Les Paraboles Maistre Alain en Françoys

Edited by Tony Hunt

Critical Texts 2

Modern Humanities Research Association

30 June 2005  •  188pp

ISBN: 0-947623-64-7 (paperback)  •  RRP £10.99, $17.50, €13.99


There are many good reasons for presenting an edition of the anonymous fifteenth-century French translation of Alan of Lille’s ‘Liber Parabolarum’. First, it has never been edited and the 1492 print by Antoine Vérard survives in fewer than than a dozen copies. Secondly, as a part of European cultural history it is a significant example of the trend to the vernacularization of school texts which marked the later Middle Ages and ushered in the Renaissance.

The ‘mise en page’, comprising woodcuts, the Latin original, the French verse translation and a French prose commentary is also significant and instructive for the study of pedagogic method. In particular, the provision of a prose commentary yields further insight into medieval ‘explication de texte’ and moral exegesis. In addition the work offers a valuable illustration of the phenomenon of translation in the Middle Ages, shedding light on techniques of translation together with a variety of associated problems of adaptation and their solutions.

Furthermore, it earns a notable place in the history of French versification as a result of the author’s dazzling virtuosity which intermingles no fewer than 32 rhyme schemes. Last, not least in utility, it furnishes an ambitious addition to the stock of medieval paroemiologcal and sententious literature. Its value - cultural, technical, and lexical – is beyond doubt.


  • ‘The reader now has a reliable text of the Paraboles ... Alan of Lille’s collection, whether in Latin or in French, was an important work, both for the later Middle Ages and for the humanistic learning of the Renaissance, and it can now be studied both as a work in its own right and as part of the cultural life of its time.’ — Glyn S. Burgess, Modern Language Review 101.4, 2006, 1107 (full text online)
  • ‘An interesting addition for our knowledge of paroemiological literature ... As one would expect from such a prolific and experienced scholar as Tony Hunt, the Introduction covers in an efficient and scholarly manner all the essential questions relating to the text he prints.’ — Max Walkley, New Zealand Journal of French Studies 27.2, 2006, 47-48
  • ‘L'analyse perspicace de Tony Hunt montre comment les choix différents opérés par les deux imprimeurs pour ce qui concerne la mise en page orientent la lecture du recueil ... Il s'agit dans l'ensemble d'une excellente édition...’ — Maria Colombo Timelli, Medium Aevum 75, 2006, 175

Bibliography entry:

Hunt, Tony (ed.), Les Paraboles Maistre Alain en Françoys, Critical Texts, 2 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2005)

First footnote reference: 35 Les Paraboles Maistre Alain en Françoys, ed. by Tony Hunt, Critical Texts, 2 (Cambridge: MHRA, 2005), p. 21.

Subsequent footnote reference: 37 Hunt, p. 47.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

Bibliography entry:

Hunt, Tony (ed.). 2005. Les Paraboles Maistre Alain en Françoys, Critical Texts, 2 (Cambridge: MHRA)

Example citation: ‘A quotation occurring on page 21 of this work’ (Hunt 2005: 21).

Example footnote reference: 35 Hunt 2005: 21.

(To see how these citations were worked out, follow this link.)

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