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Le Miroir historial de Jean de Noyal: Livre X : édition du ms. Paris, BnF, fr. 10138 avec introduction, notes et index
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of French, Italian and Classical Languages.
2005 (French)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

In the 1380s, Jean de Noyal, Abbot of the Benedictine monastery of Saint Vincent in Laon between 1367 and 1396, authored his universal history, the Miroir Historial. The mirror, which described the history of the world from the creation until the year 1380, originally comprised 12 books, presumably organized into three volumes. However, only the three final books, X, XI and XII, have been preserved for posterity and are to be found in a sole manuscript: Paris, BnF, fr. 10138. Until today, only short excerpts of Jean de Noyal’s history have been published. In all cases, except one, these excerpts have been taken from books XI and XII. This thesis provides a critical edition of book X, the longest of the three, which comprises the initial 101 folio pages of the manuscript’s total 191. The edited text is preceded by an introduction, followed by a complete index verborum including all of the words found in the text, as well as a complete index nominum.

Book X describes the period from 1223 to 1328. Its contents cover the history of Western Europe and the north and eastern Mediterranean fairly well. Although France and its kings maintain a privileged position in the book, the Holy Roman Empire, the Holy See and the Iberian Peninsula are devoted considerable space. The geography of the Near East, the Muslim rulers and the Mongols are also described in brief. The mirror also has a local perspective – in part, Jean de Noyal provides a rather detailed account of Philip the Fair’s Flemish campaign, which took place not far from the place in which the history was authored and, in part the Abbot’s predecessors at Saint Vincent are presented, albeit laconically.

Like other universal histories of the same period, the Abbot’s mirror is a compilation. The original passages in book X are particularly few and quite brief. Apart from a few passages dealing with the history of Laon, the original material in the mirror is generally limited to explanatory sub-clauses. The remaining material is entirely comprised of borrowings from other French texts or of translations from Latin works. Eight sources have been used for book X. The work from which the largest amount of text has been borrowed is the Chronique amplifiée des rois de France by Guillaume de Nangis, and no less than three quarters of book X have been borrowed from this source. Other sources used are Martin of Troppau’s and Bernard Gui’s chronicles of popes and emperors and the Chronique normande du XIVe siècle. The remaining four sources are probably secondary and have quite likely been taken from another compilation, possibly Vincent of Beauvais’ Speculum historiale. The third chapter of the introduction includes a presentation of the eight sources for book X that it has been possible to identify. Finally, this work gives a tabular account of the book’s sources excerpt by excerpt.

Jean de Noyal’s narrative style is thematic rather than chronological – events are retold only partly in chronological order. Furthermore, the Abbot sometimes gives two or three different versions of the same event. The fact that these repetitions are, without doubt, a deliberate method of compilation is proven by the references inserted by the Abbot in these instances. This method provides the reader with several interpretations of the same event.

Linguistically, the mirror is very heterogeneous – the parts that have been borrowed from Guillaume de Nangis differ considerably from those taken from the Chronique normande. There are lexical differences and morphosyntactic differences – including the use of the two-case system, which is highly sporadic in the former but entirely consistent in the latter. The remaining parts of book X, which Jean de Noyal probably translated from Latin himself, form a third group, which, in turn, contrast with the parts borrowed from the two French sources.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för franska, italienska och klassiska språk , 2005. , 280 p.
Forskningsrapporter / Stockholms universitet, Institutionen för franska och italienska: cahiers de la recherche, ISSN 1654-1294 ; 27
Keyword [fr]
Jean de Noyal, Miroir historial, chronique universelle, moyen français, Saint-Vincent, compilation, édition critique, index verborum, index nominum
National Category
Specific Languages
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-670ISBN: 91-85059-12-9OAI: diva2:196889
Public defence
2005-10-14, hörsal 7, hus D, Universitetsvägen 10, Stockholm, 14:00
Available from: 2005-09-22 Created: 2005-09-22Bibliographically approved

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