new, tri-lingual edition of Li Proverbe au Vilain is a fascinating collection of
Medieval French poems, each followed by a proverb or popular saying and the phrase Or
so the peasant says. The language is occasionally bawdy and the subject matter
sometimes earthy, yet the poems provide a colorful series of snapshots of 12th
Century France. In many respects, they are also a practical guide on how one would have
led a good and moral life in the Middle Ages. Taken collectively, the poems provide the
reader with new insights into the Medieval Era, particularly from the point of view of the
author of most of the poems was a cleric in the court of Phillippe of Flanders during the
second half of the 12th Century. He was obviously well educated and trained to
earn a living with his pen, but he loved his peasant origins. His experiences in both
courtly and peasant surroundings offer a rich composite of social observations.
an introduction and notes in both English and French and the Old French text presented
with translations into both modern languages, this delightful collection is now available
to a wide cross-section of the general public, as well as to scholars and students for use
in the classroom.