The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Ganelon, Treason, and the

Ganelon, Treason, and the "Chanson de Roland"

Emanuel J. Mickel
  • Copyright: 1989
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 192 pages
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-0-271-00680-2

This work probes the question of Ganelon's treason within the context of medieval law and the epic poem. Since the beginning of studies on the medieval epic tradition, scholars have debated what to make of Ganelon's role in the epic and his defense at the trial. To what extent would a medieval audience sympathize with Ganelon's trial defense? Does the conflict revolving around Ganelon and his family reflect tension between the crown and the nobility, between a new sense of Roman law and kingship and an older tradition of custom and baronial authority? This book explores each stage of Ganelon's treason and trial to determine what can be learned by a careful study of the issues and procedures of the trial in the light of medieval practice. Thus the study frequently ranges beyond the confines of the poem to discuss such broad subjects as the nature of the duel, medieval proofs, the nature and punishment of treason, and the gradually changing role of the family and the state in governance and in the legal process. An understanding of the issues in Ganelon's trial illuminates many questions pertaining to the Roland, medieval composition, and the medieval period.

Emanuel Mickel is professor of French literature, Director of the Medieval Studies Institute, and Chairman of the Department of French and Italian at Indiana University. Professor Mickel is the author of five books on medieval and nineteenth-century French literature, and he has published more than forty articles in American, Canadian, French, German, and Italian journals. He is the editor of the monograph series Medievalia Hungarica and is co-editor of the multivolume series The Old French Crusade Cycle. Professor Mickel has written extensively on the Old French chanson de geste, and he is known for his work on the Lais (Marie de France, 1974), Chrétien de Troyes, the Tristan en Prose, and medieval drama.

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