Flores och Blanzeflor and the Orient: Depicting the other in medieval Sweden


  • Virgile Reiter Paris-Sorbonne University


Flores och Blanzeflor, Eufemiavisorna, Crusades, Swedish Medieval Literature, Courtly Culture, 14th century Scandinavia, Floire et Blanchefleur


This article aims to explore the representation of the Other in Flores och Blanzezflor, a 1312 translation of a French ‘“roman idyllique”’, Le conte deFloire et Blanchefleur. As most of the action takes place in the Orient and as many of the main characters are pagan, including one of the main protagonist, Flores, Flores och Blanzeflor offers an opportunity to analyze how the Other was depicted in medieval Scandinavia. I argue in the present article that, probably influenced by the Germanic tradition, the translator chose to depict both the Orient and its inhabitants in a rather positive light. This Other, who appears to be almost the same as the society of the text’s audience, allows to address the anxiety caused by the recent military success of the Saracens, an anxiety that seems to affect the Scandinavian elite despite their remoteness from the frontlines.