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The adventures of Tristan’s father, Méliadus, are narrated in the eponymous Roman – a prequel to the stories of King Arthur and his court. Like the legend of King Arthur (a childhood favourite, and a deep-rooted part of our culture), the story features a brave knight who faces physical challenges, moral dilemmas, and lays the scene for the next generation.
The earliest known full copy of the tale is a manuscript of 288 exquisite leaves, produced in northern Italy around 1320. (It was showcased in an exhibition held at the University of Cambridge Library in 2014).
This extraordinary treasure once belonged to the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, and is now on the verge of being rehomed again. For the past few years the manuscript was on loan at the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College (Cambridge, UK), and could be consulted by scholars.
But now after all his trials and victories King Méliadus faces a true threat: it could be lost to scholars, and to our shared European heritage. The text of this manuscript is still unpublished, and only a few partial and poor-quality microfilms of it exist.
To keep this from happening the Fondazione Ezio Franceschini ONLUS (FEF) is gathering support to ensure that this masterpiece will stay in Europe and continue to be accessible to scholars and to the public.
The FEF is a non-profit research institute based in Florence, and reunites some of the leading international scholars in the field of medieval studies. It has championed the cause of bringing the Roman de Méliadus and the whole Guiron cycle to which it belongs to a broad audience – starting with a modern edition of the text.
The FEF is going all in, but the manuscript is expected to fetch a price of 250,000.00 euros, and this sum is beyond the Foundation’s means. If the crowdfunding is successful, the FEF will immediately digitise the manuscript and make it universally accessible online, as well as giving the manuscript a safe home.
As a non-profit, all donations to this cause are eligible for tax deduction (for italian donors, see here).
Lino Leonardi (CNR-OVI), Richard Trachsler (University of Zurich), PLs of the “Guiron Project”
Source : Fondazione Ezio Franceschini