Matthew Leigh Embleton

Musician, Composer, Producer, Language and History Enthusiast, and Author

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Bisclavret - Marie de France: Old French Text, Translation, and Word List

This 12th century poem tells the story of a nobleman with a dark secret; he disappears for days at a time, for he is a werewolf. Bisclavret is a poetic tale of love, betrayal, the supernatural, and courtly romance. Marie de France (fl 1160 to 1215) was a poet born in France who lived in England during the late 12th century. She was well known at the Plantagenet royal court of King Henry II of England and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and she is believed to have been an abbess of a monastery. Her poems or 'Lais' are believed to have been written sometime between 1160 and 1175 drawing upon Breton and Arthurian myths and legends. They are written in a form of Old French known as 'Anglo-Norman', which came from 'Old Norman', part of the 'Langues d'oïl' dialect continuum of Gallo-Romance languages. Old French is the result of a gradual separation from Vulgar Latin and Common Romance, coming into contact with influences from Gaulish (Continental Celtic), and Frankish (Germanic). The Lais were later translated into Old Norse for a collection known as 'Strengleikar' commissioned by King Haakon IV of Norway. This edition is laid out in three columns, the original text, a literal word-for-word translation, and a modern translation. Also included is a word list with over 1,000 definitions.

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