Robert de Blois

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Robert de Blois (fl. second third of the 13th century) was an Old French poet and trouvère, the author of narrative, lyric, didactic, and religious works. He is known only through his own writings, but one lyric poem ascribed to him, Li departis de douce contree, mentions his involvement in a failed Crusade of 1239.

Robert wrote two manuals of instruction on courtly behaviour: one for noblemen and one for noblewomen. The Enseignement des princes describes how men are to act in public and their moral and religious duties. The Chastoiement des dames (or Enseignements des dames), on the other hand, describes a woman's domestic role, concentrating on etiquette, manners, and modesty. Robert's values have been described as "conservative", but his tone is at times "bantering" and he displays "a measure of flair and wit" (Krueger).

Floris et Lyriopé (or Liriopé) is a lengthy narrative poem drawn from Ovid. Robert relates the deeds of Narcissus's parents, how they met. His father Floris seduces Lyriopé by dressing in woman's clothes.

In one manuscript both enseignements and the Floris are incorporated into the unfinished Arthurian romance Beaudous. In a scene reminiscent of Chrétien de Troyes's Perceval, Beaudous is instructed by his mother before joining the court of King Arthur.

Five lyric poems attributed to Robert survive, two of them with more than one melody. All the melodies are recorded in bar form. His lyric work, however, appears to have found a limited audience. Its manuscript tradition is slight and it had no influence on subsequent poets.

List of lyric works[edit]

  • Merveil moi que chanter puis
  • Par trop celer mon courage
  • Puisque me sui de chanter entremis
  • Li departis de douce contree (several melodies)
  • Tant com je fusse fors de ma contree (several melodies)

References[edit]

  • Falck, Robert. "Robert de Blois." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online. Accessed 20 September 2008.
  • Krueger, Roberta. 2005. "Robert de Blois." French Literature Companion. The New Oxford Companion to Literature in French. Accessed 21 January 2009.