Flamenca i Radość Gry w świecie trubadurów

Michał Sawczuk-Szadkowski


This article attempts to interpret a thirteenth-century Occitan chivalric roman, Le roman de Flamenca, in the context of game and play. Play is an important element of the troubadours' sociopoetic culture, both in its social (fin’amor) and literary (trobar) aspects. Since the author considers Flamenca to be a work that summarises the history of Occitan courtly poetry, on this basis he puts forward the hypothesis that games also build the action and plot of the text in question. This hypothesis is proven by analysing the novel through the prism of Johan Huizinga's and Roger Caillois’ concept of play.

An additional argument testifying to the importance of games in the troubadour world is the key term for fin’amorjoi (translated as Joy), whose components are two other terms: joia (joy) and joc (game). For this reason, the Author treats this phenomenon as the Joy of Play, a feeling of pleasure resulting from engagement in poetic games.

Based on Caillois’ classification, the Author distinguishes two types of games in the text of the novel. The first of these is the agon, or the competition between Flamenca and her lover Guillaume, and her jealous husband Archambaut. Analysis of the work provides answers to questions about the model player, the set of rules of the game (referred to as lo gay saber, ‘the gay science’) and its course. Of particular note are the passages in which competition is thematised through ludic vocabulary and references to joi. This leads to the conclusion that agon is a structural principle of Le roman de Flamenca.

The next chapter aims to interpret the plot of the novel in the context of mimicry, games based on imitation. The theatrical motifs of the work are subjected to critical reflection, particularly in connection with the joi. In this sense, illusion and imitation constitute the content of the work.

In the last chapter, the author proposes to raise the question about other forms of games in the troubadour world. In particular, the treatment of joi as illinx, a game based on vertigo, is taken into consideration.

The collected material and the research allow to conclude that Flamenca is a piece built around different types of games: agon is its structure, mimicry serves to guide the action, while illinx may be its possible goal.

Słowa kluczowe: Flamenca, troubadours, Occitan literature, courtly literature, game, play

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