Léger comme le Faon, Fort comme un Lion : Nouvelles Considérations sur "La Compétition des Poètes" : la Mise en Abyme du Poète dans le Troisième Cahier de Sefer Ha-meshalim de Yaâkov Ben Eléazar de Tolède

Translated title of the contribution: Swift as a fawn, strong as a lion: New considerations on “The Poets’ Competition”: the poet’s mise en abyme in the third tale (maḥberet) of Sefer ha‑meshalim by Yaakov ben Eleazar of Toledo

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to analyze the status of the poet in the third tale (maḥberet) of Sefer ha-Meshalim, by Yaakov ben Eleazar, written in the thirteenth century. This examination focuses on the very thin line between reality and fiction, as is reflected in the tale. The tale describes a competition between Lemuel (the narrator and protagonist of the tale but also the alter‑ego of Yaakov, the “historical” author) and the poet’s rival. Their challenge is to improve a verse written by Yemima (a poetess, the protagonist of another tale) by composing a verse on the same subject with the same number of images, and then to continue the contest by increasing the number of metaphors. Through this competition, the readers are introduced to a representation of the poet, caught between the anguish of failure and his confidence in his talent, eager to be recognized by the public. The article analyses these features based upon the staging of the competition, the names given to the characters, the interpretation of selected metaphors and the technical virtuosity demonstrated at each stage, as well as the status of each of the figures, especially that of the poetess.
Translated title of the contributionSwift as a fawn, strong as a lion: New considerations on “The Poets’ Competition”: the poet’s mise en abyme in the third tale (maḥberet) of Sefer ha‑meshalim by Yaakov ben Eleazar of Toledo
Original languageFrench
Pages (from-to)205-221
JournalYod : revue des études hébraïques et juives
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

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