Publication Details

Jeanjean, H. A. 1998, 'Flamenca: a wake for a dying civilization', Parergon, vol. 16, no. 1, pp. 19-30.


Le Roman de Flamenca, a mutilated anonymous manuscript discovered by chance in Carcassonne in 1834 by Raynouard, (who gave it the name of its heroine) and first translated by M. P. Meyer in 1865, has become one of the most written about works in Occitan. Its graceful style has been noted and its psychology and realism have been commented upon by Nelli and Lavaud, who stress that this poem had a fundamental role in the development of French literature as the Occitan romances (jaufre and Flamenca) started the long tradition which lead to Marcel Proust via the Princesse de Cleves.

All comic fans are to be found in Flamenca-comedy of situation, play on words, understatements-and all critics who have studied Flnmenca from various perspectives agree that one of its special qualities is its humour. Whilst some of the comic elements may appear timeless, inasmuch as they pertain to a tradition which existed prior to the 13th century and continued until the present, we may wonder if some aspects of. this humour do not offer a reflection on the social and political upheaval occurring during that period. The combination of direct intervention by the author, and comic exaggeration, may well be the key to understanding the author's deep intentions which can only be fully understood if the socio·political framework within which the work was written is first taken into account.