Raoul de Cambrai, the 12th century chanson de geste from the Cycle of the Rebellious Barons depicts a series of poor leadership decisions followed by a series of violent results. Using the Raoul de Cambrai in coordination with contemporary political writings Policraticus, and Magna Carta, I examine the intersections of the political and the literary during the Central Middle Ages. If Policraticus sought to define the responsibilities of both the body politic and its component parts whereas Magna Carta sought to define and limit the power of the King, I argue that the chansons de geste provide support for the codification of lordship. I examine how Raoul de Cambrai in particular might serve as exemplum of good versus poor lordship, and by extension, vassalage. Finally, I define the nature of the conversation between the above works and its relevance to the historical realities of the period.
University of Minnesota M.A. thesis. December 2015. Major: French. Advisor: Mary Franklin-Brown. 1 computer file (PDF); i, 88 pages.
Of Kings and Tyrants: Questions of Rule, Governance, and Autonomy in Raoul de Cambrai, Policraticus, and Magna Carta.
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