French Manuscripts in Mono- and Multilingual Social Contexts in Thirteenth-Century Flanders

Lisa Demets
Utrecht University

From around 1200 onwards, the linguistic reality of the multilingual County of Flanders, with both Dutch- and French-speaking communities, becomes apparent in extant documentary sources and manuscripts. In this paper, I will address the production and consumption of francophone manuscripts in thirteenth-century Flanders from a multilingual perspective. Using a database selected for The Multilingual Dynamics of the Literary Culture of Medieval Flanders (ca 1200–ca 1500) project, the apparent literary popularity of French will be scrutinized in the extant manuscripts produced and used in Flemish urban, monastic, and court environments during the thirteenth century. Moreover, some particular case studies related to the Flemish courts of the countesses Jeanne and Margaret of Constantinople, and count Guy of Dampierre, illustrate the international francophone networks of noblewomen, the appropriation of a French song from an elite urban context, and a renewed interest in vernacular crusader history.