Bilingual Edition of the Love Songs of Bernart De Ventadorn in Occitan and English: Sugar and Salt

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This work contains the 43 Old Occitan texts of the extant works of 12th century troubador Bernart de Ventadorn, each with a poetic translation, a literal translation, and notes and commentary. It also includes musical transcriptions of the 18 melodies extant, including 5 with singable translations, and an introduction on Ventadorn’s life and times. Includes CD
Foreword by Occitan scholar Nathaniel B. Smith
Preface by award-winning translator Burton Raffel


“…there is a succinct introduction setting out the essential social and poetic traditions in the twelfth century which will help readers in their perusal of the texts and translations…. The translations are not unattractive and the modern free verse contains some notable successes…. this is a lively and welcome addition to the popularizing literature relating to the troubadours.” – Medium Ævum

“…the double translation satisfies both the philologist and the musicologist, not to speak of the modern reader who is presented with a smooth and polished rendering of Bernart’s poetry and also with the rough working document…. The introduction offers a wealth of fundamental information about courtly literature and could well be recommended to student readers.” – Mediaevistik

“… [an] eminently worthy, conscientious, and imaginative presentation…. In the spirit of revealing this world-class poet through subtle and attentive layers of text and translation, Ronnie Apter has shared with us his words and music: all those who already know or soon will know him must be grateful.” - Nathaniel B. Smith, author of An Old Provençal Primer and Figures of Repetition in the Old Provençal Lyric

“…a useful and valuable book. Its introduction, well researched and quite readable, offers a wealth of information about Bernart’s world and about the courtly love of which he sang….The compact disc accompanying this informative and well-researched volume contains two sets of performances. The first illustrates diverse theories of how Bernart’s songs might have sounded….The second set of performances offers Apter’s rhymed translations set to medieval musical pitches…Both sets of performances offer a valuable mise au point of the thorny problem of medieval performance practices….Ronnie Apter’s book will doubtless prove a useful tool for both teachers and scholars. It presents a great deal of information about Bernart, his life and times, and his powerful poetry – all in a very readable format. Apter herself makes a valuable and valiant attempt to capture and re-create the living reality of a real human voice which rang out eight hundred years ago. In this she is partly successful. Translators will be alarmed. Poets will not be disappointed.” - Speculum

“Deeply (and professionally) musical, Ronnie Apter has … [given us translations] which act as a kind of key, opening for us the door that truly leads backward in time… As is so often the case with good translators, we are Ronnie Apter’s debtors as well as, now, her readers.” – Burton Raffel, Distinguished Professor of Humanities, winner of the French-American Foundation’s 1991 Translation Prize for his version of Rabelais’s Gargantua and Pantagruel.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Social Structures of the 12th Century
Courtly Love
Bernart de Ventadorn
The Songs in This Book
About the Recording Accompanying This Book
Signs and Symbols Used in This Book
The Love Songs of Bernart de Ventadorn
Appendices: Spelling and Pronunciation
Glossary of Terms Works Consulted
Indices of First Lines: Arranged by Pillet-Carstens Number
Arranged by Lazar Number
Arranged Alphabetically
First Lines of Songs with Free Verse Translations
First Lines of Songs with Singable English Translations
First Lines of Songs with Non-Mensural Musical Transcriptions
First Lines of Songs with Mensural Musical Reconstructions
Index of Subjects and Authors

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