Thursday, September 16, 2010

Medieval Sleeping Beauty: Blandin de Cornouaille

Sleeping Beauties: Sleeping Beauty and Snow White Tales From Around the World

Okay, so today I am discussing a medieval sleeping beauty that did not make it into my new book, Sleeping Beauties: Sleeping Beauty and Snow White Tales From Around the World, due to various logistical issues, such as length, translation and copyright.

The tale is Blandin de Cornouaille.  From my book:

The piece survives in a single 14th century manuscript housed in the National Library of Turin. It is a long narrative poem that describes the adventures of two knights, Blandin de Cornoalha (also referenced frequently as Cornouaille) and Guilhot de Miramar, with an emphasis on the merits of selfless heroism during the height of chivalry. A few translations of this oft ignored piece can be found on the internet. The best I found is by Ross G. Arthur and includes an instructive introduction and bibliography. Blandin is the proper hero while his friend Guilhot, himself a fine knight but considerably less perfect, is presented as Blandin’s foil.

In the course of the story, Blandin learns of a maiden, named Brianda, who was enchanted by her father before his death and is kept in a castle guarded by ten knights. Blandin defeats the ten knights and then meets her brother who takes him to Brianda’s room in the castle where she lays enchanted on a bed, surrounded by seven damsels who serve her. Blandin immediately falls in love with her beauty...

When I was researching the story, I found an English translation--Blandin de Cornoalha and Guilhot de Miramar translated by Ross. G. Arthur--with a helpful introduction by Arthur. Alas, it has disappeared from the web in the original version that I studied. However, the translation by Arthur is at different places on the web, such as at and ReadOz. The story isn't a straight traditional ATU 409 Sleeping Beauty, but the heroine is enchanted and is rescued from her sleep by the hero, Blandin de Cornoalha. In fact, of the four medieval sleeping beauties I included in the book, this is the most distant cousin.  The story is really that of Blandin de Cornoalha and his friend, not the sleeping heroine. Also, it is not a great piece of literature, but it is interesting as yet another example of enchanted sleepers.

A Catalan language version is available at Blandin de Cornoalha. And a list of resources is available at Roman de Blandin de Cornouailles et de Guillot Ardit de Miramar Bibliographie.

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