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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000499.txt from 2010/11

From: Michael Nichols <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Cloud Cuckoo Land
Date: Mon, 29 Nov 2010 22:07:24 -0500

Hmm... That's very interesting. I actually first became acquainted
with the term "Cloud-Cuckoo-Land" from reading a translation of
Carmina Burana some years ago where they translated "cucaniensis" as
"of Cloud-Cuckoo-Land." It's a similar idea to "Cockaigne," even if
it comes from a different etymological source, so I can see how it
might be translated that way, even if "Cockaigne" is closer to a
literal translation.

Doing a brief web search revealed a possible explanation/connection
that Wikipedia does not address. The book "Dreaming of Cockaigne:
Medieval Fantasies of the Perfect Life" by Pleij and Webb [on Google
Books] suggests that "cucania" is a pun on the words "Cockaigne" and
"cuckoo" (or, I suppose, the Latin version, cuculus) intended to
suggest Aristophanes' "Cloud-Cuckoo-Land." (see

Another translation of Carmina Burana on Google Books translates it as
"I am the abbot of Cuckoo-Ninny." (see

If I'm reading between the lines correctly, the fact that
"cucaniensis" is spelled with a "u" rather than an "o" makes
"Cockaigne" a somewhat imperfect translation, since apparently
"Cockaigne" with an "o" already existed in French before being
Latinized into "cucaniensis." "Cucaniensis" sounds like "cuckoo" and
"Cockaigne" at the same time.

She don't lie, she don't lie, she don't lie.....Cockaigne. :-)
(apologies to Eric Clapton)

On Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 7:38 PM, Doug Sears <> wrote:
> For a different take on the meaning of cucaniensis, see
> The writers of that article (and the one on Cloud Cuckoo Land) either don't
> believe there's a connection between Cucania/Cockaigne and Cloud Cuckoo
> Land, or haven't noticed the connection if there is one.
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