Marian Devotion in Thirteenth-Century French Lyric

Marian Devotion in Thirteenth-Century French Lyric

DANIEL E. O’SULLIVAN
Copyright Date: 2005
Pages: 270
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442677043
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    Marian Devotion in Thirteenth-Century French Lyric
    Book Description:

    Texts centred on the mother of Jesus abound in religious traditions the world over, but thirteenth-century Old French lyric stands apart, both because of the enormous size of the Marian cult in thirteenth-century France and the lack of critical attention the genre has garnered from scholars.

    As hybrid texts, Old French Marian songs combine motifs from several genres and registers to articulate a devotional message. In this comprehensive and illuminating study, Daniel E. O?Sullivan examines the movement between secular and religious traditions in medieval culture that Old French religious song embodies. He demonstrates that Marian lyric was far more than a simple, mindless imitation of secular love song. On the contrary, Marian lyric participated in a dynamic interplay with the secular tradition that different composers shaped and reshaped in light of particular doctrinal and aesthetic concerns. It is a corpus that reveals itself to be far more malleable and supple than past readers have admitted.

    With an extensive index of musical and textual editions of dozens of songs,Marian Devotion in Thirteenth-Century French Lyricbrings a heretofore neglected genre to light.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7704-3
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction: Secular and Religious in Medieval Culture
    (pp. 3-10)

    This is a book about expressions of devotion to a unique woman: the Virgin Mary. Texts centred on the mother of Jesus abound in religious traditions the world over. I have chosen to study only a small part of this panegyric tradition, Old French lyric poems of the thirteenth centry, for two reasons. First, the cult of the Virgin showed signs of unprecedented growth in thirteenth-century France: the building of cathedrals dedicated to Mary, like Notre-Dame de Paris and Chartres; the promulgation of Latin liturgical materials in the form of masses and offices; the foundation of lay confraternities of artisans...

  5. chapter one Gautier de Coinci’s Marian Poetics of Familiar Strangeness
    (pp. 11-32)

    Gautier de Coinci (c.1177–1236), prior of Vic-sur-Aisne from 1214 to 1233, was the first important composer of Old French songs to the Virgin. These come incorporated into hisMiracles de Nostre Dame, a vast collection of vernacular Marian narrative miracles and lyric songs. In order to understand the beginnings of Marian lyric, we need to understand the place of the lyrics in the larger project of theMiraclesand their relation to the work’s prologues, narratives, and prayers. In so doing, we realize that the communicative speech act at the core of Old French Marian lyric works to bring...

  6. chapter two Thibaut de Champagne, Genre, and the Medieval Taste for Hybrids
    (pp. 33-53)

    Gautier’s lyrics belong to a religious poetics of conversion and citation, but Thibaut de Champagne (1201–53) composed a more aesthetically playful religious poetry. This playfulness manifests itself especially at the level of genre, for genre has guided, and sometimes befuddled, the king of Navarre’s medieval compilers and modern editors alike. Axel Wallensköld’s early twentieth-century edition and Kathleen Brahney’s more recent edition both arrange Thibaut’s songs in a nearly identical order according to their perceived genre: first his love songs, then his debate songs, and then other genres –chansons de croisade,pastourelles, etc. – and finally his devotional songs andlai...

  7. chapter three Voicing Marian Devotion in Women’s Devotional Song
    (pp. 54-73)

    The Marian songs of Gautier and Thibaut are cast in voices that purport to speak for all humanity, but there are devotional songs, a number of which are Marian, sung in a specifically female voice. How do such songs differ from male-voiced songs? What might such differences entail? One similarity, as the editors of the recentSongs of the Women Trouvères(hereafterSWT) point out, is that ‘the nonliturgical devotional songs of the trouvères are closely modeled on the secular repertoire, sharing its vocabulary, metaphors, and motifs, as well as its forms’ (Doss-Quinby et al. 164). On one level, this...

  8. chapter four Jacques de Cambrai, Distinctive Traditionalism, and Kaleidoscopic Contrafacta
    (pp. 74-92)

    Jacques de Cambrai, a little-read poet about whom we know nothing outside his seven devotional songs, fourchansons d’amour, and onepastourellewas active most likely in the third quarter of the thirteenth century at a time and in a place where the Marian lyric tradition was in full bloom.¹ Although hardly innovative in the current sense of the word, Jacques exploited the tradition to its fullest. I should point out that traditional does not necessarily mean staid or static; on the contrary, as we shall see, Jacques made choices of form, theme, and model that render his lyric production...

  9. chapter five Rutebeuf: Beyond the World of Marian Song
    (pp. 93-113)

    It may strike some readers as strange that I include Rutebeuf in this study of thirteenth-century lyric. In the strictest sense of the word ‘lyric,’ Rutebeuf did compose within the tradition I am studying. Although none of Rutebeuf ’s Marian poetry survives with accompanying melodies indeed most of it was not meant to be sung to this rule, there is an exception: ‘C’est de Notre Dame’ adheres to a traditional style of composition and relies heavily on courtly love song and Latin liturgical materials for its formal and thematic properties. Rhetorically, the text relies onannominatio, a figure familiar to...

  10. Conclusion: Contrafacture and Cultural Exchange
    (pp. 114-116)

    I have shown in the preceding pages that Marian devotion in Old French song may very well have drawn on secular and Latin forms and motifs, but vernacular Marian song is anything but staid and static. Quite to the contrary, a dynamic interaction between the religious and secular lies at the very heart of this poetics. The birth of Old French Marian lyric in the devotional and dogmatic context of Gautier’sMiraclesis only a starting point for a genre that would come to know many variations throughout the thirteenth century. Thibaut fully integrates religious song into his wider courtly...

  11. Appendix of Textual and Musical Editions of Songs and Poems
    (pp. 117-220)
  12. Notes
    (pp. 221-238)
  13. Bibliography
    (pp. 239-258)
  14. Index
    (pp. 259-263)