Partonopeus de Blois: an Electronic Resource

"Partonopeus de Blois" was one of the most popular romances composed in the 12th century, and played a key role in the development of Old French narrative literature. Analysis of the text is complicated by the fact that it exists in a number of different versions, which are difficult to study using a conventional printed edition. This project has produced an electronic resource that allows researchers to read and compare all the different versions in detail, without having to work from the original manuscripts (held in libraries from Yale to the Vatican) or microfilms. Flexible access to the full text of all the manuscripts makes it much easier for scholars to explore how and why the different versions of the poem came to be produced. This will help us to understand more clearly the ways in which medieval French texts were “edited”, adapted and rewritten to suit different audiences and changing circumstances. Our on-line edition also provides searching software that will enable scholars to carry out much more sophisticated investigations of "Partonopeus" than has been feasible hitherto, opening up the possibility of new insights into its literary technique and linguistic features as well as the development of its manuscript tradition.


Principal investigator
Professor Penny Eley
Principal project staff
Dr Penelope Anne Eley; Dr Penelope Caroline Simons
Start date
Saturday, September 1, 2001
Completion date
Sunday, May 1, 2005
Source material
The edition provides full semi-diplomatic transcriptions of the text of "Partonopeus de Blois" in medieval manuscripts (12th to 14th centuries) held in the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris; the Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal, Paris; the Bibliothèque municipale, Tours; the Burgerbibliothek, Bern; the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana, Vatican City; the Beinecke Rare Books Library, Yale University; and the Parker Library, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.

Penny Eley, Penny Simons, Mario Longtin, Catherine Hanley, Philip Shaw, eds, "Partonopeus de Blois" : An Electronic Edition (Sheffield: HriOnline, 2005) at

Penny Eley, Catherine Hanley, Mario Longtin and Penny Simons, ‘"Cristal et Clarie" and a lost manuscript of "Partonopeus de Blois"’, Romania, 121 (2003), 329-47.

Mario Longtin, Catherine Hanley, Penny Eley, eds, "Partonopeus in Europe: An Old French Romance and its Adaptations", special issue of Mediaevalia, 2005