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A Fairy Troubadour? Medieval Matter And The 'Bon Vieux Temps' In Women's Fairy Tales (1730–1750)

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Chapter Summary

The use and image of medieval matter in French fairy tales evolved significantly during the years 1730-1750. This evolution also reflects the parallel development of a more scholarly and professional interest in the past. This chapter explores readers and writers 'fairy troubadour' aesthetic, which antedates and announces the 'style troubadour' of the 1780s. Although the term 'Middle Ages' is found in seventeenth-century dictionaries, it did not come into widespread use until the following century. The less specific 'bon vieux temps' was often employed throughout the eighteenth century. In 1740, women authors used medieval elements in the fairy universe they knew so well. Jean-François Perrin mentions 'incrustation' when the reader encounters halls of images within medieval romances like Tristan, La Mort le roi Artu, or ekphraseis in 'antique romances'.

Keywords: aesthetic incrustation; bon vieux temps; fairy troubadour; French fairy tales; medieval matter



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