Volume 25, Issue 2, 2004

An Old French Romance and its Adaptations

Maria Bendinelli Predelli
Pages 37-47

The Italian Cantare of Bel Gherardino
A Source for Partonopeus?

This paper provides a summary of the fourteenth-century Italian cantare Bel Gherardino, and examines the similarities and differences between it and the Old French Partonopeus de Blois. In many of the passages where Bel Gherardino differs from Partonopeus — notably in the characterisation of the heroine, in a simplification of the passage concerning the hero's return home, and in the location of the rescue of the hero by the heroine's sister — the Partonopeus version appears to be the result of a clearly identifiable intervention on the part of an author. It may be concluded that Bel Gherardino does not derive from the text we now know as Partonopeus de Blois, but rather from an earlier story, which may be termed Ur-Gherardino. The existence of an Ur-Gherardino poem would also help to shed light on the problematic relationship between Partonopeus, Ipomedon and Lanzelet.