The tournament of Antechrist

Links to manuscripts of Huon de Méry’s narrative poem.


Huon de Méry’s Tournament of Antechrist is a fairly widely copied poem, the last item in Douce 308, the manuscript I’ve been working for a while, and a relatively frequent bookmate with Richard de Fournival’s Bestiaire of Love (which I’ve also been working on for a while). It’s an interesting mix of courtly tournament, Prudentian Psychomachia (although Prudentius is not mentioned), anti-heretical tract, political statement, dream-vision, and Chrétien de Troyes fan fiction (because the narrator gets lost in the forest of Brocéliande trying to find the fountain described in Yvain, which he does find and then makes the same error of disturbing the water). The narrator also name-checks the now more obscure author, Raoul de Houdenc

AF-Pn fr.1593. f.186r-207v (new/red foliation on gallica, starts 189r) starts with rubric, but space for an initial or illumination is only filled by Claude Fauchet’s 16thC identification of the author. In this source, the poem nestles in among some pretty obscene poems.

B. F-Pn fr.12469, f. 72. This is MS D of the Bestiaire d’amours, which is the first item in the manuscript and is followed by Goussin de Metz’s Image du Monde. Huon’s poem is followed by a list on the last folio of the MS of the sons of ‘Jehan Biese le viel’.

C. F-Pn fr.24432, f. 184ra-198Gb (black-and-white microfilm only). ff.194-5 missing. Part of a large collection of items including works by Rutebeuf, Jean de Saint-Quentin, Jean de Condé, Watriquet, and Marian items, . Full listing on Arlima.

D. F-Pn fr.25407, f. 213ra-244va [black-and-white microfilm images only)]. Huon’s poem comes last in a collection that includes a version of Goussin de Metz’s Image du Monde, works by Marie de France and Philippe de Thaon, as well as vernacular renderings of the Creed and Lord’s Prayer.

E. F-Pn fr.25566, f. 182v-207v; = TrouvW; Bestiaire d’Amours MS A; Renart le Nouvel MS V.  A large collection of items, notably the works of Adam de la Halle. A full listing is found on Arlima.

L. GB-Lbl Harley, 4417, f. 142r-170v. A 14thC manuscript containing only Huon’s poem, preceded by Le livre Sydrac. As far as I can tell (the BL search being unforthcoming and the website loading slowly today), this is not online.

O. GB-Ob Douce 308, f. 250r-283v. This is also Bestiaire d’amours MS O and Trouvère MS I. Huon’s work shares an illuminator with Richard’s but it is not assured that either were part of the original ordering of this book.

[R] Reims, Bibliothèque municipale, 1275, f. 71r-87r. This MS has works by Baudouin de Condé, Rutebeuf, and Raoul de Houdenc as well as many anonymous works. Full listing here. As far as I can tell, this source is not online.

[S] Stockholm, Kungliga biblioteket, Vu 22, f. 185r-237v. This 15thC manuscript is Machaut MS St and contains fixed-form poetry by Villon, Alain Chartier, Deschamps, Machaut, Christine de Pizan, Charles de Orléans, and others and is important for having a rare unnotated transmission of Machaut motet texts (both upper voices of M8). 

[T] Torino, Biblioteca Nazionale Universitaria, L. V. 32, f.2-23. This manuscript, with extensive contents including works by Rutebeuf, Baudouin de Condé, Raoul de Houdenc, and others, was sadly destroyed in the library fire of 1904 but is partially transcribed in F-Pn Moreau 1727, although not, it seems, Huon’s poem.

[V] Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, 2602, f.1r-23v.  This MS from 1403 transmits Huon’s work first, followed by ballades and serventois, a work by Renaut de Louhans, and then more ballades and Love Questions.

My notes also say there is a copy in the Vatican library,  1361, but I’m not sure if that’s a date or a shelfmark and I can’t find any details on this. Do email me if you work it out!

Modern Editions

1851. Tarbé, [Louis Hardouin] Prosper. “Le Tournoiement de l’Antéchrist” par Huon de Méry(-sur-Seine). Reims.

1888. Wimmer, Georg, ed. “Li Tornoimenz Antecrit” von Huon de Mery, nach den Handschriften zu Paris, London und Oxford. Vol. 76. Elwert. [The original and still the best!]

1976. Bender, Margaret O. Le Torneiment Anticrist by Huon de Méri: A Critical Edition. Romance Monographs: University of Mississippi, 1976. Not completely clear that this is really ‘critical’. It certainly isn’t as good as Wimmer 1888.

1995. Orgeur, Stéphanie, ed. Huon de Méry, “Le tournoi de l’Antéchrist” (Le Tornoiemenz Antecrit): Texte établi par Georg Wimmer. 2nd entirely revised edition ed. Vol. 13. Orléans: Paradigme, 1994 [actually 1995]. This is a lightly re-touched version of Wimmer’s edition, without the extensive notes and with a facing-page modern French translation.

Clearly there’s a gap in the market here for a modern critical edition, perhaps one online so that the very different passages in the different versions are more easily able to be seen and taken seriously than they are when relegated to Wimmer’s footnotes and small-text critical notes. And there’s certainly a gap in the market for an English translation, especially now there’s a translation of the Raoul de Houdenc works that Huon cites.

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