Fictitious Communities and Textual Transmission. The Case of Pseudonymity in Arthurian Prose Romances

Nicola Morato 
University of Liège

The Dedalian interplay of pseudo-authors in 13th-century Arthurian prose romances has attracted the attention of scholars since the very beginnings of Medieval studies. Already Paulin Paris had brought to light the mainauthorial cross-references in the texts, and subsequent scholars havecontinually interpreted and re-interpreted them. The development of narratology in Arthurian studies brought a fresh approach to these matters and, especially with the works of Emmanuèle Baumgartner, specialists became more aware of the relation between fictitious authorship and concrete determination of the social background of production and fruition of the romances. The Arthurian pseudonyms constitute a community of clerksand knights who, in ongoing collaboration, endlessly extracted new storiesfrom an inexhaustible ‘livre du latin’. While identities are all imaginary, it isindisputable that they knew each other’s texts and that their stories wereread in a courtly context very similar to what they depict. The bibliography on this topic is abundant. However, insofar there have been relatively fewstudies that have analysed this fictitious community from the point of view oftextual transmissions or adopted an embracing perspective including themultilingual fortune of the Arthurian novels in prose. In this study we will tryto address these two points and show how textual transmission enriches thisfictitious community, in an ongoing dialogue with non-fictitious entities andsome concrete interlocutors.