In the British Museum contains eighteen chansons of the cycle.
The cycle of twenty or more chansons which form the geste of Guillaume reposes on the traditions of the Arab invasions of the south of France, from the battle of Poitiers (732) under Charles Martel onwards, and on the French conquest of Catalonia from the Saracens.
1170) in Foucon de Candie (Candie = Gandia in Spain ?) is the return of Guillaume from the battle; and the Italian compilation I Nerbonesi, based on these and other chansons, seems in some cases to represent an earlier tradition than the later of the French chansons, although its author Andrea di Barberino wrote towards the end of the 14th century.
The chansons de geste of the cycle of Guillaume are: Enfances Garin de Monglane (15th century) and Garin de Monglane (13th century), on which is founded the prose romance of Guerin de Monglane, printed in the 15th century by Jehan Trepperel and often later; Girars de Viane (13th century, by Bertrand de Barsur-Aube), ed.
The conclusions arrived at by earlier writers are combated by Joseph Bedier in the first volume, "Le Cycle de Guillaume d'Orange" (1908), of his Legendes epiques, in which he constructs a theory that the cycle of Guillaume d'Orange grew up round the various shrines on the pilgrim route to Saint Gilles of Provence and Saint James of Compostella - that the chansons de geste were, in fact, the product of 11th and 12th century trouveres, exploiting local ecclesiastical traditions, and were not developed from earlier poems dating back perhaps to the lifetime of Guillaume of Toulouse, the saint of Gellone.
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