A Pastourelle in Outremer: The Cultural Politics of Hybridity in “L’altrier cuidai aber druda”

  • Terrence CullenEmail author


This article reconsiders the anonymous thirteenth-century poem “L’altrier cuidai aber druda,” a bawdy pastourelle that is one of a number of texts in Paris, Bibliothèque nationale de France, fonds français 844 that are written in a hybrid between French and Occitan. Contextualizing the poem within its sole manuscript witness, a songbook thought to have been commissioned for the French-descended William II of Villehardouin, the Prince of the Morea in what is now Greece, I argue that a consideration of the cultural politics of this Crusader state can shed new light on the significance of the poem’s mixed language. With its blend of Occitan, French, and artificial words that are not quite either language, the text stages an act of literary deceit that undermines the prestigious language of the troubadours by thwarting both narrative and linguistic expectations. Parodying Occitan in this way would have been particularly appreciated by the francophone nobility of the Morea, eager to maintain their connections to their homeland in Europe and threatened by the specters of linguistic and cultural alterity from both fellow Crusaders and the resurgent Byzantine Empire.


Occitan literature Old French literature Pastourelle The Morea 


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of FrenchNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA

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