Chaucer & His French Contemporaries

Chaucer & His French Contemporaries

JAMES I. WIMSATT
Copyright Date: 1991
Pages: 378
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctt2ttr4f
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Chaucer & His French Contemporaries
    Book Description:

    Chaucer and His French Contemporariessynthesizes Winsatt's work on Chaucer's French connections over the past twenty-five years, particularly his studies and editions of Machaut.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7286-4
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. CHAPTER ONE Natural Music in Middle French Verse and Chaucer
    (pp. 3-42)

    At the conclusion of W.B. Yeatsʹs well-known lyric,Sailing to Byzantium,the aged speaker, having left behind the ʹdying generationsʹ of the natural world, pictures himself ʹout of natureʹ and arriving at the ʹholy city of Byzantium.ʹ Once there, he declares, he will not take his ʹbodily form from any natural thing,ʹ but will assume a form like that of a bird made by goldsmiths from hammered gold and enamelling – such a bird as serves ʹto keep a drowsy Emperor awakeʹ or to sing ʹTo lords and ladies of Byzantium / Of what is past, or passing, or to...

  5. CHAPTER TWO Poetry in the English Court before Poitiers (1356): Jean de le Mote
    (pp. 43-76)

    When Chaucer began court service in London in the late 1350s, the mode of French poetry that was in the ascendancy was thoroughly lyric in origin and spirit. Its typical subject was love, and its typical forms were those known as the formes fixes – the ballade, rondeau, virelay, chant royal, and the lay. The mode also was manifested in the longer dits amoureux, which are characterized by emotiveness and discontinuity, and for the most part are analysable as strings of lyric passages. By far the most important writer in the mode was Guillaume de Machaut (c. 1300–77). Though...

  6. CHAPTER THREE Chaucer and Machaut: Man, Poet, Persona
    (pp. 77-107)

    In the theoretical introductory chapter on ʹnatural music,ʹ the poetry of Guillaume de Machaut logically provided the main illustrative materials. His verse compositions, long and short, established the norm for the court mode through most of the Middle French period. And since he was the greatest of the poet-musicians, we might well expect to find the most impressive and authentic display of natural music in his work. At the same time, the earlier discussion of various lyrics of his and ofRemede de Fortunewas oriented towards explanation of the mode, in no way supplying the systematic treatment of his...

  7. Representations of the Poet, the Persona, and the Audience in Middle French Manuscripts
    (pp. 108-108)

    The following pages present a set of twenty-one manuscript illuminations found in codices belonging to the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris. All of the miniatures depict some stage in the poetic process – patronage, production, presentation, and audience – of which the Middle French poets were particularly conscious. Except for several sumptuous collections of Machautʹs poetry, the manuscripts of fourteenth-century French love poetry were not highly illustrated. It was not until the works of Christine de Pisan (represented in no 8), who wrote most of her poetry in the early years of the fifteenth century, that comparable artistic effort was expended...

  8. [Illustrations]
    (pp. None)
  9. CHAPTER FOUR Machautʹs Oeuvre and Chaucerʹs Early Poems
    (pp. 109-140)

    The several manuscript collections of Machautʹs poetry made at different times in his life tell us a great deal about the development of his writing career from the 1340s until his death in 1377; however, they leave us mostly in the dark as to the course he followed in his first forty years. Much of his young adulthood was spent following the peripatetic King Jean of Bohemia, and of his numerous datable works only one was written before 1342.¹ These circumstances indicate that the greater part of his extant poetry and music was composed after he settled down as canon...

  10. CHAPTER FIVE Machaut and His Tradition: Troilus, the Legend, and the Tales
    (pp. 141-173)

    Though Chaucer is particularly renowned today for his narrative powers, he began writing poetry in the style of the consummately lyrical Middle French court literature. First coming under the influence of writers like Jean de le Mote in Edward iiiʹs London, and then leading or joining the crowd who adopted Guillaume de Machaut as mentor and model, he was essentially a lyric poet right up to his composition ofTroilus and Criseyde. The complaint poems and the dream poems indeed have stories, but they are stories that dramatize and give focus to the lyric-matter rather than dominating as in a...

  11. CHAPTER SIX Chaucer and Jean Froissart
    (pp. 174-209)

    Despite Machautʹs potentially repressive dominance in young Chaucerʹs literary world, all evidence suggests that the English poet willingly accepted him as poetic father, and never came to reject his influence; his later adoption of other models did not involve rebellion. The character of faithless Criseyde constitutes no critique of Machautʹs poetry, which on occasion also presents faithless women; in the apology for her that is implicit in theLegend, Chaucer with good humour simply presents the standard, more edifying, type of woman from the mode. TheCanterbury Talestoo embodies no reaction against the court verse. The ʹGeneral Prologueʹ begins...

  12. CHAPTER SEVEN Chaucer and Oton de Granson
    (pp. 210-241)

    For the royal government in London and for citizens of England, the wedding trip of Lionel of Clarence to Milan in the spring of 1368 marked a change in the political and social climate that was far from happy. As the party made its grand progress across France to Italy, no one could realize how far down on her wheel Fortune shortly would carry the English and Edward iii. The bridegroom was to die in Italy in October; back in England Blanche of Lancaster would die in September, Queen Philippa the next August; thereby Edwardʹs second son and the two...

  13. CHAPTER EIGHT Chaucer and Eustache Deschamps
    (pp. 242-272)

    The inclusive bibliography of Chaucerʹs sources lists thirty-nine different works of Eustache Deschamps that scholars have presented as offering significant parallels to Chaucerʹs poetry.¹ With such professional testimony to the relationship of the two poetsʹ works, it is somewhat surprising to find that no one of the parallels that has been cited is so close that we can say thatin this caseChaucer was surely following Deschamps, or vice versa. In all cases the similarities that are alleged, whether in conception, plan, or wording, are inconclusive, and attractive alternatives of filiation exist. This is not to say that Chaucer...

  14. CHAPTER NINE Natural Music in 1400
    (pp. 273-292)

    It suits the Procrustean tradition of literary historians, who like to divide materials into time segments of one century, that the deaths of Chaucer and Richard ii neatly close off the great age of Ricardian poetry in 1400. Langland and the Gawain Poet had disappeared by the end of the century, and if Gower lived on into the fifteenth century (until 1408) it was only for a few less productive years, which can be safely ignored. So also in France the major disciples of Machaut – Froissart (died c 1404), Granson (1397), and Deschamps (c 1406) – faded from view...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 293-350)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 351-364)
  17. Index
    (pp. 365-378)