.

5. http://www.sfb632.uni-potsdam.de/annis/

6. We would like to thank Professor France Martineau for permission to use the MCVF corpus as a training model for our tagger and parser. (France Martineau. 2010. Corpus MCVF, modé́liser le changement: les voies du français)