In a poststructuralist study of 13th-century French historical texts, Gabrielle Spiegel investigates the reasons for the rise of French vernacular prose historiography at this particular time. She argues that the vernacular prose histories that have until now been regarded as royalist were actually products of the aristocracy, reflecting its anxiety as it faced social and economic change and political threats from the monarchy.;Spiegel suggests that this turn to prose - the language of "truth" - is tied to the desire of a threatened elite to authenticate its claim to historical legitimacy. Additionally, it worked to distinguish the vernacular chronicle from earlier Old French literary forms such as epic and romance, against which the vernacular prose historiography created its generic identity.
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