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Title:"Le Cort Mantel" and "Mottuls Saga": A literary comparison
Author(s):Friesen, Marilyn Joan Ardis
Department / Program:Comparative and World Literature
Discipline:Comparative and World Literature
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Comparative
Abstract:This dissertation is a literary comparison of the Old French Le cort mantel, also entitled Le mantel mautaillie, and Mottuls saga, an adaptation into Old Norse made by an unknown writer working for King Hakon (1217-1263).
Chapter I is a literary analysis of Le cort mantel from the perspective of the various types of irony employed in this poem. The nature and direction of the criticism raised by this irony are then explored. In Chapter II a literary analysis is made of Mottuls saga to show that the literary effect and message of the original have been changed. Whereas Le cort mantel exploits the ironic, the Old Norse version enhances the comic nature of the material. The subsequent chapters treat characterization, setting and atmosphere, and narrative stance in the two works.
The ironic mode in the Old French work was used to criticize a faineant Arthurian court. The court was shown to be gluttonous, materialistic and hypocritical. According to courtly values such as honour, a proper sense of shame and prowess in the pursuit of adventure, the court was shown to be lacking. According to Christian values the court demonstrated many sins and followed the mediocre morality promoted by Kay.
The Old Norse adapter's duty, given by King Hakon, was to amuse. He thus was at pains to create his own intertextuality, to be conciliatory and helpful. Characters were made more dramatic and attractive as individuals. The Old French work, on the other hand, was able to work with stock characters because of the tradition. The setting, especially those descriptive details of feasts, clothing and gift-giving episodes, was expanded in the Old Norse. The atmosphere was made festive and fashionable; a party, game-like, atmosphere prevailed. The narrative stance was also altered. While the Old French narrator intruded to thwart the audience's expectations and to distinguish his "true" story from his source, the Old Norse adapter downplayed the critical message and intruded instead to offer explanations of foreign terms as well as psychological insights into characters.
Brother Robert who translated Tristrams saga has been suggested as the possible writer of Mottuls saga. Yet the writer of Mottuls saga is different in his narrative stance from the narrator in Tristrams saga. Either Brother Robert did not write Mottuls saga or he was clever and sophisticated enough to change his stance according to what he was adapting.
Issue Date:1983
Description:231 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1983.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8324552
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1983

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