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La Chanson d'Antioche is the final volume to appear in the Old French Crusade Cycle, a series published by The University of Alabama Press. The series represents a large body of epic poetry important for an understanding of the phenomenon of cyclical composition and for a clarification of the relationship between the literary genres of epic and romance. Composed in Old French, the cycle, which dates from the 13th century in its edited form, is both history and fiction, folklore and reality; its sources are both oral and classical, and its influence can be seen in translations and versions in Spanish, English, Dutch, and German. The cycle is valuable to a wide range of fields, including the literatures of Old French, Old Spanish, Medieval German, Middle English, as well as folklore, history, and linguistics. La Chanson d'Antioche, along with La Chanson de Jerusalem, forms the quasi-historical nucleus of the entire Old French Crusade Cycle, which focuses on the fictional life of the hero Godfrey of Bouillon. The cycle recounts Godfrey's birth and childhood, his ancestral roots, his maturation to adulthood, his experiences in the First Crusade, and the confrontation between the crusading armies and Saladin. The principal subject of La Chanson d'Antioche is the siege and capture of Antioch, the prelude to the recovery of the holy city of Jerusalem.
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Jan A. Nelson is Professor Emeritus of Romance Languages and Classics at The University of Alabama and one of the two general editors of the cycle with Emanuel J. Mickel.Language Notes:
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