Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

and Art. 
And fo the difpute continues, but unfortunately the latter part has been 
loft with a leaf or two of the manufcript. I will only add that I think 
the age of this curious piece has been overrated." 
Hrotfvitha is the earlieit example we have of mediaeval writers in this 
particular clais of literature. We find no other until the twelfth century, 
when two writers flourifhed named Vital of Blois (V italis Blqfiargfis) and 
Matthew of Vendome (Mattlzwus V irzdocinenfis), the authors of feveral of 
the mediaeval poems diitinguiibed by the title of comoediaz, which give us 
a clearer and more diftinct idea of what was meant by the word. They are 
written in Latin Elegiac verfe, a form of compofition which was very popular 
among the media-zval fcholars, and confift of {tories told in dialogue. Hence 
Profeifor Ofann, of Gietfen, who edited two of thofe of Vital of Blois, gives 
them the title of eclogues (eclogze). The name comedy is, however, given 
to them in manufcripts, and it may perhaps admit of the following expla- 
nation. Thefe pieces feem to have been firft mere abridgments of the 
plots of the Roman comedies, efpecially thofe of Plautus, and the authors 
appear to have taken the Latin title of the original as applied to 
the plot, in the fenfe of a narrative, and not to its dramatic form. Of 
the two "comedies" by Vital of Blois, one is entitled "Geta," and is taken 
from the "Amphytrio" of Plautus, and the other, which in the manu- 
fcripts bears the title of " Querulus," reprefents the " Aulularia " Of the 
fame writer. Independent of the form of compolition, the fcholaiiic 
writer has given a iirangely mediaeval turn to the incidents of the claliic 
fiory of Jupiter and Alcmena. Another fnnilar " comedy," that of Babio, 
which I firtt printed from the manufcripts, is {till more mediaeval in 
character. Its plot, perhaps taken from a fabliau, for the mediaeval 
writers rarely invented ftories, is as follows, although it mutt be confefied 
that it comes out rather obfcurely in the dialogue itfelf. Babio, the hero 
of the piece, is a prieft, who, as was {till common at that time (the 
if This singular composition was published with notes by M. de Montaiglon, in a 
Parisian journal entitled, "L"!-Xmateur de Livree," in 1849, under the title of 
" Fragment d'un Dialogue Latin du ix" siecle entre Terence et un Bonflbn." A 
Few separate copies were printed, of which I possess one.  



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