Tant home ont de Renart fable, mes j'en dirai la verite: The role of repetition in the Old French "Roman de Renart"
The Roman de Renart, probably composed between 1174 and 1205, has been rewritten many times in many different languages over the centuries. The Renart itself is made up of sixteen poems or 'branches' written by different anonymous authors. These branches recycle material from earlier texts and the stories within the Renart repeat each other. In my dissertation I examine the whole of the Renart as a repetition of earlier texts and stories within the Renart as repetitions of one another. I also survey briefly the imitations of the Renart appearing for centuries throughout Western Europe. I find that each time a story is retold, the author appropriates and manipulates it for his own purposes making it new and original In this dissertation, I study the material process of repetition and appropriation in the Renart and its imitations in order to show that the same material is recycled for very different literary purposes. This is accomplished by examining the Latin sources of the Renart stories and the activity of rewriting in the fourteen manuscripts of the Renart. More important, I also show how the narratives in the French branches borrow and appropriate material from each other in order to demonstrate that the authors of the foreign imitations are engaged in the same appropriative processes as the authors of the French branches. I argue that what Jean Scheidegger calls muance is present not only in the copying of the fourteen manuscripts of the Renart (as Scheidegger argues), but also in the recycled stories in the French branches and their foreign imitations. By the end of my dissertation, I Hope to show that the foreign imitations of Renart material should be considered no differently from the 'original' French branches of this work