Bertran de Born  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Bertran de Born (1140s – by 1215) was a baron from the Limousin in France, and one of the major Occitan troubadours of the twelfth century.


Later literary image

According to his later vida (a romanticised short biography attached to his songs), Henry II believed Bertran had fomented the rebellion of his son Henry the Young King. As a result, Dante Alighieri portrayed him in the Inferno as a sower of schism, punished in the eighth circle of Hell (Canto XXVIII), carrying his severed head like a lantern. Gustave Doré depicts this in his illustrations to the Divine Comedy.

Dante's depiction of him influenced later literary works. In her epic poem Cœur de Lion (1822), Eleanor Anne Porden portrays him fomenting discord in the Third Crusade and, because of his remorse over his involvement with Richard's imprisonment, becoming a hermit. He also figures as a minor character in Maurice Hewlett's novel The Life and Death of Richard Yea-and-Nay (1900), depicted unflatteringly. He is described as "a man of hot blood, fumes and rages", with "a grudging spirit". One character dismisses him thus: "Great poet he was, great thief, and a silly fool."

His memory was better served by Ezra Pound, who translated some of his songs and also based several original poems around him and his works, notably Na Audiart (1908), Sestina: Altaforte (1909), and Near Périgord (1915). There are also allusions to him in some of the Cantos. Via the influence of Pound's Na Audiart, he is also mentioned in Sorley MacLean's poem, A' Bhuaile Ghreine (The Sunny Fold).

He was the subject of a 1936 play Bertran de Born by Jean Valmy-Baisse, to which Darius Milhaud wrote incidental music. He later reworked the music into his Suite provencale.

Paul Auster mentions De Born in his novel Invisible (2009), where the main character meets a Frenchman named Born, and corrects a translation of one of Bertran's war poems. This appeared before as a translation by Paul Auster, in The Nation.





Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Bertran de Born" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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