Garin le Loherain Criticism - Essay

W. P. Ker (essay date 1896)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Ker, W. P. “The Old French Epic (Chansons de geste.)” In Epic and Romance: Essays on Medieval Literature, pp. 287-320. London: Macmillan, 1922.

[In the following excerpt, originally published in 1896, Ker compares Garin le Loherain with the French epic Raoul de Cambrai, assesses its notable “Death of Begon” episode, and observes that the work bears affinities to Icelandic saga in its concentration on character and lack of strong political, religious, or romantic motivation.]

Garin le Loherain is a story with a [a plot similar to that of Raoul de Cambrai] …—the estrangement and enmity of old friends, “sworn...

(The entire section is 3337 words.)

Mildred K. Pope (essay date January 1914)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Pope, Mildred K. “Four Chansons de geste: A Study in Old French Epic Versification.” Modern Language Review 9, no. 1 (January 1914): 41-52.

[In the following excerpt, Pope argues that Garin le Loherain represents a formal and stylistic break with the chanson de geste tradition, which includes the Chanson de Willelme and Chanson de Roland.]


With Garin le Lorrain the chronicle stage is all but reached. [chanson de geste] The strophe structure is virtually destroyed, the language often prosaic, the repetitions without trace of emotional appeal.


(The entire section is 2745 words.)

Herman J. Green (essay date May 1941)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Green, Herman J. “Fromont, a Traitor in the Chansons de geste.Modern Language Notes 56, no. 5 (May 1941): 329-37.

[In the following essay, Green probes possible historical sources for the treacherous figure of Fromont in Garin le Loherain and related works.]

A character by the name of Fromont plays a rôle of the first importance in Garin le Loherain and throughout the entire Loherain cycle of which Garin forms the nucleus.1 We also find a Fromont in the principal villainous role in Jourdain de Blaivies.2 In Berthe aus grans piés3 a reference is made to this character from...

(The entire section is 3208 words.)

Hillel Schwartz (essay date 1977)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Schwartz, Hillel. “Garin le Loheren: Preliminary Report on a Rhymed Manuscript.” Romania 98, no. 4 (1977): 541-50.

[In the following excerpt, Schwartz investigates the manuscript status of Garin le Loherain and its place between oral and written traditions.]

In 1966 the Bancroft Library of the University of California (Berkeley) acquired from Sotheby's a manuscript of two parts of La geste des Lorrains, Garin le Loheren and Girbert de Mez1. The reappearance of this manuscript solves several problems which have plagued scholars since the 1870's. It promises also to shed some light on the more general issues...

(The entire section is 2755 words.)

Barbara Schurfranz (essay date winter 1980)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Schurfranz, Barbara. “Thiebaut du Plesseis in Garin le Loheren: An Echo of La Chanson de Guillaume?” Romance Notes 21, no. 2 (winter 1980): 243-47.

[In the following essay, Schurfranz concentrates on the role of Thiebaut in Garin le Loherain and on links between this figure and Thiebaut de Bourges of La Chanson de Guillame.]

In La Chanson de Guillaume, Thiebaut de Bourges and his nephew Estourmi indirectly cause Vivien's death. Though lacking any heroic qualities whatsoever, these two reprobates did not gain, as did Ganelon, the standing of archtraitor in chanson de geste literature, and mention of either of them in other...

(The entire section is 1813 words.)

Catherine M. Jones (essay date 1987)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Jones, Catherine M. “Identity and Disguise in a Late French Epic: Hervis de Mes.Essays in Medieval Studies 4 (1987): 107-17.

[In the following essay, Jones analyzes the function of disguise and dissimulation as weapons used to exclude the rising bourgeoisie from the world of the aristocracy in Hervis de Mes, a thirteenth-century epic of the Loherain cycle.]

Hervis de Mes is a branch of the provincial epic cycle known as the geste des Loherains. The oldest and most prominent poem in the cycle, Garin le Loherain, depicts the bitter rivalry between two feudal houses during the reign of Pépin le Bref; succeeding...

(The entire section is 3217 words.)

Susan H. Cavanaugh (essay date 1988)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Cavanaugh, Susan H. “The Identification of a Lost English Analogue of the ‘Death of Begon’ Episode from the Old French Epic Garin le Loherain.Medium Ævum 57, no. 1 (1988): 64-67.

[In the following essay, Cavanaugh suggests that a fourteenth-century text once owned by Sir Simon Burly is likely an English translation of the “Death of Begon” episode from Garin le Loherain.]

Of the relatively few inventories of privately owned books that survive from the Middle Ages, one of the better known is that of Sir Simon Burley, a favourite of Richard II who was executed by order of the Merciless Parliament in 1388.1 Burley's inventory is of...

(The entire section is 1452 words.)

Sarah Kay (essay date 1995)

(Classical and Medieval Literature Criticism)

SOURCE: Kay, Sarah. “Allies and Enemies.” In The “Chansons de geste” in the Age of Romance: Political Fictions, pp. 175-99. Oxford: Clarenden Press, 1995.

[In the following excerpt, Kay compares Garin le Loherain with Aye d'Avignon in order to highlight its theme of treachery spawned from an internally confused social order.]


Garin is an altogether more pessimistic narrative [than Aye d'Avignon]. Although as in Aye traitors ally themselves with pagan interest, there is no compensating move on the pagan side to restore order for the non-treacherous Franks. Frankish society is not...

(The entire section is 2837 words.)