The poetics of literary ‘regifting’ in the Latin East

Yolles, J. (Guest lecturer)

Activity: Talks and presentationsConference presentations


This paper centers on the culture of literary patronage in the twelfth- and thirteenth-century Latin East, with a focus on the Levant. While patronage of the visual arts and of deluxe manuscript production in this area has received a fair amount of scholarly attention, the dynamics between authors and patrons have largely remained unexamined. Through a series of short case studies (Raoul of Caen’s epic/encomium, the pilgrim guide of Rorgo Fretellus, the chronicle of William of Tyre, and John of Antioch’s French translation of ancient rhetorical treatises), the paper argues that the relatively high rate of mobility in the Latin East—in both geographical and social terms—stimulated authors to display a surprising degree of versatility in adapting their literary works to their various prospective patrons. This paper represents the first effort to identify patterns of literary patronage in the Latin East and concludes with a discussion of how the increased role of institutional literary patronage in the thirteenth century, e.g., by mendicant and military orders, may have led to greater stability in author-patron relationships.
Period3. Jun 20214. Jun 2021
Event titleThe Poetics of Occasional Literature in the Eastern Mediterranean and Beyond (11th to 17th c.): A Cross-Cultural Approach: null
Event typeWorkshop
LocationStockholm, Sweden


  • literary patronage
  • crusades
  • Latin East
  • Latin literature
  • occasional literature