Le Roman de Rou et des Ducs de Normandie

1827
25,5 x 18
France - Rouen - Archives départementales de Seine-Maritime
BHN 160/1
Middle Ages
Politics and Military links
Early 12th century, the Anglo-Norman area gives birth to historical literature in the vernacular. Several authors involved in this movement, as Geffrei Gaimar with L'Estoire des Engleis, written between 1236-1237 ; Jordan Fantosme, witnessing the revolt of Henry the Younger against his father Henry II Plantagenet, and Robert Wace.

The author was born on the Anglo-Norman island of Jersey, educated at Caen, then left for the kingdom of France before returning permanently to Caen.

Self-called "the reading clerk" in his book - as a clergyman whose charge is minor - enabling him to devote himself to his literary activity.

Before the Roman de Rou, he wrote a story called Roman de Brut, resuming the Historia regum Britanniae by Geoffrey of Monmouth, telling the story of British kings.

For the purposes of this story, he went to England and visited multiple places .

However, his most famous work is the Roman de Rou, whose work was commissioned by Henry II, outlining the beginnings of the Duchy of Normandy, the adventures of pirate Hasting and Rollo, until the Battle of Tinchebray in 1106. His work is suspended when he learns the king ordered the same study to Benoit de Sainte -Maure (History of the Dukes of Normandy) .

The use of Roman language underlines Wace's willingness to spread his work to a large audience and starts the custom of writing Norman chronicles in prose and in the vernacular, which the most successful is undoubtedly the Great Chronicle of Normandy, dated 1350.

Four manuscripts of Le Roman de Rou and several editions of 18th and 19th centuries are known.

 

Le Roman de Rou et des ducs de Normandie, par Robert Wace, poète normand du XIIème siècle, publié pour la première fois d’après les manuscrits de France et d’Angleterre, avec une notice sur la vie et les ouvrages de l’auteur et des notes pour servir à l’intelligence du texte, par Frédéric Pluquet, Rouen, Edouard Frère, 1827, 2 volumes.

 

View 1 : Rollo's baptism, vol. 1 of Le Roman de Rou - Archives départementales de Seine-Maritime, BHN 160/1

View 2 : the battle of Hastings, vol. 2 of Le Roman de Rou - Archives départementales de Seine-Maritime, BHN 160/2

View 3 : cover of Le Roman de Rou et des Ducs de Normandie par F. Pluquet

View 4 : first page of Le Roman de Rou et des Ducs de Normandie par F. Pluquet

View 5 : image representing Robert Wace handing Le Roman de Rou to Henri II

View 6 : photo of the monument dedicated to Robert Wace at Saint-Hélier, Jersey island.

 

Pour further details :

  • F. Vieillard, « L’histoire des ducs de Normandie : du manuscrit médiéval à l’édition contemporaine, l’exemple du Roman de Rou de Wace » in La place de la Normandie dans la diffusion des savoirs : du livre manuscrit à la bibliothèque virtuelle, Actes du 40ème congrès de la Fédération des sociétés historiques et archéologiques de Normandie (Avranches, 20-23 octobre 2005), Rouen, Fédération des sociétés historiques et archéologiques de Normandie, 2006.
  • G.S. Burgess, The history of the norman people, Wace’s Roman de Rou, with notes by G.S.Burgess and E. Van Houts, The Boydell Press, Woodbridge, 2004.

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