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Mediaevalia

Volume 25, Issue 2, 2004

An Old French Romance and its Adaptations

Mattia Cavagna
Pages 209-224

Le Désert-Forêt Dans le Roman de Partonopeus de Blois

This paper analyses the importance of the forest in understanding the Old French Partonopeus de Blois. The forest embodies the dual nature of the romance, mixing religious and supernatural elements. It provides a structural framework for the action, as both parts of the romance start with a journey into the forest: it is the passage to the Otherworld, the frontier between reality and the unknown. Placed at the limit of the civilised world, the forest is the space of perigrinations and of reconciliation, both with other characters and with God. In Partonopeus the forest also leads to the sea, the next step in the journey to the Otherworld, and the passage from one realm of reality to the other is achieved with the help of an animal. The author also reflects on the otherworldly roles of Melior and Uraque, in the traditions of the fairy lover and the healing fairy.

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