The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #35994   Message #4130381
Posted By: GUEST,Thierry M.
29-Dec-21 - 09:47 PM
Thread Name: Le Roi Renaud
Subject: RE: Le Roi Renaud
in addition to "Guest"'s comment above (twas meself, so it was!), may I venture some extra info/comments;
this singer has collated some interesting versions;

the classic onthological study in French is George/s Doncieux's (c.1900) which can be read/dowloaded from; or the BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France)

the main thread on mudcat (which I wasn't aware of when I posted my first contribution -mudcat's such a maze!) is;

as for the Anglo v. Franco contemporary interest/s in magic, dear Levana Taylor, I am not sure what to answer, better seek one from a bona fide anthropologist?
(that, I am not) ...
In my sense, the French people -both individually and as a whole- seem to be immuned to much religious and religiosity concepts and discussions (an example that comes to mind is when Leyla McCalla sung her poignant and very personal "Mersi Bondyé" to a Parisian audience recently; they weren't too impressed and even -somewhat predictably- sniggered regardless of the cultural and conjectural differences between Haiti and France they should have been aware of), etc; The French public's historical point of reference is the French Revolution/Enlightment and all its historical politico/socio/spiritual consequences which they are usually not aware of as a historicaly derived LOCAL phenomenon. They take this atheistic world view for granted and expect other people to yield to this view point. Any magic in this context is purely anecdotal, exotic, poetical or decorative. Something that ceases to exist when the novel's last page is turned. For example, the first belief to be dispelled is Santa Claus; effortlessly and at a rather young age in France (c.6-9 year old VERSUS up to 11 year old in England/Ireland/USA which can be explained by the sustained mystification efforts of the community which would seem like a betrayal of trust, a sort of child abuse, to many French children and adults)
Any other belief is soon seen as naive or irrational in metropolitan France. Contempory efforts to comprehend and recast the world in a religious or magical way are usually tactlessly even bluntly dismissed and this situation rarely allows for a poetical or truely agnostic approach. Even a temporary consensus is hard to achieve. Silence (polite or otherwise) is prefered. There are different trends of course. This is where an ethnological approach would come in handy. Politicians and Quack 'Specialists' of all shades certainly can take hold of the public's imagination and aspirations as 'magically' in France as in England or the US, as the recent evolution shows...
Does this 'answer' make sense?
An aspect of 'Anglo' culture which seems to feed a certain trend towards a reappropriation of magic in England/etc is a playful and consensual approch to life (as I see it, au risque de simplifier dangereusement, I would say that those qualities are lacking in the French)
To go back to Le Roi Renaud, it is interesting to note that the 1950's singers who launched it back into the air were more often than not associated with the existentialist or communist movements...
The French seem to prefer the term "(ré)enchantement" to "magi(qu)e".
That post-war effort to reposess what was yours (autonomy, spirit, heritage, style) against both the evil German occupation and the malignant or subversive, encroaching "Américanisation" can be understood as a journey of exploration of the meanings of desillusion/re-enchantment in the aftermath of defeat (actually!), somewhere along the here and now of "Il n'y a plus d'après à Saint-Germain des Prés"/"Je hais les dimaches" and the equally iconic "Le Roi Renaud"/"Pauvre Rutebeuf" which reinvested meaning in old tropes and rhymes.