Motion, contact and profanity in Rutebeuf’s tales of ‘Charlot Le Juif’: (not) going there, (not) touching that

Simpson, J. R. (2020) Motion, contact and profanity in Rutebeuf’s tales of ‘Charlot Le Juif’: (not) going there, (not) touching that. Forum for Modern Language Studies, 56(4), 445- 467. (doi: 10.1093/fmls/cqaa001)

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This article explores what we can learn about the context of thirteenth-century Paris from the relation between what is explicit and implicit in Rutebeuf’s tales of Charlot the Jew. Dated to the 1260s, these two texts – ‘La Disputaison de Charlot et du Barbier de Melun’ and ‘Charlot le juif qui chia dans la peau du lièvre’ – survive in Paris, BnF, MS fr. 1635. In themselves, in relation to one another and in their manuscript context, these tales reveal much about the function of hints and hidden jokes as soundings of intercommunal tensions and polemic in the period between the Paris Disputation of 1240 and the outbursts of violence later in the century. The discussion of the text focuses on the representation of cultural and religious provocation, and especially Rutebeuf ’s possible adumbrating of sensitive issues not always addressed in explicit fashion. Charlot’s seeming resistance to provocation in various regards may thus reflect a context in which Louis IX encouraged the lay population to take direct action in response to any perceived insults against Christianity from the Jewish population.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Rutebeuf, Old French literature, anti-Semitism, Paris, comedy, silence, cultural provocation, Nicholas Donin, Talmud.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Simpson, Dr James
Authors: Simpson, J. R.
College/School:College of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > French
Journal Name:Forum for Modern Language Studies
Journal Abbr.:FMLS
Publisher:Oxford University Press
ISSN (Online):1471-6860
Published Online:15 May 2020
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2020 The Author
First Published:First published in Forum for Modern Language Studies 56(4): 445–467
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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