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French Special Collections: Bodleian Special Collections (French)

Bodleian Special Collections - Introduction

Many older French works can be found in the Bodleian. For instance, the Bodleian had the original manuscript of the Chanson de Roland. Digby 23, the oldest manuscript of the oldest major work of French literature which was written in Anglo-Norman in the 12th century. The Bodleian also has a fine collection of early French illuminated manuscripts including two early copies of Le roman de la rose . One of these illuminated MSS is 14th century (1348) and the other one is late fifteenth century. The Bodleian Library has a number of named collections which contain important and very rare French items. Notable among these collections is the Douce Collection and the Par Collection. The Douce collection is particularly rich in the writings of the Anglo-Norman and French writers of the 13th and 14th centuries including a volume of the songs of the Troubadours, copies of the Bestiaire by Guillaume le Normand and Richard de Furnival and of the Fables of Marie de France.