Provençal Songbook


Cançoner provençal (Provençal songbook) is a 14th century manuscript, written in Occitan, discovered in 1876 by the scholar Milà i Fontanals, and acquired in 1910 by a group of ten benefactors who wanted it given to the Biblioteca de Catalunya as a monument of Catalan medieval literature. Catalan, which originated in northeastern Spain, and Occitan (also called langue d’oc and less accurately Provençal), which developed in southern France and northern Spain, are both spoken and literary languages that reached maturity in the 12th−14th centuries. They share many linguistic features, and both derive from Vulgar Latin. In both regions, poets known as troubadours wrote and performed rhymed songs, mostly about courtly or romantic love, an art form that flourished in the 11th−14th centuries. The manuscript was written for the court of the Counts of Urgell in the mid 14th century and includes a total of 285 compositions, organized into three sections. The first part includes poems by the Catalan troubadour Cerverí de Girona (flourished circa 1259–circa 1285). This is followed by a collection of classic poems by the Provençal troubadours of the late 12th−first half of the 13th century. It concludes with a series of works by the poets of the so-called school of Toulouse (Raimon V and other counts of Toulouse were well-known patrons of troubadours). The first section of the manuscript is illuminated, with the poems introduced by enlarged, decorative letters. The codex, initially without covers, was luxuriously bound by the studio of Ramon Miquel i Planas, by order of the government of the province of Barcelona. The donors who purchased the work were Isidre Bonsoms, Pere Grau Maristany, Eduard Sevilla, the Marquis de Maury, Josep Mansana, Jacinte Serra, Manuel Girona, Hug Herberg, Archer M. Huntington, and Teresa Ametller.

Last updated: August 28, 2015