The Medieval French Alexander

Edited by Donald Maddox & Sara Sturm-Maddox

Subjects: Medieval Studies
Series: SUNY series in Medieval Studies
Paperback : 9780791454442, 305 pages, July 2002
Hardcover : 9780791454435, 305 pages, July 2002

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Alexander the Great in the French Middle Ages
Donald Maddox and Sara Sturm-Maddox


1. The Prologue to the Historia de Preliis: A Pagan Model of Spiritual Struggle
Michel Zink

2. The Raid on Gaza in Alexandre de Paris's Romance
Emmanuèle Baumgartner

3. Alexander's Clergie
Douglas Kelly

4. Alexander and Aristotle in the French Alexander Romances
Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas

5. Alexander's Gabs
François Suard

6. "Mout est proz e vassaus" / "Mout es corteis": Vasselage and Courtesy in the Roman d'Alexandre
Rupert T. Pickens

7. "A paine a on bon arbre de malvaise raïs": Counsel for Kings in the Roman d' Alexandre
William W. Kibler

8. Giving Fiefs and Honor: Largesse, Avarice, and the Problem of "Feudalism" in Alexander's Testament
Stephen D. White

9. Take the World by Prose: Modes of Possession in the Roman d'Alexandre
Michelle R. Warren

10. Alexander and Caesar in the Faits des Romains
Catherine Croizy-Naquet

11. Alexander the Great as the Icon of Perfection in the Epigones of the Roman d'Alexandre (1250–1450): The Utilitas of the Ideal Prince
Martin Gosman

12. Ekphrasis and Memory in the Fourteenth-Century Parfait du Paon
Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski

13. Conquering Alexander: Perceforest and the Alexandrian Tradition
Michelle Szkilnik

14. Alexander Amoroso: Rethinking Alexander in the Roman de Perceforest
Jane H. M. Taylor

15. From Alexander to Marco Polo, from Text to Image: The Marvels of India
Laurence Harf-Lancner

16. "Codices manuscriptos nudos tenemus": Alexander and the New Codicology
Keith Busby

List of Contributors


Explores the significance of Alexander the Great in French medieval literature and culture.


Alexander the Great was one of the legendary Nine Worthies in the medieval canon of ancient and modern heroes, and medieval writers exploited his legend in a wide variety of literary and didactic texts. Addressing the classical legacy to the Middle Ages as expressed in four centuries of vernacular narratives, this volume offers the first systematic collective study of Alexander the Great's thematic prominence in medieval culture. Contributors from Britain, France, the Netherlands, and the United States combine sensitive textual analyses with perspectives from such diverse fields as art history, codicology, anthropology, sociology, the history of mentalities, and postcolonial theory. Overall, the collection offers a provocative rethinking of the monumental medieval French tradition of Alexander the Great, as well as valuable insight into the emergence and transformations of French literature between the early twelfth century and the end of the Middle Ages.

Donald Maddox and Sara Sturm-Maddox are Professors of French and Italian Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. They have coedited many books, including Transtextualities: Of Cycles and Cyclicity in Medieval French Literature; Melusine of Lusignan: Founding Fiction in Late Medieval France; and Froissart Across the Genres.


"…will be essential reading for all Alexander scholars for many years to come." — Speculum

"The editors have assembled a group of European and American 'stars' of the Old French field, many of whom have written elsewhere on the subject of the Alexander texts, but most of whom have strong reputations as historians and critics in several branches of medieval French literature. The results do not disappoint. This will be the English-language authority on Alexander." — Brian Merrilees, coeditor of The Anglo-Norman Voyage of St. Brendan

Contributors include Emmanuèle Baumgartner, Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Keith Busby, Catherine Croizy-Naquet, Catherine Gaullier-Bougassas, Martin Gosman, Laurence Harf-Lancner, Douglas Kelly, William W. Kibler, Donald Maddox, Rupert T. Pickens, Sara Sturm-Maddox, François Suard, Michelle Szkilnik, Jane H. M. Taylor, Michelle R. Warren, Stephen D. White, and Michel Zink.