Jean Bodel  

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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.

Jean Bodel, who lived in the late twelfth century, was an Old French poet who wrote a number of chansons de geste as well as many fabliaux. He lived in Arras.

Bodel wrote the Chanson de Saisnes, about the war of King Charlemagne with the Saxons and their leader Widukind, whom Bodel calls Guiteclin. He also wrote a miracle play called the Jeu de Saint Nicolas, which tells a story of how Saint Nicholas forces some thieves to restore a stolen treasure.

Bodel was the first person of record to classify the legendary themes and literary cycles known to medieval literature into the "Three Matters"; the "Matter of Rome", or retellings of stories from classical antiquity; the "Matter of Britain", concerning King Arthur; and the "Matter of France", concerning Charlemagne and his paladins.

In 1202, Bodel contracted leprosy and entered a leprosarium.




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