Anne Lister telling the medieval Occitan Arthurian romance of Jaufre.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017 -
4:30pm to 6:00pm
University of South Wales
CF37 1DL Cardiff

The medieval Occitan Arthurian romance of Jaufre has intrigued and delighted scholars and readers throughout its existence. It exists in two full manuscripts, now in the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, as well as several fragments, but there were also a number of reprints of a16th century chapbook in French and Spanish, a copy of which is supposed to have been in the library of Don Quixote and inspired his adventures. Another version of the story turned up in the Philippines in a metrical romance.


It is a long and episodic tale, in which our hero deals with a variety of challenges from evil knights, a witch, two giants and an underwater fairy but finds true love and avenges an insult to King Arthur. It also contains a great deal of humour, which is undoubtedly one reason for the survival of the story, and a number of twists on normally familiar motifs.

Jaufre, in common with most medieval texts, would have been intended to be read aloud and would have almost certainly originated in oral tales. Anne Lister, as a storyteller, is engaged in PhD research in which she is re-telling episodes from the romance to 21st century audiences to see how the Tale of Jaufre can be reintroduced to non-specialist listeners, and what reactions there are to the story.