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Berthault de Villbresmes, a prominent lawyer and adviser to Charles d Orleans, completed this prose version of the first three branches of "The Old French Crusade Cycle" some time between 1465 and 1473. He undertook his compendieuse translacion of the Swan Knight story at the request of Charle s widow, Marie de Cleves. Daughter of Lamarck, Marie had a particular interest in this matter for the house of Cleves had claimed descent from Helias, the fabulous grandfather of Godfroy of Bouillon some time after the extinction of the house of Bouillon-Boulogne. It is tis particular interest that explains why Berthault s adaptation of the Old French epic matter stops short of the account of the Crusade proper even though the First Crusade continued at the time to be a powerful stimulus to the literary imagination.Berthault de Villebresmes s "La Geste du Chevalier au Cygne" will be especially welcome to all concerned with the recovery and study of late medieval literature and with the linguistic analysis of Middle French. "The Old French Crusade Cycle" consists of a series of nine volumes of epic poems that together form a cycle concerningnthe First Crusade and the legendary events associated with Godefori de Buillon. See index for a listing of the volumes published thus far in the series."
Edmond A. Emplaincourt is Professor of Romance Languages, Mississippi State University, Starkville.
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