Michelle Bolduc
Department of French, Italian and Comparative Literature
End-of-Year Fellowship Report 2007-08

During my fellowship year, I began the research necessary for my current project, “The Authority of the Other: Past Knowledge at the Intersection of Medieval Histories and Cultures.” This work explores the reception of authority at the intersection of cultural and linguistic crossroads, examining the uses and glosses of past knowledge from non-Christian sources in medieval manuscripts. I began by examining the historical and linguistic context of the Jews in Occitania, and of their cultural contacts with Christians particularly in manuscript workshops, in order to better understand the possible production and use of Hebrew glosses of the Prophecies that appear in the margins of six of the twelve complete manuscripts of the thirteenth-century Occitan theological encyclopedia, the Breviari d’Amor. I also spent a great deal of time learning Hebrew, so that when I do the archival work, I will be able to read not only Latin, Old French, and Occitan documents but also Hebrew. I then turned to other texts that manifest a transmission of past authorities, including: the Eructavit, an Old French paraphrase of Psalm 44 written for Marie de Champagne; manuscripts of Ovid containing interlinear and marginal glosses; and Honorat de Bovet’s Apparacion Maistre Jehan de Meun, which contains a dialogue between Jean de Meun, a Sarrazin, a Jew, a physician, and a Jacobin.

My research also led me to write articles related to my project, including Gautier de Coinci’s use of translation as a form of exegesis and Matfre Ermengaud’s inquiry into the poetic legacy of the troubadours in his religious encyclopedia. Because of the Center’s theme, my fellowship year was also greatly enriched by discussions of the uses of the past in the present, and Bruce Holsinger’s talk on “Neomedievalism and the Church of Theory” (and the response by Gabrielle Spiegel) allowed me to reshape what I intend to be the epilogue of the project, which concerns the reception of Marcel Carné’s Les Visiteurs du soir through the lens of the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas, particular his conception of mournful memory.

Articles Published
“Naming Names: Matfre Ermengaud’s Use of Troubadour Quotations,” Tenso, Bulletin de la société Guilhem IX 22 (2007): 41-74.

“Gautier de Coinci and the Translation of Exegesis,” Neophilologus (published online August 2008).

Articles Submitted
“Levinas and ‘Medieval’ Film: The Mournful Memory of Marcel Carné’s Les Visiteurs du soir,” asked to revise for The French Review (27pp.).

"Troubadours in Debate: The Breviari d’Amor,” under review at Romania : Revue trimestrielle consacrée à l’étude des langues et des littératures romanes (26 pp.).

Krause, Kathy M. and Alison Stones. Gautier de Coinci: Miracles, Music, and Manuscripts. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2006. The French Review 82.3 (appearing Feb. 2009).

“Troubadours in Debate: The Breviari d’Amor,” 43rd International Congress on Medieval Studies, Western Michigan State University (May 8-11, 2008).

Conference Proposals Submitted
“Jean de Meun as Apparition: Writing between History and Poetry” will examine the dialogue between a physician, a Jew, a Sarrazin, a Jacobin, and the prior/narrator before Jean de Meun in Honorat de Bovet’s Apparacion Maistre Jehan de Meun (1398); accepted for the Medieval Academy Annual Meeting (Chicago, April 2009).

“Translation as Incarnation: The Old French Eructavit” will examine the vernacular paraphrase of Psalm 44 as an incarnated translation from the Hebrew; for “Translating the Middle Ages” University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (October 2008).


Current department website



Center for 21st Century Studies

Merry Wiesner-Hanks

Center for 21st Century Studies / University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Postal Address: P.O. Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201 USA
Street Address: Curtin Hall 929, 3243 N. Downer Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211 USA
tel: 414-229-4141; fax: 414-229-5964; email:



  Last updated 11/12/08 by DSC