The Charrette Project


"A complex, scholarly electronic archive containing the entire Old French manuscript tradition of Chretien de Troyes's Le Chevalier de la Charrette (Lancelot) – a narrative poem of some 7100 octosyllabic rhyming lines that survives in eight complete and/or fragmentary mss. The text of each ms. is being encoded diplomatically according to the SGML-TEI Guidelines. Further markup will be added indicating various rhetorico-poetic procedures (e.g., chiasmus, rich rhyme, adnominatio, oratio recta). In addition, the text of the Foulet-Uitti edition of the poem (Classiques Garnier) is provided in both SGML-TEI format and in rather more readable ASCII form. Line numbering of the transcriptions are pegged to that of the Foulet-Uitti edition. We have (to date) digitized images in color of all the manuscripts but one, and this last ms. is, I am informed, on its way. By this coming fall we hope to have the entire ms. tradition and the transcriptions on line.

A complete grammatico-lexical analysis of the Foulet-Uitti edition is in the process of construction; through cross-references based on line numbers this analysis can be brought to bear on each, or all, of the textual transcriptions. Other experimental search programs are also being developed at the present time. Two of these look especially promising from a literary historical perspective; the database will also be useful in future descriptions of `courtly' literary vocabulary and poetic syntax.

The database, which includes 13th-c. rubrication and several illuminations, should be of interest to codicologists and art historians. Chretien's poem dates from ca. 1180, the mss. date from around 1220 to ca. 1290. Consequently the modifications inevitably brought to bear on Chretien's lost text reflect in interesting ways the changing roles attributed to literary artifacts in the vernacular at the very apogee of the High Middle Ages.

The database will include detailed descriptions of each of the mss., as well as pertinent literary-historical information and, when necessary, poetico-literary commentary.

A number of active and innovative French scholars and research centers have expressed interest in the Charrette Project – the Poitiers-based Centre d'Etudes medievales, the Institut de recherche et d'histoire des textes (CNRS), the "Dictionnaire du moyen francais," etc. Some scholars have indicated a desire to collaborate with us. We hope, eventually, that our efforts will lead to construction of larger Old and Middle French language a literature databases."

– Karl D. Uitti


"Modest sums from a bequest to the Princeton University Department of Romance Languages and Literatures made by the late Alfred Foulet have allowed us to purchase colored slides of mss. and to pay graduate assistants (PhD students – for the most part doing graduate work at Princeton in medieval French) who have done most of the paleographic transcribing. Some travel assistance has been provided for the Project Director, K.D. Uitti, by the Princeton University Committee on Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. But lack of major funding has seriously slowed down our progress – no leave time or reduced teaching, no summer funding...

Funding for summer travel and released teaching time have been made available to Gina Greco by her home institution, Portland State University, which at all stages of the Project has supported it, as well as collaborated with Princeton University in its realization."

– Karl D. Uitti


Karl D. Uitti
The John N. Woodhull Professor of Modern Languages
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
Princeton University
NJ 08544
Rene Pellen
Professeur émérite de Linguistique Espagnole
Maison des Sciences de l'Homme
99, avenue du Recteur Pineau
86022 Poitiers cedex

Last recorded change to this page: 2007-09-20  •  For corrections or updates, contact