1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Surville, Clotilde de

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19407691911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 26 — Surville, Clotilde de

"SURVILLE, CLOTILDE DE," the supposed author of the Poisies de Clotilde. The generally accepted legend gave the following account of her. Marguerite Eleonore Clotilde de Vallon ChalUs, dame de Surville, was born in the early years of the 15th century at Vallon. In 1421 she married Berenger de Surville, who was killed at the siege of Orleans in 1428. Her husband's absence at the war inspired her heroic verses and his death her elegiac poems. The last of her poems is a chant royal addressed to Charles VIII.

In 1803 Charles Vanderbourg published as the Poisies de Clotilde some forty poems dealing with love and war. The history given in the introduction of the discovery of the manu- script was evidently a fable, and the poems were set down by most authorities as forgeries, especially as they contained many anachronisms and were written in accordance with modern laws of prosody. The manuscript had been in the possession of Jean Francois Marie, marquis de Surville, an imigri who returned to France in 1798 to raise an insurrection in Provence, and had paid the penalty with his life. In 1863 Antonin Mace made further inquiries on the subject and discovered letters from Vanderbourg to Surville's widow. This correspondence makes it clear that Vanderbourg was innocent of forgery and believed that the poems were of 15th-century date, and that the anachronisms of matter and form were due to retouching by Surville. But the researches of M. Mace interested local antiquarians, and documentary evidence was produced that the wife of B6renger de Surville was Marguerite Chalis, not Clotilde, and that the marriage dated only from 1428. Moreover Berenger, whose death at the siege of Orleans was one of the leading motives of the book, lived for twenty years after that date. Friends of M. de Surville also disclosed the fact that the marquis had contributed archaic poetry to a Lausanne journal.

See A. Macé, Un proces d'histoire littéraire (1870); A. Mazon, Marguerite Chalis et la ligende de Clotilde de Surville (1875); articles by Gaston Paris in the Revue critique d'histoire et de littérature (March 1, 1873 and May 30, 1874), by Paul Cottin in the Bulletin du bibliophile (1894); E. K. Chambers, Literary Forgeries (1891); and further references in the Bibliographie des femmes célèbres (Turin and Paris, 1892, &c).