§ 49. Mistral was accused of separatism; it was not the regionalist snake that lurked beneath these flowers, but the apocalyptic dragon, the Albigensian Tarasque. But, like Alighieri, Mistral was playing a comedy. When he was asked where he had got the word ‘félibrige’, which he used to baptise the renaissance of Provençal poetry, he never wanted to say, even though he knew absolutely. With concealed ingenuity, he took refuge behind a joke and said that he had picked up the word for its picturesque quality from an old hymn sung by his mother – unknown in the region – which spoke of the ‘Seven Félibres of the Law’. He even recited a timely stanza for the occasion. It’s not hard to recognise in it the seven troubadours who promulgated the Laws of Love and who had no place in a Catholic hymn. § 50. And it would be on this vague, obscure word, without precise consistency, that the renewal of southern poetics would have been founded. Mistral and Mathieu, who had been indoctrinated by Roumanille and taught at Dupuy’s Provençal school, formed a small group who had studied good Greek and Latin literature, and they knew perfectly well […]

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