1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Huon of Bordeaux

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HUON OF BORDEAUX, hero of romance. The French chanson de geste of Huon de Bordeaux dates from the first half of the 13th century, and marks the transition between the epic chanson founded on national history and the roman d'adventures. Huon, son of Seguin of Bordeaux, kills Charlot, the emperor's son, who had laid an ambush for him, without being aware of the rank of his assailant. He is condemned to be hanged by Charlemagne, but reprieved on condition that he visits the court of Gaudisse, the amir of Babylon, and brings back a handful of hair from the annr's beard and four of his back teeth, after having slain the greatest of his knights and three times kissed lns daughter Esclarmonde. By the help of the fairy dwarf Oberon, Huon succeeds in this errand, in the course of which he meets with further adventures. The Charlot of the story has been identified by A. Longnon (Romania viii. HI) with Charles l'Enfant, one of the sons of Charles the Bald and Irmintrude, who died in 866 in consequence of wounds indicted by a certain Aubouin in precisely similar circumstances to those related in the romance. The epic father of Huon may safely be identified with Seguln, who was count of Bordeaux under Louis the Pious in 839, and died Iighting against the Normans six years later A Turin manuscript of the romance contains a prologue in the shape of a separate romance of Anberon, and four sequels, the Chanson d'Esclarmonde, the Chanson de Clarrsse et Florent, the Chanson d'Ide et d'Olwe and the Chanson de Godzn. The same MS con» tains in the romance of Les Lorrazns a summary in seve11teen lines of another version of the story, according to which Huon's exile is due to his having slain a count in the emperor's palace. The poem exists in a later version in alexandrines, and, with its continuations, was put into prose in 1454 and printed by Michel le Noir in 1516, since when it has appeared in many forms, notably in a beautifully printed and illustrated adaptation (1898) in modern French by Gaston Paris The romance had a great vogue in England through the translation (c. 1540) of John Bourchier, Lord Berners, as Huon of Bnrdeuxe. The tale was dramatized and produced in Paris by the Confrérie de la Passion in 1557, and in Philip Henslowe's diary there is a note of a performance of a play, Hewen of Bnrdoche, on the 28th of December 1593. For the literary fortune of the fairy part of the romance see OBERON.

The Chanson de gesle of Huon de Bordeaux was edited by MM F. Guessard and C. Grandmaison for the Anczens poétes de la France in 1860; Lord Berners's translation was edited for the E E'I'.S. by S. L. Lee in 1883-1885 See also L. Gautier, Les Epopées frangazses (2nd ed. vol 111 pp. 71 -7 3); A. Graf, I complemenlz della Chanson de Huon de Bordeaux?Hahe, 1878); “ Esclarmonde, &c, " by Max Schweigel, in Ausg u. Abhandt der roman. phat (Marburg, 1889); C. Voretzsch, Epzsche Studzen (vol. 1., Halle, 1900), Hzst. hit. de la France (vol. xxvi, 1873).