Languages in conflict in Toulouse: las leys d'Amors. (2024)

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The poetry competition founded in Toulouse in 1323 is a well-knowninstance of cultural resistance, thanks to its promotion andpreservation of poetry in Occitan shortly after the county of Toulousehad become part of the French crown. This article re-examines the Leysd'Amors, the treatise produced in two redactions by the Consistoryin the mid-fourteenth century, in order to establish whether Occitan istreated as a civic 'mother tongue', or if instead the textreveals an approach to language acquisition modelled on Latin treatisesfamiliar to the University, in which case Occitan becomes less a'mother tongue' than an 'other tongue'.

The seven laymen poets of Toulouse who founded the Consistori de lasobregaia companhia del gay saber in 1323, with a view to holding anannual poetry competition marking Marian devotion and the feast of HolyCross (from 1 to 3 May), were engaged in a tripartite process ofcultural resistance and assimilation. (1) The '.VII. trobadors deTholoza', who also styled themselves the mantenedors (maintainersor upholders) of the Consistory, emulated Puy poetry, a vernacular lyricgenre that was at that time thriving in north-western France and Paris,but attempted to give this urban phenomenon the aura of learned,Latinate authority, as well as to use it as a vehicle for preserving thetroubadour lyric tradition. (2) Their inaugural letter for the festivalwas sent out to 'diversas partidas de la lenga d'Oc'(Anglade, 1, 1, 9), on the grounds that only poets using languages wherethe word 'Oc' or 'O' was used for 'yes'could compete (Anglade, 11, 11, 179).

The socio-political context of the Toulousain Consistory and itsnascent Occitan linguistic identity has dominated much subsequentcriticism, as the city and its leaders had experienced a century ofrepressive policing on the part of religious authorities, as well as itsannexation by the French crown by force and ultimately by succession.(3) There has been much debate over the past two centuries concerningthe perceived status of troubadour poetry in fourteenth-centuryToulouse. (4) While it is now generally accepted that no attempts weremade to repress either troubadour poetry or Occitan linguisticexpression, it remains that the Consistory has been regarded as a publicdisplay of religious and civic conformity scored through, in its choiceof language and genre, with cultural resistance. The Consistory produceda vernacular ars poetria they called the Leys d'Amors, whichsurvives in two drafts that are usually attributed to the mantenedorcommissioned to write the Leys, Guilhem Molinier. Both redactionspresent an unusual example of the relationships between three forms ofpoetic expression in French, Latin, and Occitan, and their status aswitnesses to a period of inter-linguistic tension is the subject of thisarticle. (5)

The Consistory's founders were laymen, and four of them hadfollowed legal studies. The Consistory appears to have been the productof an unofficial group (companhia) that met to compose and performOccitan poetry composed within the troubadour tradition. In this respectit differs from northern French Puys, which tended to be founded by areligious confraternity, and grounded their poetry in a Marian devotionhoused in a specific chapel or church. However, the Consistory'sfounding act was a Marian poetry competition, its membership reflectsthe social profile of the confraternities active in Normandy and Artois,and the proceedings of the Jocs florals (as the Maytime festival came tobe known) were similar in many ways to the procedures of the Puys. TheToulouse Consistory differed from a Puy in that it emulated theceremonies of the city's University (founded in 1229) by treatingthe competition as a public examination followed by the award ofbachelor's and master's degrees in gaia sciensa. Thepolitical, religious, and institutional context of Toulouse meant thatthe Consistory's activity was imbued with more subtle civic andsocial tensions concerning language choice, authority, and power.

According to Joseph Anglade, part of the Leys d'Amors'sinstitutional aspirations within Toulouse lay in the University'srepudiation of the vernacular, an 'Azotica lingua' (Philistinelanguage) that had been forbidden within its schools by papal letter in1245. Such policies were standard in a studium generale. (6) Elementarygrammar classes, on the other hand, used the vernacular as a teachingmedium, thus ensuring that boys acquired the rudiments of grammar andrhetoric with explanations, glosses, and examples in this 'Azoticalingua'. (7) It meant that a litteratus would have acquired hisability to compose initially in the vernacular through the medium ofLatin.

The nature of the relationship between Latin, French, and the localvernaculars becomes clearer thanks to Serge Lusignan's importantstudies of the written use of the French language in French andAnglo-Norman regions. Lusignan suggests that a marked distance betweenwritten French and Latin is noticeable from around 1400. Grammars of theFrench language such as the Femina and the Femina nova (which weredestined for English students, so taught French as a'foreign', not a 'mother', tongue) appeared in thecourse of the fourteenth century. Lusignan states that the firstsignificant grammar of French for francophone readers was JacquesLegrand's Archiloge Sophie (c. 1400), which post-dates the Leysd'Amors by some sixty years. (8)

In the fourteenth century Occitan was still the dominant languagefor the city's politicians, and the Occitan tradition of vernacularcharters pre-dated those written in French; this should have appealed toa royal administration that was increasingly using French in documentsand decrees. Serge Lusignan has noted that although the royal chanceriesunder Philip IV and Philip VI employed staff who were native toOccitan-speaking regions, documents destined for the Midi were issuednot in French but in Latin, on the understanding that they would betranslated 'in romancio' on their arrival. Occitan documentssent to Paris were not translated (unlike those written in Flemish),which implies that there was little sense of a linguistic barrier.French was not imposed in the Occitan-speaking regions, but vernacularexpression was still presented as something that was subordinate toLatin. (9)

The Consistory was more than an exercise in cultural resistance, asits focus was on asserting both the religious orthodoxy and the prestigeof composing devotional poetry in the vernacular. However, itscommitment to standardizing and protecting the Occitan lyric Koine is initself a protectionist gesture. (10) This combination of fashionablecivic ambition and respect for the past would explain its production ofa sizeable treatise on grammar, rhetoric, and versification, which wasissued in two revised versions (one prose and one short verse summary).Beatrice Fedi has maintained the distinction between a first draftcomposed before 1341, that now survives in two full prose versions andone verse summary, and a revised version of 1355-56 that survives onlyin a single manuscript in Toulouse. (11) The prologue to this revised,luxury edition places the Consistory under the patronage of Na Sciensa(Lady Knowledge) and notes that it was reviewed by a panel of masters ofthe University and learned clerics (Anglade, i, i, 8, 35-37). Thefirst-redaction manuscript preserved in Toulouse is crammed withcorrections, emendations, and alternative texts, all of which suggest awork that was composed over a significant period of time by a team ofcontributors. It would seem logical to examine the first draft forevidence of what the members of the Consistory deemed appropriate to thetask of trobar.

In a recent article, Justine Landau has examined the allegoricalgenealogies and struggles of the various rhetorical vices and virtuesdescribed in the Leys d'Amors. (12) What Landau does not address inher study is the puzzling inclusion of a term that has no traceablesource. Between barbarismus and soloecismus, both of which have avenerable history in Latin treatises on grammar and rhetoric, the firstdraft of the Leys d'Amors inserts allebolus, a word referring to aforeign or strange expression:

Lo ters vicis es allebolus. Et es allebolus estranha sentensa so esimproprietatz de sentensa. laquals improprietatz de sentensa se fay enmotas manieras. segon qu'om pot vezer en jos en las figuras detropus. E dizem estranha sentensa. so es improprietatz de sentensa. asignificar e demostrar que per so non es dicha estranha perque siadautru ni destranh lengatge quom no entenda comunalmen. Ans es be dunmeteysh lengatge. mas que impropriamen es dicha. Quar una cauza ditz epauza. et hom ne enten autra. (13)

The third vice is allebolus, and allebolus is an estranh(strange/foreign) sentence, that is, an impropriety of sentence. Thatimpropriety of sentence ismade in various ways, as one can see below inthe figures of tropus. And we say estranha sentensa, that is,'impropriety of sentence', in signifying and designating [it],because it is not called estranh because it comes from another[language], or a strange language that is not commonly understood.Instead, it comes from the same language, but it is spoken improperly,for it enunciates and posits one thing, but you understand another.

There follows a short mnemonic poem:

 Allebolus vol dir estranha Sentensa, perque s'acompanha. Tropus de luy. Que li desfassa. Lo vici ques am luy s'enlassa. Alleos grec es qu'estranh sona. E bole sentensa nos dona. Mas per estranh deu cascus prendre. Improprietat. Quar entendre. Fay comunalmen autra cauza. Qu'om ni pronuncia ni pauza.

Allebolus means an estranha sentence because Tropus takes it as itscompanion, for it [Tropus] undoes the vice that winds itself about it.Alleos is Greek, it [designates that which] sounds estranh, and bolegives us 'sentence'. But by estranh everyone must understand'impropriety', for it commonly makes you understand somethingthat differs from the thing it pronounces or states.

By sentensa the Leys most probably designate a grammaticalsententia, the precursor to our modern 'sentence'. However, asOlga Weijers notes, the Latin noun 'sententia etait un motclassique tres repandu et dote de sens multiples, dont maniere de penseeou opinion, decision ou jugement, idee, signification, et dans lagrammaire, phrase'. A sententia might also have meant'sentence ou enonciation, ayant souvent une valeur morale',and in this context an impropriety may have had a moral or theologicaldimension. In the second draft of 1356 it is noted that a prize poemdealing with theology should be censured 'if its sententia is notclear and manifest, or [not] approved by the inquisitor' ('sidonx la sentensa no era clara emanifesta, o aproada perl'Enquiridor': Anglade, 11, 23). (14) Meanwhile, ingrammatical treatises improprietas concerns unclear expression anddifficulties of communication. (15) There is something provocative aboutthe use of a pseudo-Greek neologism to describe the disruptive and'improper' impact of an unfamiliar word on an enunciation. Inhis article devoted to the sources of the Leys, John Marshall noted thatallebolus is a puzzling intrusion:

The presence of Allebolus [...] a term unattested elsewhere, ismanifestly dictated by the exigences of the allegory, which required athird type of 'error' to balance the traditional three typesof stylistic 'ornament'. It is noticeable that Molinier hasvery little to say about Allebolus and that this is the only term forwhich he gives an etymology.

Marshall concluded that 'there is every likelihood that he, orone of his collaborators, invented this curious expression'. (16)In fact, the writers of the first draft had plenty to say aboutallebolus, as they make him the 'father' of a multitude ofrhetorical tropes crucial (among other forms of writing) to poetry, suchas metaphor and allegory, both of which are defined by their ability tocreate a sense that differs from the words. Recent work on the teachingof positive grammar by Irene Rosier-Catach, Anne Grondeux, and ElsaMarguin-Hamon, whose works will be referred to below, allows us toexamine the strange presence of allebolus as both the reflection and theexpression of concerns about the construction of a vernacular poetics onthe model of elementary schoolroom practice found in grammar courses inthe Arts curriculum.

Estranh is particularly tricky for the definition of allebolus.Estranh is glossed as a word or expression from the language shared byboth speaker and audience ('un meteysh lengatge'), and it isdefined neither by its foreignness nor by its rarity, but purely by itsimproprietas, its ability to garble the sense of an enunciation. Indeed,the text's insistence on correcting the reader's assumptionthat estranh signals foreignness or alterity is striking. Allebolus maybe read, it seems, as either a disrupting insertion of a term in spokenexpression, or simply an instance of clumsy or unusual expression, or(as its last feature) a device that creates double meanings beyond theliteral sense of the words on the page. This clumsy definition points toinnovation of a sort, for allebolus is in fact no more than adevelopment on soloecismus, a mistake made in multiple words (as opposedto barbarismus, a mistake occurring in a single word). The Leys go on tospecify that the difference rests in the fact that soloecismus affectsonly oratio (speech), whereas allebolus affects sentensa, the sensearising from the discourse. Barbarismus affects dictio, and allebolus,again, affects only the sentensa (Gatien-Arnoult, III, 18). However, aswithout dictio or oratio there can be no sentensa (as all expressionsare products of speech), this definition would make the three vices moreinterdependent than the Leys claim.

Allebolus is an example of the pseudo-Greek learning thatwas invogue in university grammars of the thirteenth century, and specificallyechoes etymologies provided in Uguccione da Pisa's Derivationes (c.1200), Everard de Bethune's Graecismus (c. 1212), and John ofGenoa's Catholicon (a simplified version of Uguccione'sdictionary, dated 1286), all of which earn references in the seconddraft of the Leys d'Amors as, respectively, the'Derivayre', the 'Grecisme', and, in the secondredaction, the 'Catholicon' (Anglade, i, 137; Gatien-Arnoult,III, 264). (17) More specifically, allebolus reads like a calque ofallotheta, a figure of construction that appears in the Catholiconbetween the categories of schema and tropus: 'Allotheta estimproprietas constructionis ex eo quod dictiones in ea positeconstruuntur in diversitate accidentum, ut ego Sortes, lego'. (18)Allotheta (taken by John of Genoa from Uguccione, as allon'other' and thesis 'position') is an impropriety ofconstruction, placing words together in confusing juxtapositions, suchas 'ego, Socrates, lego' ('I, Socrates, read'). (19)

John Marshall suggested that the Toulousain mantenedors coinedallebolus, but this would surely have been a risky game to play foramateur rhetors, mostly laymen, whose educations were otherwise notmarkedly sophisticated. It is tempting to suggest that the mantenedorsdrew on a glossed school textbook and its unusual additional material,or used their own lecture notes, and that they did so with theconfidence that they were using an authoritative source. (20) TheGraecismus was included on the Arts curriculum of the University ofToulouse from 1328, and was taught alongside the Doctrinale through bothglossed and unglossed copies. (21) The Consistory certainly used severalsources at once, as the Graecismus and Catholicon both provide boluswith a different definition, and do not give the etymology for bole,which appears in the Derivationes. (22) One thirteenth-century glossedGraecismus constructed neologisms from words that were already in thetext, and it is plausible that this was anything but an isolated exampleof an inventive attitude towards technical language. (23)

By the early fourteenth century, Arts students of the triviumacquired their Latin grammar through texts that owed little to thesophisticated theories of the speculative grammarians (modistae).According to Irene Rosier-Catach, elementary students studied thenon-modist grammatical works directly, with emphasis on the high statusof etymology: 'la connaissance de l'etymologie fonde [...] lasuperiorite du grammarien--lexicographe, technicien de la langue parexcellence, qui connait les veritables noms des choses par leursorigines'. (24) Accuracy must have been a source of concern whenthese etymologies were based on shaky linguistic foundations. The factthat allebolus is included with its etymology gives it an aura of highauthority. As a term, however, it refers to the failures ofcommunication caused by the insertion of unfamiliar terms into speech.This indicates that the mantenedors were aware of the risks of applyingLatin or 'Greek' grammar and rhetoric to vernacular poetry.Their awareness was supported in the classroom manuals themselves.Unglossed copies of the Catholicon include a variation on the famoustale of the origins of soloecismus, and it provides a hint of whatallebolus, a dissimilar twin of soloecismus, may represent in the Leysd'Amors. (25)

The citizens of the city of Soloi spent some time living inAthenian homes in the hope of learning Greek, but all they did wascorrupt both their own and the Athenian language. In disgust, the Greekscoined the phrase soloecismus, that is, 'the custom and habits ofthe people of Soloi'. John of Genoa explains that they had aconfused language ('linguam habebant confusam') because of thegeographical location of their city between two linguistic regions('in confinio grece et barbare'), and because they sought toclaim both the Greek and the barbarian languages as their own.Undeterred, these intrepid if inept linguists travelled west to Rome andcorrupted the Latin language to the extent that any mistake found in asequence of words came to be named after them. They were incapable ofstringing together a coherent sentence in Latin, and they infected Romanspeech. John cites Donatus to emphasize that soloecismus is notbarbarismus. Barbarismus is a mistake occurring within a single word,but soloecismus, far more damagingly, affects the order of all thecomponents of a sentence, and compromises communication.

John's version of the tale may have had a variety of meaningsfor readers in the schoolrooms of western Europe, but for the authors ofthe Toulousain Leys d'Amors there was much promise in the idea ofconverting incoherent and uneducated prose into poetry not by banishingbut by embracing soloecismus. A vernacular poet who chooses to formulatehis extra-curricular learning in the language and structures of Latingrammatical treatises is at risk of acting like the inhabitant of Soloi,forsaking his barbarian territory to seek fluency in the learning ofboth Greece and Rome, only to produce a horrible and unintelligiblecompromise.

Guilhem Molinier and his collaborators drew on a body of knowledgethey had acquired in a particular pedagogical context. One persuasiveexample comes in the second draft, where a standard classroom exerciseappears with its Occitan translation and gloss:

E per so ditz le Versifiayresenayssi: 'Quid flamma levius?fulmen. Quid fulmine? ventus. Quid vento? mulier. Quid muliere?nichil.' So es a dire: 'Qu'es plus leugier que flama?foldres. Qu'es plus legier que foldres? vens. Qu'es plusleugier que vens? femna. Qu'es plus leugier que femna? no re.'(Anglade, i, 158-59)

The Versifier says thus: 'What is lighter than a flame?lightning. What is lighter than lightning? wind. What [is lighter than]wind? woman. What [is lighter than] woman? Nothing'. That is to say[the same text in Occitan follows].

It remains to be proved if the quotation from the Versifiayre weare given here ends before or after the translation (Versificator couldhave been used for any number of texts, such as Matthew ofVendome's Ars versificatoria, c. 1175). As this verse is a standardelementary lesson, it seems to come straight from the classroom. VivianLaw has studied the thirteenth-century phenomenon of versified grammars,and noted three important features that amount to a change in teachingmethods. (26) First, as no comparable verse treatises subsist for eitherlogic or other subjects, the teaching of grammar must have beendistinctive. Secondly, she suggests that although these versifiedtreatises contain long-established mnemonic aids to rote learning, suchas short examples of specific points, they are expository, and as suchdiffer from their predecessors. Thirdly, Law points out that they weresupplanted in the fifteenth century by treatises that use visualpatterns. These three features support the view that grammar studentsworked more independently than in other disciplines, as copies of theverse treatises abound, and there is evidence that they were frequentlyborrowed from libraries. The student learnt his textbook more or less byrote, and applied its lessons both in and outside the classroom. Thislast point is important because these treatises were taught through thevernacular rather than Latin, a technique recommended by Alexander deVilla Dei, who advises the student to learn the Doctrinale by heart, buttells the grammaticus to use the students' vernacular as histeaching medium. This implies that students learnt the rudiments ofpoetic rhetoric in Latin through the vernacular from tutors whoemphasized the importance of versified expression. Accordingly, thefirst redaction of the Leys d'Amors invites the aspiring poet tooverlook his lack of Latin learning (letras) and to concentrate onreading every day, 'recollecting, reciting and memorizing[decoran]' these vernacular rules as a way of acquiring 'lobel lengatge dels trobadors' (Gatien-Arnoult, iv, 294).

It is certain that the Toulouse studium used versified grammarswell before the Graecismus appeared on a list in 1328. The first masterof grammar at the University of Toulouse, John of Garland, inveighedagainst the vogue for such 'readers', but he glossed bothtexts, which strongly implies that he taught them. Elsa Marguin-Hamonhas traced a distinctive Toulousain period in John's output, inthat several of his works were completed in the years after he taughtthere. (27) His Parisiana poetria is particularly striking, as it ismostly dated to the 1220s with a completion date nearer to 1234. (28) AsJohn taught grammar at Toulouse from 1229 to 1232, it is possible toagree with Marguin-Hamon that, despite its firmly declared location inFrench-speaking Paris, the treatise represents much of the teachingmethod he used for his students at Toulouse. The Parisiana poetriasurvives in a mere five manuscripts (none from Toulouse), whichillustrates its lack of success compared to the four hundred survivingcopies of the Doctrinale, but it displays striking similarities to thefirst draft of the Leys d'Amors, notably its insertion of Marianlyrics to illustrate particular rhetorical devices. John'soccasional tags warning the students against the seductions of falsepreaching are germane to the early years of the Toulousain studiumgenerale, that were marked by violent civic unrest and intensivepreaching campaigns. John's other ars poetica, the Exempla honestaevitae, contains internal references to an English student audience, andonce again conjures up a vision of a schoolroom method that played onthe tensions and connections between Latin and vernacular expression.(29)

If the Leys emerge fromthis tension, it remains to be seen whatdirect impact it has on the text. Famously, the Leys d'Amors openwith an exploration of what a troubadour is. Trobar (to find) in Latinversification designates the creation of poetry (Gatien-Arnoult, i, 8).The authors say this is not what they mean at all, for in theirvernacular 'Trobars es far noel dictat. En romans fi becompassat' (Gatien-Arnoult, i, 8: 'Trobar is to make a newpoem in refined, well-controlled vernacular'). To compose a'new' text in the vernacular is not the same as creating inLatin. However the Leys discuss metonymy, one of the daughters ofallebolus, in terms that reveal the complexity of respective definitionsof creation and newness:

La cauza que troba cum es le trobadors. es pauzada soen per lacauza trobada. so es per aquo que troba. o ha trobat. segon quom potvezer ayssi.

 Tala sera si Bertrans mor. Quar Nath de Mons sab tot de cor.

Ayssi pren Nath de Mons per la cosa que trobec. (Gatien-Arnoult,III, 216) The thing [or matter] that finds, as is the troubadour, isoften posited as the thing that is found; that is as whatever finds orhas found, as one can see here: 'It will be dreadful should Bertrandie, for he knows Ath de Mons by heart.' So 'Ath de Mons'is taken to refer to the works he composed.

Here, the example cited appears to muddy the waters, as we areinformed that the works of the troubadour Ath de Mons, who is citedabundantly throughout the treatise as an authority, are contained withinthe living memory of a certain Bertran. The loss of Bertran from theworld of the living will entail the loss of the treatise onversification by Ath de Mons, a terrible event. The ostensible issue,metonymically conflating the dead troubadour Ath de Mons with hiswritten works, is complicated by the fact that these are not a book tobe found in a wooden chest, but are rather enclosed in a mortal chest,which also has to be sought out before it is too late. 'Ath deMons' (man and works) is contained within Bertran, so is it Bertranwho is cited throughout the Leys d'Amors, or 'Ath deMons', the dead troubadour as he was performed by a living man?This example sets the vernacular poet as a mortal figure reliant on oraltransmission, whose works are doomed to oblivion once the human chain ofperformers ends. It also appears to underline trobar as a matter ofunwritten composition. The second example given concerns Noah as the'finder' (trobaire) of a vine created by God (Gatien-Arnoult,III, 216-18). By way of a provocative chain of association,Bertran's mortal memory comes to be set in relation to Ath'simmortal creation.

Vernacular poetry is placed between one fantasy of writtencreativity and another of oral transmission. A further fantasy is thatindividuals may know and gloss vernacular poets as they would a legalcode. In their secular realm, poets may not create but they may derivenew poems from models they have absorbed. Yet this apparent confirmationof a horizontal perception of the relationship between Latin andvernacular writing is less than stable. The first redaction of the Leysd'Amors ends with advice on translating verse from Latin into thevernacular, 'romansar lati per acordansas', (30) and describesit as a matter of careful metrical organization. Movement between Latinand romance vernaculars may consequently be envisaged as a pragmatic andrelatively transparent process. There are signs, however, of amorecomplex picture. As opposed to the direct translation expressed as'romanssar lati', the transferral of meaning and hermeneuticalprocess of translatio appears as a key issue at other points of thetext, especially in the allegorical treatise of the rhetorical vicesthat introduced allebolus, in book iv of the first redaction(Gatien-Arnoult, III, 112-321). John Marshall summarized thisself-contained treatise as follows:

He [Guilhem Molinier] wished to show how the 'vices' (oflanguage or style) which may mar a literary work can also be seen to beconnected with--even give rise to--a whole series of tricks of stylewhich are acceptable and even laudable when used in their proper contextand with a proper literary motive (when Rhetoric has 'madepeace', in fact). He also wished to show connections between thesetricks of style and the traditional flowers of rhetoric (floresrhetorici). (31)

The narrative frame for this subsection is initially clear andtripartite. First comes a psychomachia, next a genealogy, and finally adepiction of a garden in which harmony is restored through the gift offlowers. The structure peters out as the treatise moves into examplesand subcategories among the granddaughters of allebolus. (32) There is agreat war between three kings and three queens. King Barbarisme shootsten arrows at Queen Dictio (the vitia annexa), and King Soloecismeshoots his ten arrows at Queen Oratio (further vitia annexa). FinallyKing Allebolus shoots only one arrow (Improprietat) at Queen Sentensa.'Madona Rethorica' makes peace by marrying each king to thesister of each queen, so that Barbarisme marries Dictio's sisterMethaplasmus and begets fourteen metaplasmi, Soloecisme marriesOratio's sister Scema (also known as 'Alleotheca',allotheta), and begets twenty-two schemata, and King Allebolus marriesTropus and begets thirteen tropi, who in turn produce fifteen daughtersof their own. (33) Allebolus gamely joins Barbarismus and Soloecismus inattacking clear speech, expression, and oratory, but he does not haveten arrows at his disposal. He is credited instead with only onefunction, that of disrupting the sense of a sentence with improperexpression. However, once he is allied with tropus, he may in turn befruitful and produce thirteen equally fertile forms of oratorialdisplay. Allebolus's daughter Allegoria marries 'Alexis, quevol dir estranh parlar' (Alexis, which here means estranh speech),and produces seven daughters, including irony and sarcasm, which are allways of saying something different from the literal sense of the words(Gatien-Arnoult, III, 22-24).

Fruitful marriages are not necessarily happy, and Soloecisme andhis wife Scema are continually at odds because she rails against herhusband's outrageous treatment of her sister Oratio(Gatien-Arnoult, III, 20-22). Peace-making Madona Rethorica picksflowers from her garden to console the offspring of the unhappy marriageof Solecisme and the harmonious union of Allebolus. For example, theflower of rhetoric Translatio is allotted the role of soothing andcheering Allebolus's daughter Metaphora. As the verse summary ofthe text neatly says: 'Metaphora s'alegra trop, Quan veTranslacio de prop' (Flors del gai saber, ll. 4333-34:'Metaphor cheers up enormously when she sees Translatio closeby'). Metaphor even seems to be subordinate to her, as Translatiohas an enhancing function, 'Qar es flors plazens agradiva, Aquestaforma transsumptiva' (Flors del Gay Saber, ll. 5937-38: 'forthis "transsumptive" form of speech is a pleasing, agreeableflower').

Translatio is lifted from the Rhetorica ad Herennium, iv. 21, andmetaphora from the same source (iv. 45) noting that they are synonyms:'Methafora es transumptios o translatios duna dictio que reprezentaautre significat' (Gatien-Arnoult, III, 194: 'metaphor is thetranssumptio or transposition of an enunciation so that it representsanother meaning'), and that both are to be constructed identically,'e fay se Translatios per aquela meteyssha maniera queMetafora' (Gatien-Arnoult, III, 200). (34) Marshall claimed thattaking the Greek and Latin synonyms and treating them as different butcomplementary objects was innovatory. In fact, it is simply lifted fromglosses on the Graecismus, which established connections between words,such as transumptio and metaphora: 'Concordat autem metaphora cumquodam colore rethorico qui dicitur transumptio.' Crucially, onecommentator on the Graecismus also mistakenly identified translatio withthe transferral of meaning from one language to another (the term usedfor this was interpretatio), and established yet another connectionbetween two separate terms (Graecismus, x, l. 72). (35)

Metaphora's impropriety is glossed in terms of linguisticdiversity. To speak poetically of birds singing in their diverselanguages is deemed inappropriate, for languages are spoken only by menand women, but it may be appropriate because languages are diverse(Gatien-Arnoult, III, 198-200). However, Translatio rests on apparently'improper' connections that may be made between human andanimal sounds. A young woman, Berta, is so frail that she barely miaows,'Ta freols es, qu'apenas miula', and only cats are ableto use that particular language (Gatien-Arnoult, III, 202). Metaphordraws attention to the diversity of tongues, and translatio maytranspose the 'languages' of animals into the human realm.Metaphor and translatio in the first redaction of the Leys d'Amorsappear to be complementary, for translatio's ability to transferand to gloss its object from one idiom or context to another is helpfulto Metaphor's transpositions of meaning. The Flors del gay saberadd that translatio breathes new life into dead words (Flors del gaysaber, ll. 5953-54), a sentiment that hints at a less than flatteringview of Latin. Translatio in other texts preserved its other sense of atransfer of power or a usurpation, and it follows that the Leys'svision of transferral of meaning among the offspring of allebolus issurprisingly peaceful. (36)

In this allegory of rhetoric (within which Allegoria is married toAlexis, representative of estranh speech), metaphor appears to dependnot on rhetorical effects alone, but on a heightened awareness of therelationships between styles of expression and languages. Translatio maybe 'transsumptiva' because it also stands for thehermeneutical activity of both performer and audience, as they transposewords into their own subjective and linguistic contexts. Elsewhere, theLeys d'Amors also attempt to reconcile vernacular usage with Latinproscriptions, for example saying that tautology may not be wellregarded, but that it is commonly used in the vernacular. (37) In thesesections, it is evident that there is a more flexible inter-linguisticpolicy at work, aiming not to bend vernacular usage to Latin models, butrather to create a rhetoric in which several registers and severallanguages may work together to produce new poetry.

There is no allebolus in the second redaction of 1356, for book ivwas cut. Yet allebolus is implicitly identified and banished in severalparts of the revised work. The Leys appear to apply a dynamic perceptionof the relation between Latin and vernacular, as well as betweenvernaculars. They rule on the irregular orthography and grammar oftroubadours of the previous two centuries, declaring that the usage ofthe past can be supplemented by regional or colloquial variations in thepresent (Anglade, III, III, 113). There remains one problem, however,and that concerns the vulnerable status of the Occitan Koine itself. Ifthe poet turns to local usage, he may be unpleasantly surprised:

E si per aquel maniera hom no s'en pot enformar, deu recorre ala maniera de parlar acostumat cominalmen per una dyocesi; et aysso esla cauza mas greus cant a dictar en romans que deguna autre que puscamtrobar, quar .I. mot que yeu entendray tu no entendras; et aysso es perla diversitat d'u meteys lengatge quar tu que seras d'unavila, laquals es en Tolza, hauras acostumat .I. mot et yeu que serayd'autra vila laquals sera yshamens en Tolza n'auray acostumat.I. autre et enayssi serem divers. (Gatien-Arnoult, III, III, 113-14)

And if one cannot find it out that way, one should turn to thespeech commonly used in a diocese. And that is the hardest thing of anythat may be found, concerning reciting poetry in romans, because I mightunderstand one word, and you won't understand it. That is becauseof the diversity of a single language, because you, being from onedistrict [vila] in Toulouse, will be used to using one word and I, beingfrom another district, also in Toulouse, will use another, and so wewill differ.

In the first redaction, allebolus arose only within meteyshlengatge. Here, meteysh lengatge is indeed deeply estranh. If theToulousain audience can understand only part of a Toulousain poet'swords, it means that even a poem composed in the Koine, adhering to therules of rhetoric and versification, must be infected by allebolus.According to the second redaction, estranh refers strictly to vernacularwords (Anglade, III, III, 106-08), which means that allebolus may befound in action in troubadour poetry. However, the concept of estranhhas altered slightly, for the revised Leys declare those languagesestranhs that are not allowed to compete in the poetry contests, and donot contain the word 'Oc' or 'O' for'yes', such as French, Norman, Picard, Breton, Flemish,English, Lombard, Navarrese, Castilian, or German. The competitionadmits all the dialects of 'la lenga d'Oc' with a singleexception: 'Pero de nostra leys s'aluenha La parladura deGascuenha' (Anglade, 11, 11, 178-79: 'but the speech ofGascony is distant from our laws'). The inhabitants of Toulouse, infact, include many who have picked up strange linguistic habits fromneighbouring Gascony and other regions (Anglade, III, III, 163-64).Toulouse is like Athens or Rome after the arrival of the inhabitants ofSoloi, those students whose intent pursuit of second-languageacquisition can lead only to the corruption of local speech. Despite itsresonant borrowings of university learning, the second redaction hintsat a fallen city similar in its confusion to the aftermath of the towerof Babel, and the Leys d'Amors start to look like a pointlessmonument to the aspirations of its inhabitants.

The Leys of 1356 mention in passing that 'nostrelengatje' suffers from a limited vocabulary, so the aspiring poetshould turn to Latin for such useful words as, they suggest, soloecisme,scema, and allotheta (Anglade, III, III, 108). Lying unacknowledgedbehind better-established technical terms, allebolus is built fromfragments of an unfamiliar language to refer to the confusing effects oflinguistic obscurity. In that process, language that is estranh isallowed into literary expression via the marriage of metaphor andtranslation. Allebolus highlights the tensions between rhetorical rulesand vernacular expression. It also allows the aspiring poet to considerthe extent to which he may or may not own the language he may considernaively to be his mother tongue. Modern writers on diglossia have notedsuch moments of tension and inconsistency as evidence that literarycomposition may be placed in between the concepts of 'mothertongue' and 'other tongue', in a realm of learned andauthoritative expression that is always seeking official approval. (38)In 'making strange' (or 'making foreign') both Latinand the vernaculars, the Leys also allow them to exist side by side, tofertilize each other, and to produce new and rich flowers of rhetoric.

In conclusion, the conflict between languages in the ToulousainLeys d'Amors should not be viewed unilaterally as a politicizedcase of cultural resistance by Occitan lyric traditions to both Frenchand Latin authority. Rather, it is embedded within the wider emergenceof a university-influenced vernacular rhetoric, through the diffusion ofelementary grammatical and rhetorical teaching. As was proposed in theintroduction, the mantenedors were engaged in a tripartite strategy thatembraced the devotional civic rituals of the French Puys, the courtlygenres of troubadour poetry, and university learning. The Leysd'Amors may be viewed as an enterprise that sought to explore andto develop a sense of the fertile multiplicity of languages, but thatwas marked by moral anxiety over the confusion of tongues.

This is a revised version of a paper presented at the internationalconferenceon 'Troubadours and Knowledge', Villa Spelman (JohnsHopkins University), Florence, Italy, 11-13 May 2006. My thanks toStephen J. Nichols Jr, Daniel Heller-Roazen, Sarah Kay, Tony Hunt,Philip Bennett, Marianne Ailes, and Rodney Sampson for their commentsand suggestions.My thanks also to the University of Bristol and theLeverhulme Trust for the funding that enabled me to produce this paper.

(1) Las Leys d'Amors: manuscrit de l'Academie des JeuxFloraux, ed. by Joseph Anglade, 4 vols (Toulouse: Privat, 1919-20), i,book i, 9-13. Further references to this edition, identified as'Anglade', are given in the text.

(2) On Puy poetry see Gerard Gros, Le Poete, la Vierge et le Princedu Puy: etude sur les Puys marials de la France du Nord du XIVe siecle ala Renaissance (Paris: Klincksieck, 1992); and Gros, Le Poeme du PuyMarial: etude sur le serventois et le chant royal du XIVe siecle a laRenaissance (Paris: Klincksieck, 1996). See also Denis Hue, La Poesiepalinodique a Rouen (1486-1550) (Paris: Champion, 2002).

(3) Among the many studies devoted to this subject, see inparticular the books by John Hine Mundy, notably The Repression ofCatharism at Toulouse (the Royal Diploma of 1279) (Toronto: PIMS, 1985),and the recent study by Nicole M. Schulman, When Troubadours wereBishops: The Occitania of Folc of Marseille, 1150-1231 (New York:Routledge, 2001). On the singular civic status of the Consistory seeRichard Schneider, Public Life in Toulouse, 1463-1789: From MunicipalRepublic to Cosmopolitan City (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press,1990).

(4) See the thorough if biased writings on the subject by AlfredJeanroy, Histoire sommaire de la poesie occitane des origines a lafinduXVIIIe siecle (Toulouse: Privat, 1945); 'La poesie academiquea Toulouse au xive et xve siecles, d'apres le "Registre deGalhac"', Revue des Pyrenees, 26 (1914), 273-94; La Poesielyrique des troubadours, 2 vols (Toulouse: Privat, 1934), 11, 347-64. Animportant summary may be found in Histoire generale de Languedoc avecdes notes et les pieces justificatives, ed. by Dom Claude Devic and DomJ. Vaissete, with additions by Ernest Roschach and A. Molinier, 16 vols(Toulouse: Privat, 1874-1904), x (1885), 177-208 (note xxxvii by CamilleChabaneau, for chapter x of book xxx).

(5) The city of Toulouse preserves two redactions of the Leysd'Amors, both of which were transferred from the archives of theAcademie des Jeux Floraux (housed at the Hotel d'Assezat) to theToulouse Bibliotheque d'E tude et du Patrimoine (BEP, formerly theBibliotheque Municipale de Toulouse) in 2005. The earlier draft in fivebooks (formerly MS Toulouse Archives de l'Academie des Jeux Floraux500.007, now catalogued as Toulouse BEPms. 2884), was edited byAdolphe-Felix Gatien-Arnoult, Monumens de la litterature romane, i-III:Las Flors del Gay Saber, estier dichas las Leys d'Amors, 3 vols(Paris: Silvestre Bon; Toulouse: Privat, 1841-43). Subsequent referencesto this edition, identified as 'Gatien-Arnoult', are given inthe text. A new edition by Beatrice Fedi of this manuscript and of arelated copy in Barcelona is forthcoming. Fedi has published severalsignificant articles: see e.g. 'Per un'edizione critica delle"Leys d'Amors"', Studi medievali, 40 (1999), 43-118,and 'Il canone assente: l'esempio metrico nelle "Leysd'Amors" fra citazione e innovazione', Quaderni difilologia romanza, 14 (1999), 159-86. The second draft in three books(formerly 500.006, now Toulouse BEP ms. 2883) was edited by JosephAnglade (see n. 1 above). The verse epitome of the first redaction,extant in a manuscript in Barcelona, is Las Flors del Gay Saber, ed. byJoseph Anglade (Barcelona: Institut d'Estudis Catalans, 1926).

(6) Anglade, Las Leys d'Amors, iv, 40, citingHistoire generalede Languedoc,vIII, col. 1187. The text is from Pope Gregory IX, bull'Parens scientiarum', 13 April 1231: 'nec loquantur inlingua populi et populi linguam hebream cum Azotica confundentes'(reproduced online in Bibliotheca Augustana,<> [accessed 1 November 2007]).

(7) Jean Batany, 'Une boutade renardienne au xivE siecle: lesclercs et la langue romane', in Grammaires du vulgaire: normes etvariations de la langue francaise, ed. by Christopher Lucken andMireille Seguy (=Medievales, 45 (2003)), pp. 85-98 (p. 90); SergeLusignan, Parler vulgairement: les intellectuels et la langue francaiseaux XIIIe et XIVe siecles (Paris: Vrin; Montreal: Presses del'universite deMontreal, 1986), pp. 35-47.

(8) Lusignan, Parler vulgairement, pp. 11-12, 39-40, 94, 173-78.See also RenateHaas, 'Femina: Female 'Roots' of'Foreign' Language Teaching and the Rise of Mother-TongueIdeologies', Exemplaria, 19.1 [special issue in Honor of SheilaDelany], ed. by Lynn Arner (forthcoming, 2007).

(9) Serge Lusignan, La Langue des rois au Moyen Age: le francais enFrance et en Angleterre (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2004),pp. 40, 46, 74-79, 97-99, 140-44.

(10) John Edwards, Multilingualism (London: Penguin, 1995), p. 12.

(11) Fedi, 'Il canone assente', pp. 161-62.

(12) Justine Landau, 'Figures of Grammar and Rhetoric in LasLeys d'Amors', Tenso: Bulletin of the Societe Guilhem IX, 19(2005), 1-18.

(13) Toulouse Bibliotheque d'Etude et du Patrimoine, ms. 2884,fol. 105R (my transcription).

(14) Olga Weijers, Dictionnaires et repertoires au Moyen Age: uneetude de vocabulaire (Turnhout: Brepols, 1991), pp. 87-88. See Fedi,'Il canone assente', p. 162.

(15) Improprietas: see Anne Grondeux, Le 'Graecismus'd'Evrard de Bethune a travers ses gloses: entre grammairespeculative et grammaire positive du XIIIe au XIVe siecle, StudiaArtistarum, 8 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2000), p. 368. For an edition of theunglossed text, based on only a small number of its 250 manuscripts, seeGraecismus, ed. by Johannes Wrobel (Breslau: Koebner, 1887; repr.Hildesheim: Olms, 1987).

(16) John H. Marshall, 'Observations on the Sources of theTreatment of Rhetoric in the Leys d'Amors', MLR, 44 (1969),39-52 (p. 39).

(17) Anglade discusses the sources, iv, 65-66 and 83-85. On theseand other sources, notably the importance of Albertano da Brescia, seeNicolo Pasero, 'Sulle fonti del libro primo delle Leysd'Amors', Studj Romanzi, 34 (1965), 125-85. A'derivation' is a method, and the reference may be to PeterHelias's Liber derivationum, but Uguccionewas also known as'derivator'; see also 'textus derivarii' for theMagnae derivationes in a source dated 1350 (Weijers, Dictionnaires etrepertoires, pp. 56 and 76-78).

(18) Bernard Colombat and Irene Rosier-Catach,'L'allothete et les figures de construction dans le Catholiconde Johannes Balbi', Archives et documents de la Societed'Histoire et d'Epistemologie des Sciences du Langage, 2ndser., 4 (1990), 69-161 (p. 96).

(19) Uguccioneda Pisa, Derivationes, ed. by Enzo Cecchini, GuidoArbizzoni, and others, Edizione nazionale dei testi mediolatini, 11, 2vols (Florence: SISMEL, Edizioni del Galluzzo, 2004), 11, 42, for allon(A 140 2): 'et ab allon et thesis, quod est positio, dicitur hecallotheta'. It should be noted that less popular texts such asConrad of Mure's Graecismus novus (c. 1244) might have containedinventive neologisms (Grondeux, Le 'Graecismus' d'Evrardde Bethune, p. 28).

(20) Marshall, 'Observations on the Sources', p. 39.

(21) Grondeux, Le 'Graecismus' d'Evrard de Bethune,pp. 40, 215-19.

(22) Bolus: '.i. morsellus ul' bolus iactus'(Johannes Balbus, Catholicon, first printed edition (Mainz: 1460; repr.Farnborough: Gregg International, 1971). Uguccione, Derivationes, 11,130-31, B 82, cites amphibolia (amphi plus bole) as 'ambiguitassententie'.

(23) Grondeux, Le 'Graecismus' d'Evrard de Bethune,p. 300.

(24) Irene Rosier-Catach, 'La tradition de la grammaireuniversitaire medievale', in Manuscripts and Tradition ofGrammatical Texts from Antiquity to the Renaissance, ed. by Mario DeNonno, Paolo De Paolis, and LouisHoltz, 2 vols (Cassino: Edizionidell' Universita degli Studi di Cassino, 2000), 11, 449-98; citedby Grondeux, Le 'Graecismus' d'Evrard de Bethune, p. 231.

(25) Colombat and Rosier, 'L'allothete et les figures deconstruction', pp. 159-61. Other medieval versions of this ancienttale state that the only city affected was Rome, drawing on Isidore,Etymologiae, i. 33 ('De soloecismis'). For a latetwelfth-century example see Vito Sivo, 'Le Introductiones dictandidi Paolo Camaldolese (testo inedito del sec. xii ex.)', Studi ericerche dell'Istituto di latino, 3 (1980), 69-100 (p. 94).

(26) Vivien Law, 'Why Write a Verse Grammar?' Journal ofMedieval Latin, 9 (1999), 46-76.

(27) Elsa Marguin-Hamon, L''Ars lectoria Ecclesie'de Jean de Garlande: une grammaire versifiee du XIIIe siecle et sesgloses, Studia Artistarum, 2 (Turnhout: Brepols, 2003), 3-11, 63-66.John says of his Dictionarius of c. 1225, 'textum hujus libri fecitParisius, glosas Tholose' (p. 66). See also Grondeux, Le'Graecismus' d'Evrard de Bethune, pp. 14-17.

(28) The 'Parisiana Poetria' of John of Garland, ed. byTraugott Lawler, Yale Studies in English, 182 (New Haven, CT, andLondon: Yale University Press, 1974); for a revised dating, see the Arslectoria Ecclesie (also known as the Accentarius, dated 1234) in whichJohn lists the Parisiana poetria among his earlier works (Marguin-Hamon,L''Ars lectoria Ecclesie', p. 7, discussing ll. 1500-11).

(29) Edwin Habel, 'Die Exempla honestae vitae des Johannes deGarlandia, eine lateinische Poetik des 13. Jahrhunderts',Romanische Forschungen, 29 (1911), 131-54.

(30) Gatien-Arnoult, iv, 374-77; Flors del Gay Saber, ll. 7565-615.

(31) Marshall, 'Observations on the Sources', p. 40. SeeLandau, 'Figures of Grammar and Rhetoric'.

(32) Marshall ('Observations on the Sources', p. 42)reads the allegory as a development on Martianus Capella, butallegorical schemescan be foundin more recent texts, such as EberhardtheGerman's Laborintus (an ars poetria of the thirteenth century).According to Marguin-Hamon (L''Ars lectoria Ecclesie'),John of Garland uses such allegories in his Ars lectoria Ecclesie,copied from Henry of Avranches's Comoda gramatice (c. 1214), suchas the daughters of Grammar (ll. 1414-28) and the triumph of Syntax overher sisters (ll. 1406-13) (Ars lectoria Ecclesie, pp. 95-110, 121-22,291-98).

(33) Allebolus's daughters are Metaphora, Cathacrezis,Methalensis, Methonomia, Anthonomazia Epytheton, Synodoche, Omothopeya,Perifrasis, Yperbaton, Yperbole, Allegoria, and Omozeuzis(Gatien-Arnoult, III, 22-24).

(34) On the importance of this colour of rhetoric, see WilliamRussell, 'Transsumptio: A Rhetorical Doctrine of the ThirteenthCentury', Rhetorica, 5 (1987), 369-410.

(35) 'Sed translatio est de greco in latinum ut si inveniaturaliqua dictio apud Grecos vel tractatus aliquis et cognoscatursignificatio eius, tunc aliquis ponit latina vocabula idemsignificantia' (Grondeux, Le 'Graecismus' d'Evrardde Bethune, pp. 250 and 330); see also Weijers, Dictionnaires etrepertoires, pp. 80-83.

(36) See Zrinka Stahuljak, 'Jean Froissart's Chroniques:Translatio and the Impossible Apprenticeship of Neutrality', in ThePolitics of Translation in the Middle Ages, ed. by RenateBlumenfeld-Kosinski, Luise von Flotow, and Daniel Russell (Tempe:Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies; Ottawa: Universityof Ottawa Press, 2001), pp. 121-42.

(37) Marshall, 'Observations on the Sources', pp. 50-52,citing Gatien-Arnoult, III, 36.

(38) Rainier Grutman, 'La logique du plurilinguisme ou, unelangue en vaut-elle une autre?', in LiterarischeMehrsprachigkeit/Multilinguisme litteraire, ed. by Georg Kremnitz andRobert Tanzmeister (Vienna: Belvedere, 1995), pp. 53-65.



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Languages in conflict in Toulouse: las leys d'Amors. (2024)


What language do they speak in Toulouse? ›

While French is the official language of Toulouse and all of France, English has also made its presence felt.

Why is Occitan endangered? ›

Why is Occitan Endangered? Occitan was the main language in Southern France many centuries back, during the time of the troubadours. Eventually, French was declared the official language of France, and speaking other languages was heavily discouraged or even forbidden.

What two languages are the street signs in Toulouse in? ›

The streets in Toulouse have signs in two languages, first French and then Occitan, the traditional language of southern France. Like other regional languages in France, Occitan was long suppressed, ridiculed and sometimes even forbidden by the French central government.

Do they speak English in Toulouse? ›

Can you speak English in Toulouse? Absolutely! I always began, and recommend you do the same, in French.

Why was Occitan banned? ›

To help efface traditional regional identities, the Occitan language was not merely discouraged but actively suppressed. School pupils were punished well within living memory for speaking their native language on school premises.

Does anyone still speak Occitan? ›

Occitan dialects are a result of the Latin influence on the language of the southern Gauls, whereas French has stronger Frankish influences. Of the 14 million inhabitants of the Occitan region, it is estimated that 600,000 people are fluent, whilst 1,600,000 individuals are occasional speakers.

Can French people understand Occitan? ›

Up to seven million people in France understand the language, whereas twelve to fourteen million fully spoke it in 1921. In 1860, Occitan speakers represented more than 39% of the whole French population (52% for francophones proper); they were still 26% to 36% in the 1920s and fewer than 7% in 1993.

Why is Toulouse so famous? ›

Settled on the banks of the Garonne River since the Iron Age, the Old Town at its heart is home to many museums and historical religious buildings. Toulouse is very famous for its food, including specialties such as cassoulet and foie gras that you can sample in many restaurants in the city center.

Does Flemish sound like French? ›

They both have different (and some the same) loan words, the accent and word usage is slightly different and Flemish in general has more French influence. The most prominent differences aren't any of these, though, but mainly within the pronunciation.

What are people from Toulouse called? ›

Toulouse Tolosa (Occitan)
Demonym(s)English: Toulousian French: Toulousain(e) Occitan: tolosenc(a)
Time zoneUTC+01:00 (CET)
• Summer (DST)UTC+02:00 (CEST)
INSEE/Postal code31555 /
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