Paul Mirabile
Chercheur indépendant, France
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Comment l’Épopée médiévale permet de penser ou de repenser une Europe Une et Diverse
Dedalus 25 (2021), pp. 237-275. Download PDF
Thinking or rethinking Western Europe is to rethink a pedagogy or method of presenting Western Europe’s mediaeval epic poems as the founding narrations of Western Europe. In this article, the author avails himself of several Scandinavian sagas, Beowulf, The Chanson de Roland, El Cid and Das Nibelungenlied whose analogical linguistic, literary and juridical matter and spirit created a mediaeval koinê that delineated the frontiers of Western Europe. Considered by many scholars as ‘national’ epic tales, if each poem does indeed possess its own ethnic traits, each too, however, is intimately bound to the other through the multiple exchanges effected by all the Northern-Germanic peoples principally due to the feudal system they founded, but also through war, alliance, marriage and styles of oral performance and scriptural composition. By this Great Encounter between the North and the South a tremendous upheaval arose, and for this reason, too, these epic poems should not be regarded as pale reflections of a Greco-Roman literary lineage, but as a rupture, an uprooting of the classical continuum, which subsequently initiated a History radically other. This radical other is the story of the Northern-Germanic peoples’ eruption into the territories of the Early Middle Ages of Western Europe, and the creation of their epic poems, first chanted then composed scripturally in the spirit and vitality of their vernacular tongues, those foremost bright beacons of another History, that of the Middle Ages of Western Europe.
Keywords : Rencontre, arrachement, koiné, épopée, wergild, faida, Mouvance, Nordico-Germanique, économie d’échange, exogamique, rythme spiral, radicalement autre