Abigail Richards

“Much like his Father, but his Mother more”: Comus and the Circean Revels of the English Court, 1614-1634

The first performance of Ben Jonson's Pleasure Reconciled to Virtue at Whitehall in 1618 coincides with the dramatic début of the character of Comus on the English court stage. Originally a Greek God of festivity, the spirit to whom, as Philostratus declared, “men owe their revelling”, the case for a relationship between the appearance and trajectory of Comus's character in Jonson's masque, and contemporary debates about the virtues and vices of the art form itself, has been well made. In 1634 Comus was cast again, this time as the infamous arch-villain of John Milton's Mask at Ludlow Castle. Milton invents for his character a significant mythological back-story, attributing his parentage to Bacchus and – more surprisingly – Circe, “the daughter of the Sun”.

In this paper I argue that Milton's allusions to the absent figure of Circe as Comus's mother positions the Mask within a tradition of courtly entertainments inaugurated by the French Balet Comique de la Royne and continued across the channel with William Browne's Inner Temple Masque (1614) and Aurelian Townshend's Tempe Restored (1632), performed at the courts of James I and Charles I respectively. While the dramatic interest of these masques derives from a nominally oppositional relationship between the figure of the dark enchantress and the monarch, the metamorphosis of Circe's character across this period reflects an evolution and destabilisation of power structures at court. This served, ultimately, to both invigorate and endanger an art form traditionally commissioned and conditioned by sovereign authority. I suggest, then, that Milton's alliance in his Mask of Circe with Comus, the figure synonymous with revelling, should be seen as an act both nostalgic and radical. In light of the civil unrest of the following decade, Milton's portrayal of the “Circean” nature of courtly entertainment in his masque of 1634 seems decidedly portentous.

Ada Maria Kuskowski

Mistress Custom in Courtly Satire: Performing the Anxiety of Norms in the Later Middle Ages

The legal process, venal-tongued lawyers and corrupt judges were increasingly the subjects of satire as the later Middle Ages wore on. From the twelfth-century escape-artist trickster Renart to the fifteenth-century shyster lawyer Pathelin, the court case or sensational trial often formed a dramatic climax in medieval storytelling. Such culminating moments revealed the failings of justice, the hypocrisy of those involved in the process, and the trickery that had so ably disguised itself as professionalized knowledge. These moments also revealed something fundamental about the terms in which the law was understood and how this understanding was challenged over time. 

The Ur-norm of the medieval court was custom. Litigants came to court ready to allege what had been done before in order to argue that it should be done again. From the twelfth century onward, however, university graduates trained in Roman law began to threaten the preeminence of custom by questioning its basic validity—for instance, they denigrated the inherent instability of custom while lauding the clear rationality of the Code and Digest. This paper will examine satire in France between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries to see what it can tell us about changing perceptions about the nature and validity of custom in the secular courts. While laughter pointed at the law courts had an ever-expanding place in medieval entertainment during this period, the target of the laughter shifted from the supercilious bookish Romanist to the country bumpkin lawyer. Custom still “vanquished law” by the end of this period, but that in itself was now a laughing matter.

Albertus Besamusca

Jason and Hercules in Antwerp

On November 8, 1521, the Antwerp printer Jan van Doesborch published Van Jason ende Hercules (Of Jason and Hercules), that promises the reader on its title page many interesting stories about Jason, including his quest for the Golden Fleece and his love for Medea, and about Hercules, who destroyed Troy twice. Just one month later, on December 12, 1521, Doesborch completed printing Die historie vanden stercken Hercules (The Story of the Strong Hercules). In my paper I will discuss these two editions, paying attention to their textual sources, made by the French author Raoul Lefèvre around 1460 and the Dutch printer Jacob Bellaert around 1485, and their illustrations, that are partly imitations of the striking woodcuts of the so-called Bellaert Master. I will focus in particular on the various ways in which Doesborch linked these editions in an attempt to increase his sales.

Alexandra Sterling-Hellenbrand

sî jehent, er lebe noch hiute: Places of Imagination in/and Medieval German Courtly Literature

In his recent study Places of the Imagination: Media, Tourism and Culture, Stijn Reijnders expands Nora’s concept of _lieux de memoire_ to include physical locations that serve as a more symbolic anchor not for collective memory but rather for the collective imagination of a society. These are locations where visitors continuously negotiate meaning, where the “symbolic difference” between imagination and reality is constantly “being (re-) constructed by those involved.” (Reijnders 13-14)

In this paper, I wish to explore the representation of German courtly literature in the visual arts as a means to create such places of the imagination; thus, the artistic rendering of literary scenes or figures can be understood as a kind of courtly pastime (along with the later viewing of or participation in that rendering). Hartmann von Aue’s prologue to _Iwein_ extols the virtues of King Arthur, for example, praising his deeds and prowess for the audience who ought to follow his example. The material from Hartmann’s early thirteenth-century romance _Iwein_ soon took shape in the murals at Rodenegg (before 1230) and at Schmalkalden (after 1230). This rapid adaptation from text to mural suggests that the story captivated its audience to the extent that people wanted to “live” with the story, to inhabit the same space as the narrative and the figures in it. 

The murals at Rodenegg and Schmalkalden use images from courtly narratives to offer their audiences a virtual reality (Wandhoff), where the visitor (user) can be fully immersed in the environment, control individual experience, be part of King Arthur’s court. Using these and other examples from the German context, I posit further that such virtual reality becomes tangible courtly pastime, when text is transformed to decorate public or private spaces (murals), to create sculptures or other decorative objects. Literal and physical proximity to King Arthur’s knights, in these places of imagination, enabled medieval courtly audiences to affirm cheerfully and resoundingly that Arthur and his knights live with them today, as the imagined past and the real present co-mingle: “si jehent, er lebe noch hiute.” (Hartmann, _Iwein_).

Anne Berthelot

Savoir ce que jouer veut dire

Jeux d'échecs... sur des échiquiers magiques qui "matent" tous les joueurs sauf une(e) élu(e); caroles "enchantées", mirages suscités par la magie d'un Merlin ou d'un Guinebaut, ou pièges auxquels se prennent, encore une fois, tous les chevaliers sauf le sauveur prédéterminé; "brachets", "chiennets", dotés d'attributs magiques comme (peut-être) Husdent et (à coup sûr) Petitcrû, ou d'une valeur symbolique comme celui de la Châtelaine de Vergi, ou les lévriers plus fidèles qu'une femme dans les romans de Gauvain: en règle générale, on a l'impression que les activités de loisirs, ou les animaux familiers, n'obtiennent droit de cité dans le monde arthurien que lorsqu'ils sont porteurs d'une "senefiance" qui les dépassent. Cette communication s'attachera à étudier la façon dont ces objets, créatures et activités sont en quelque sorte instrumentalisés, et cherchera à déterminer s'il existe des exceptions à cette règle.

Bert Beynen

Good and Evil in Shota Rustaveli’s The Man in the Panther Skin

Shota Rustaveli wrote his approximately 6,000 line epic poem _The Man in the Panther Skin_ around 1200 CE in Georgia, the Caucasus. Both the poem and its narrative have courtly beginnings: the poem is dedicated to Queen Tamar, for whom Rustaveli confesses his hidden love, a contradiction as the poem has been memorized and recited through the ages. The narrative begins when Queen Tinatin sends Avtandil, her lover and commander in chief on a quest, during which our heroes twice kill opponents in an unheroic and cowardly way. The first time the killing is wrong, but the second time an almost identical murder is presented as right. This pattern of two similar actions, one wrong and one right, is repeated: the characters commit adultery, and abdicate; in paired events with one right and the other wrong. Right and wrong are based on utilitarian principles: right is what brings order in society; wrong is what causes chaos. This ‘End Justifies Means’ approach is connected to the reign of Queen Tamar (1184-1213 CE). Tamar’s claims to the throne were not strong: her cousin Demetre had stronger claims as he was the male descendant of Davit V while Tamar was a daughter of Davit V’s younger brother Giorgi III. The poem is an ex post facto justification of Tamar’s reign when Georgia reached its largest size ever and was, after the Fourth Crusade ravaged Constantinople, the major Christian kingdom of the east. Katouzian finds a similar approach in the Shahnameh, where successful uprisings are retroactively interpreted as a sign of farr, divine grace, an example of Iranian influence in _The Man in the Panther Skin_.

Bonnie Millar

‘And neide and made miche pride’: Learning from Horses in Middle English Romances

Horses feature in many functionary roles in Middle English romances facilitating activities ranging from travel, to hunting and combat. However, their significance goes far beyond the merely utilitarian as they convey valuable lessons to their human colleagues. In 'The Wedding of Sir Gawain and Dame Ragnelle', the loathly lady’s palfrey helps her establish her presence, as does the huge size and greenness of the Green Knight’s steed in 'Sir Gawain and the Green Knight'. Horses in 'Sir Orfeo' project strength with the fairy king and all his entourage presenting an imposing image in all their mounted glory. These attributes of strength and presence are tempered by the qualities of loyalty, caring and protecting one’s colleagues and kindred. Indeed, in 'Beues of Hampton' Beues’ loyal horse will let no one other than his master ride him. Equine interactions test knights’ chivalry and courtesy with Baldwin and Kay both shamed for their treatment of the Carl’s foal, and Gawain lauded, in 'Sir Gawain the Carle of Carlisle'. This paper intends to explore the non-verbal communication of horses with knights and courtiers through which the human agents are guided in social dynamics and leadership.

Carol Chase

syntax and translation

This paper is part of a Round Table honoring Glyn Burgess, organized by Jane Taylor.

Carol Dover

The Wounding of the Deer in Marie de France’s ‘Guigemar’: A Medieval Veterinarian Perspective

Marie de France’s Lais count among the most accessible and most captivating examples of vernacular fiction in twelfth-century French. Marie composed them for a courtly, aristocratic audience for whom deer-hunting was a prominent pastime. In her opening lai, ‘Guigemar,’ the young eponymous knight shoots a female deer ("une biche"). The wound itself must be profound because it is fatal and causes almost instantaneous death, though not before the creature curses him and the arrow exits from her body and wounds him in return. Unlike the deer, he survives… The wounding of the deer has been fair game for scholars, editors and translators alike, who have chosen either the creature’s hoof or its antlers as the site of the wound. This paper reopens the question of the site of the deer’s wound with data gleaned from veterinary sources known to Marie and her medieval audience(s) and substantiated by scientific evidence today. In this context, Marie’s choice of lexicon reveals her acquaintance with such “specialized” knowledge and will have precise implications for the thematics of the tale.

Carol Jean Chase

The Rubrics in the Estoire del Saint Graal: a Study of Chantilly, Musée Condé 643

In the early 15th-century manuscript of the _Estoire del Saint Graal_ held in Chantilly (Musée Condé 643), blank spaces have been left for illustrations that were never completed. However, most of the rubrics preceding the missing miniatures have been filled in. Some resemble those in other codices. This paper seeks to answer the following questions: What can the rubrics tell us about the iconographic program intended for Condé? What information can they provide about the manuscript tradition? Finally, what can they tell us about reception?

Catherine Blunk

Un pas de trop at the Court of Burgundy? Defining the Pas d’armes

The pas d’armes was a courtly chivalric event par excellence. But what exactly is a pas d’armes? What are its defining characteristics? Why do scholars differ on whether certain chivalric events that can loosely be defined as tournaments were indeed pas d’armes or not? For example, did the jousts at Saint Inglevert constitute the first pas d’armes? Were the events held by René d’Anjou at Nancy and Châlons-sur-Marne in 1445 to celebrate his daughter’s wedding to the king of England pas d’armes, or were they simply jousts? Why do medieval chroniclers themselves use different terms to describe these events? Did the jousts held for the Feast of the Pheasant in Lille in 1454 by Philip the Good of Burgundy constitute a pas d’armes? Some scholars refer to these jousts as Le Pas du Chevalier au Cygne, yet others do not. How can the examination of fifteenth-century works of courtly literature, including romance, chivalric biography and chronicle, inform the answers to these questions? How can the mise-en-page of medieval manuscripts and their illuminations inform our understanding of the pas d’armes? In this presentation, I will address these questions while focusing in particular on the question of whether or not members of the Burgundian court enjoyed a pas d’armes at the Feast of the Pheasant.

Christopher Callahan

Debate Poetry as Courtly Entertainment

Trouvère poetry is at its most personal and anecdotal in the debate genre. Debates are by definition dialogic, and by that criterion alone well-suited to performance. While the theme of such debates is fin’amor, decidedly of interest to courtly audiences, the topics explored by the debate partners take the listener behind the carefully balanced expression of desire and restraint that characterizes love song to reveal the comic and often contradictory attitudes behind its construction. The tone of the exchange can vary, furthermore, from respectful to teasing to invective and the fine points of love casuistry under scrutiny run the full gamut from the philosophical to the ribald. Both debate partners are often – though not exclusively – lyric poets, and for the most part male, though female protagonists shift the locus of power in the male-female or female-female debates we have inherited. Of the thirteen debate songs attributed to Thibaut de Champagne, eleven are with men, one with Thibaut’s dame, and one with Amor herself. These discussions bring to life the social fabric of lyric poetry, as they reveal a complex network of poets and poetic performance. In addition, they offer a refreshing variety of attitudes concerning the courtly world’s most cherished subject. Both of these factors played a significant role in enhancing the entertainment value of lyric debates for courtly audiences. 

This paper will focus on Thibaut’s debate songs as performance, bringing to life with gesture and voice the interaction between debate partners as they discuss a variety of approaches to love. The humor in the debates, whatever the tone of the exchange, is found as much in the way the interlocutors respond to each other as in the things they say. The examples discussed will be illustrated by members of Liber Ensemble in collaboration with the presenter.

Christopher Clason

Courtly Pastimes and Nature in Gottfried’s Tristan: “Reading” Ecology and Hybridity.

In Gottfried von Strassburg’s epic poem Tristan and Isolde, many of the most significant plot events occur during courtly pastimes, especially at tournaments, during hunts, or while the courtiers are spending leisure moments simply relaxing. Furthermore, many of these incidents take place in natural environments, where the courtly world comes into contact with the ecology of the Middle Ages, and where individuals must adjust to a different system of signs, perceptions and meanings than that which is valid within the walls of the court. Such contacts between courtiers and the natural environment result in either a harmonious blending of the two orders (to the individuals’ advantage) or in a dissonant clashing (which usually brings negative results). 
In this paper I would like to examine five events in which the courtly comes into contact with nature during scenes that present some aspect of courtly pastimes. Several involve animals that represent hybridity – usually combining features of a domestic animal with one that is wild or exotic, evincing both courtly and natural characteristics, and thereby providing symbolic support for the events that transpire. Furthermore, the environment, in contact with the court and courtiers, presents its own visual signs and symbols which both affect, and symbolize the import of, the actions that occur. 
One of the most important skills underlying success or failure in the natural environment lies in an individual’s ability to perceive and decipher natural signs. One sees cause and effect, meaning, intentionality, etc. in courtly spaces differently than one does in the natural world. Tristan and Iseult are particularly adept at “reading” both courtly and natural signs, and also at manipulating interpretation, which enables them to carry on their affair with relative impunity.

Courtney Wells


In his Razos de Trobar, Raimon Vidal explains that not just professional poets and entertainers, but everyone in medieval Catalonia takes the greatest delight in composing lyrics in Occitan, including kings, dukes, and vavassors. Some one hundred years later, Jofre de Foixà, writes that, at the time of Jaume II of Aragon's court in Sicily, emperors, kings, princes, and dukes enjoy spending their time composing poetry in Occitan. In this paper, I will analyze the poetry and courts of Catalan monarchs, such as Alfonso II and Peter III of Aragon, in order to call into question the widely accepted thesis that these rulers, as well as others in the medieval Mediterranean, composed in Occitan in order to ingratiate themselves with their Occitan-speaking subjects. Through an examination of the use of Occitan as an international and literary language in Catalan and Italian courts, I argue that these monarchs chose their language of poetic composition for literary rather than political reasons. Rather than a tool for political advancement, the Occitan language figures in these monarchs' works as the "natural" language for lyric composition, a poetic idiom that has an essential and generic tie to the work being composed. Therefore in this reexamination of why these monarchs adopted a "foreign" language to compose their works, I will touch on the multilingualism of the medieval Mediterranean and reexamine modern notions of "foreign" and "native" languages to argue that, rather than being a foreign language to medieval Catalans, Occitan was viewed as the language native to lyric composition throughout the Catalan-speaking world. Through this examination of Occitan as a literary language in Catalonia, I seek to reconsider these monarchs' works as courtly pastime and entertainment, rather than political propaganda.

Cristian Bratu

Are Medieval Histories and Chronicles Courtly Genres?

Discussions of courtly literature generally tend to focus on a fairly limited number of genres, such as romance, poetry, and fabliaux. While this tendency is very much justified by the fact that courtly ideals, themes, and motifs appear primarily in the genres mentioned above, my paper will explore the question of the extent to which we can consider medieval histories and chronicles courtly genres. 

It is a well-known fact that medieval historians and chroniclers often wrote at the request of various court members. There are countless examples of historians who mention their courtly patrons and acquaintances in their works. The twelfth-century Anglo-Norman historian Wace, for instance, composed the Roman the Rou at the request of Henry II of England. Froissart, too, mentions many of his courtly and aristocratic patrons by name. We also know that members of the court enjoyed listening to histories and chronicles. Christine de Pizan mentions the fact that Charles V of France enjoyed listening to Gilles Malet, who would read histories out loud for the king. David Aubert, too, tells us that Philip the Good of Burgundy enjoyed listening to histories. Thus, in terms of commissioning and reception, medieval histories and chronicles were very much courtly genres. 

While it is true that historians and chroniclers did not shy away from the description of violence—the polar opposite of courtliness—, some of them, especially clerkly historians such as Benoît de Sainte-Maure, Philippe de Novare, and Froissart, incorporated a number of courtly themes and motifs in their works. I argue, therefore, that while histories and chronicles cannot be considered core courtly genres, they should nevertheless be considered more often in discussions of courtly literature.

Daniel O'Sullivan

Playing with Music and Memory at Court

The court, along with the cloister and the marketplace, was a primary site of musical composition, performance, and inspiration. In investigating issues of memory, performance, and interpretation of medieval songs, I have become particularly intersted in contrafacta, that is, songs in which new texts accompany existing melodies. Composers reused melodies for reasons ranging from purely aesthetic to overtly ideological, and when listeners heard familiar melodies over original texts, novel associations took form in their minds. Their experiences informed subsequent artistic production, again intentionally or not, and studying these interactions opens new windows onto wide networks of medieval European cultural exchange. I am currently gathering and exploring the connections among Latin, Old French, Old Occitan, Middle High German, and Middle English songs, in an effort to update and expand the conclusions of Friedrich Gennrich’s seminal work, Die Kontrafaktur im Liedschaffen des Mittelalters (1965). No other monograph on medieval contrafacture has been published since Gennrich’s passing in 1967.
In this paper, I will outline a three-fold approach: first, I survey the available evidence of contrafacta—duplicated melodies, incipits, later interpolations, and palimpsests. Second, I consider how to distinguish true borrowing from coincidental resemblance between works produced in the similarly conventional musico-poetic systems. Finally, I propose applying recent scientific research on music and memory to gain an understanding of the experience of courtly lyrics in performance when melodies, either in whole or in part, were borrowed, adapted, and recycled.

Deborah Nelson-Campbell

Does Courtly Literature Have a Legacy?

For everyone in this room the title of this paper is a purely rhetorical question. However, our students and even most of our non-medievalist colleagues have probably not even considered the question. 
Editing the volume of The Legacy of Courtly Literature with Rouben Cholakian has raised many questions in my mind as just what we mean by the title of our volume. My close reading of the ten essays has revealed many aspects of this legacy that I had never considered.
It is not possible to exaggerate the importance of the renaissance of the twelfth century in the explosion of literary forms and ideas in subsequent eras. Beginning with the Occitan poets at the beginning of the century, the topoi moved quickly north to inspire northern writers who wrote in langue d’oïl. The concept of courtly love or fin’amors plays a large role in this literature and encompasses a code of behavior that became integral to the literary tradition. However, the tradition encompasses many other aspects as well.
Perhaps, the most recent and unexpected influence of the courtly literature tradition is found in the series of Harry Potter novels by J. K. Rowling. Her degree from Exeter in French and Classics and her extensive study of medieval literature including the bestiaries were important sources for her creative talents. Those who have studied the lais of Marie de France will recognized the importance of the weasel tradition in her depiction of the Weasley family.
In this paper I will point out numerous examples of the influence of courtly literature that have been a part of every time period since the twelfth century.

Donald Maddox

Laws, Customs, and Courts

Session organized by Donald Maddox, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Chair: TBA

“Law and Love and Loyalty”
F. R. P. Akehurst, University of Minnesota

English loyal suggests "faithful to a person or another entity, regular" as "a loyal subject of the Queen; A loyal theater patron." French loyal suggests "honest, legitimate" as in "loyaux coûts, marchandise bonne et loyale." (Petit Littré) In the Conseil of Pierre de Fontaines, loial means 'legal, proper, permissible, acceptable' as in loial essoine, 'a proper excuse for not coming to court when summoned' or loial partie 'an appropriate division of property between heirs'. This paper examines the use of the word loial, leial in Old French legal texts, and in courtly texts, notably French customary law compilations and the love poems of the troubadours and trouvères. Grevisse in his Dictionnaire de l'ancien français defines OFr loialté as "1. Légalité, légitimité, 2. Bonne foi, loyauté, 3. Bonne qualité." What light do these usages and definitions shed on the perception of expressions like leial amor, amant loial, etc? Is a courtly lover an "amant légitime" or even an "amant attitré"?

“Mistress Custom in Courtly Satire: Performing the Anxiety of Norms in the Later Middle Ages”
Ada Maria Kuskowski, Southern Methodist University

The legal process, venal-tongued lawyers and corrupt judges were increasingly the subjects of satire as the later Middle Ages wore on. From the twelfth-century escape-artist trickster Renart to the fifteenth-century shyster lawyer Pathelin, the court case or sensational trial often formed a dramatic climax in medieval storytelling. Such culminating moments revealed the failings of justice, the hypocrisy of those involved in the process, and the trickery that had so ably disguised itself as professionalized knowledge. These moments also revealed something fundamental about the terms in which the law was understood and how this understanding was challenged over time. 

The Ur-norm of the medieval court was custom. Litigants came to court ready to allege what had been done before in order to argue that it should be done again. From the twelfth century onward, however, university graduates trained in Roman law began to threaten the preeminence of custom by questioning its basic validity—for instance, they denigrated the inherent instability of custom while lauding the clear rationality of the Code and Digest. This paper will examine satire in France between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries to see what it can tell us about changing perceptions about the nature and validity of custom in the secular courts. While laughter pointed at the law courts had an ever-expanding place in medieval entertainment during this period, the target of the laughter shifted from the supercilious bookish Romanist to the country bumpkin lawyer. Custom still “vanquished law” by the end of this period, but that in itself was now a laughing matter. 

Civil Ceremony and Urban Justice : The Seizaine de mai de Bourges
Donald Maddox, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

While many medieval European cities hosted elaborate public ceremonies and celebrations that have been studied in depth, the one I examine here has seldom received attention from scholars, even though it took place annually in the city of Bourges for more than six centuries. This week-long observance always began on May 16 and was thus known locally as the seizaine de mai. Each year between the sixteenth and the twenty-third of the month the royal bailiff and other local agents of the king relinquished their right to render civil and criminal justice in Bourges and its faubourgs so that the secular clergy of one local collegiate church could assume that responsibility for seven days. The observance always began with a festive cavalcade through the city to enact a public ritual of clerical empowerment at each of the city’s gates. First I will show how the Latin vita of a sixth-century saint helps to clarify the archaic meaning of this curious tradition. Then, using evidence from the Acts of the Parlement de Paris, I will show the disastrous consequences that resulted for the maintenance of jurisprudence in Bourges because, over the course of many centuries, the collective memory of that originary significance was progressively lost. Thus, while hagiographic literature will reveal the tradition’s venerable origins, juridical documents issued by Parlement, “the king’s court,” will trace its steep decline and chronic dysfunctionality during the later Middle Ages and well into the Early Modern period.

Douglas Kelly

This is part of Round Table for Glyn Burgess organized by Jane Taylor

No abstract necessary in this case

Eliza Hoyer-Millar

Round table on Marie de France

contribution to round table discussion organised by Jean Blacker

Elizabeth Eva Leach

A little knight music: jousting with songs in Bodleian Library, MS Douce 308

The beautiful, fragile early-fourteenth-century manuscript Oxford, Bodleian Library, Douce 308, copied in Metz in the early 1310s, can be read as a planned compendium of courtly games and pastimes. Its chansonnier section contains the texts of over 500 songs from the preceding 150 years, arranged by genre. It includes a section of jeux-partis, within which is copied the earliest group of demandes d'amour (love questions), thought by some to be the oral-conversational basis for the more formalized jeu-parti songs. These competitive word battles, often between named aristocrats, echo the more physical contests of the manuscript's narrative poems, which present various tournaments (both mêlée fighting and individual jousts) in settings that are variously literary allegory (Huon de Méry's Tournoi de l'Antécrist), vernacular romance (Jacques de Longuyon's Voeux du Paon) and versified historical record (Jacques Bretel's Tournoiement de Chauvency). These three works attest to the significant role of sound, song, dance, and games within tournaments, as do intertextual links between the refrain citations of Chauvency and the songs in the chansonnier section of Douce 308. This paper will explore the intersection of the socially entangled courtly cultures of singing and tourneying as attested by Douce 308, and will propose a new theorization of refined loving in the light of ideas of performative violence.

Gloria Allaire

Courtly Pastimes in the Epic Romances of Andrea da Barberino

Although Andrea da Barberino's prose cycle is largely centered on warfare, territorial expansion and military conflicts with "Saracen" invaders into Christian lands, one finds numerous courtly elements that enrich and ennoble his narratives. Elaborate public festivals are held for coronations, complete with tapestry-decorated piazzas, jousting and banqueting, music and dance. Pastimes also reflect social class and gender: young men joust at the quintain, gentlemen play chess, and street urchins enjoy rougher sports. Ladies of rank do embroidery. Youths serenade a lovely maiden below her window. Andrea even mentions one court that holds a festive "picnic" outdoors twice a year. Such courtly elements reflect historical social practice. Their use here lends variety, elegance, and a more humanizing touch to narratives well-known for their epic battle scenes.

Gregory Hutcheson

"The Intertextual Mora"

In the waning episodes of the fourteenth-century Libro de buen amor, the narrator charges his go-between with one last bid to procure for him a “pleasing female”. Trotaconventos sets her sights on a mora ‘Mooress”, only to find her efforts at seduction nipped at the bud by rapid-fire retorts in Arabic culminating in a final cutting dismissal: “¡Amxí, amxí!” (Go away! Go away!). Most readers of the episode agree that the mora’s absolute resistance to seduction, when measured against the ambiguous response of the widow Endrina or the nun Garoza, gives her the upper hand within the moral logic of the work. She is, for some, the linchpin of the Libro’s didactic purpose, the closing gambit intended to correct the moral bankruptcy of Trotaconventos’s extended program of seduction.

Not yet fully explored is the episode’s intertextuality, its complex dialogue not only with contemporary social realities, but also with notions of Muslim agency that spin out of the legal, moral, and historiographic efforts to negotiate the presence of Islam in Castilian society. I intend in the present study to explore the full range of functions of the mora’s intertextuality, arguing that just as she confounds the narrative of seduction into which she is inserted within the Libro, so too does she confound the fleshiness that adheres to her by virtue of her very identification as mora. This double gambit—contrived shrewdly as an act of reading—responds in a powerful way to a stereotypical discourse that routinely confines Muslim agency to the body at the expense of higher moral function.

Guillaume Oriol

Apprivoiser le temps. Écriture et motifs de l’attente dans les albas occitanes de la fin du XIIe au XIVe siècle.

Le répertoire des troubadours comprend un corpus de dix-neuf chansons, composées entre la fin du XIIe siècle et le XIVe siècle que la tradition classe dans le genre des albas. Malgré la diversité des compositions, qu’elles soient de séparation, érotiques ou religieuses, elles célèbrent ou déplorent, chacune à leur manière, l’arrivée du jour. Le motif de l’attente et du désir infuse ces pièces lyriques : le temps devient le principal objet de l’écriture. Le « je » qui chante utilise les ressources de la rhétorique qui sont à sa disposition pour, à sa guise, dilater, accélérer le temps ou le retenir afin de combler les besoins du désir.
Notre postulat est le suivant : il y a un jeu essentiel dans l’écriture des albas occitanes qui consiste à reproduire les différentes temporalités du désir. Ces différentes modalités temporelles s’appuient sur une palette des émotions : l’attente et le désir frustré suscitent la joie, la tristesse, l’angoisse, la colère, la honte et de nombreux autres affects, au cœur de la construction poétique et narrative. Dans sa capacité à intégrer les espoirs de la relation qui doit se terminer sous la lumière des premiers rayons du soleil, l’alba témoigne de l’amplitude anthropologique des émotions médiévales.
Mais ce n’est pas tout. La fin’amor des troubadours est généralement fondée sur le délai et la projection de la jouissance. Au contraire, les albas réalisent la fin d’un désir assouvi, consommé dans l’ombre bienveillante de la nuit et propose une dramaturgie mêlant des émotions contraires (plaisir et douleur, espoir et angoisse, contentement et mélancolie). Cette écriture reproduit la souffrance du manque dans le présent, là où la canso se projetait généralement dans l’avenir. Il n’y a donc plus d’anticipation de la jouissance, mais au contraire, la tentative de retenir le temps grâce aux jeux rhétoriques de l’émotion.

Harvey Sharrer

A newly-discovered manuscript copy of the Portuguese sentimental romance Naceo e Amperidónia

MS. 51-VI-38, an early 18th-century miscellany in the Biblioteca da Ajuda in Lisbon, contains a previously unknown copy of the 16th-century Portuguese sentimental romance Naceo e Amperidónia. The only other known copy, found in a mid-16th-century manuscript miscellany, Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal COD. 1135, bears no title or author’s name and is incomplete at the end. The Ajuda copy, however, is complete and the rubric that introduces the text offers both a title and authorial attribution: Historia que trata dos amores de Naseo e Amperadonia a qual dizem que fez Luiz da Sylveira Conde de Sortelha [A story that deals with the loves of Naseo and Amperadónia which they say was written by Luís da Silveira, Count of Sortelha]. Silveira (c. 1481-1534), first Count of Sortelha, was the chief guard of kings Manuel I and João III of Portugal and author of 40 poems preserved in Garcia de Resende’s Cancioneiro Geral, printed in 1516.

In this paper we will analyze the ending of the romance as told in the Ajuda copy and examine the romances’s courtly love themes (suffering, pessimism, jealousy, fortune, adultery, etc.) and that of saudade (the Portuguese concept of ‘longing’) developed through dialogue and exchanges of letters between the protagonists as well as poems that Naceo sends to Amperidónia, the latter to be studied in the context of Silveira’s love poetry in the Cancioneiro Geral.

Jane Taylor

Round Table in Honour of Glyn S. Burgess. The Translation of Medieval Texts: Approaches, Problems, Strategies

This round table – in honour of Glyn Burgess, a seasoned and expert translator from Old French – will, it is hoped, address a number of questions while fostering a free-flowing discussion between speakers, and between speakers and audience. First, alterity v. accessibility: how far should we adapt our originals to the 21st century? Second, form, especially in relation to verse (including lyric): verse or prose? medieval v. modern prosody? If prose is used, can syntactic or other means be used to compensate? Third, style overall, including syntax and lexis: in Rhétoriqueur writings for instance, virtuoso sentence-length is arguably meaning: should it be preserved? Fourth and finally: in translating the previously (multiply?) translated, how are we to deal with the weight of our (illustrious) predecessors? Participants are Joan Tasker Grimbert and Carol Chase, Douglas Kelly, Roberta L. Krueger, Norris J. Lacy and Karen Pratt.

Janina Traxler

Tower, Bower, Garden, and Forest: Hiding Love in Plain Sight

Medieval authors regularly exploited a range of techniques to conceal and reveal relationships among lovers, in part because such techniques retain audience interest and demonstrate authorial talent for motivating the narrative. Courtly literature is well stocked with examples of such situations, and major authors like Chrétien de Troyes are rightfully considered masters of this narrative trick. In this discussion, I will reconsider authorial technique for treating love plain sight, examining especially but not exclusively the famous situations of Tristan/Isolde, Lancelot/Guenivere, and Cligés/Fénice. Since these stories echo and reinforce each other and also fascinated Chrétien, it can be useful to see how they align with respect to narrative technique, intended outcome, and influence of the story. Who knows about the love? Whose interest would be served by its discovery? How is the love revealed or concealed? How is evidence interpreted by those who see it? What consequences develop around the inevitable revelation? I will look especially at the physical context for secrecy and revelation as well as authorial technique for maintaining the narrative tension surrounding secrecy and revelation.

Jean Blacker

Round Table in Honor of Glyn S. Burgess -- Marie de France and Anonymous Lays: Approaches to Authorship in a Medieval Anthology

Organizer and Chair: Jean Blacker

The seemingly arbitrary arrangement of the twenty-four narrative lays in Paris, BnF MS. nouv. acq. fr. 1104 (late 13th- early 14th c.) (MS. S) – nine by Marie de France (not all complete versions), though without identification here; two by other known authors, the _Lai d’Aristote_ by Henri de Valenciennes (also without identification) and the _Lai de l’Ombre_ of Jehan Renart (the only identified author of lays in this manuscript); and eight anonymous lays, in total _Guigemar_, _Lanval_, _Desiré_, _Tyolet_, _Yonec_, _Guingamor_, _Espine_, _Espervier_, _Chevrefoil_, _Doon_, _Les Deux Amanz_ (ll. 1-169), _Bisclavret_ (last 84 lines), _Milun_, _Le Fresne_, _Lecheor_, _Equitan_, _Tydorel_, _Cort Mantel_, _Ombre_, _Conseil_, _Amours_ (“Girarz,” l. 518, _Amours_, named in MS. S, has not been identified by scholars), _Aristote_, _Graelent_, and _Oiselet_ – raises many important questions regarding our perceptions of Marie’s lays and the anonymous lays (i.e., those of as yet unidentified authors). For example, if we didn’t already “know” which were Marie’s, would we be able to “tell” which were hers? What might be some of the identifiable characteristics of her authorial voice, for example, as differentiated from the authorial voice(s) of the anonymous lays? Are there certain claims, preoccupations, or approaches to material that set the Marie lays apart and bring them to our attention, or are the anonymous lays pedagogically or otherwise “disadvantaged” by not having identifiable authors? Is it that the question of authorship is simply not crucial (or as crucial) for medieval reception as it seems to be for modern readers/scholarship? What might we learn about Marie and medieval reception by considering how multiple authors – named and unnamed – interact within MS. S as an anthology?

Jeanne Nightingale

Fictions in Play: Readings that Change the Game and Reprogram the Plot

Modern readers of medieval court fiction are often confounded by the panoply of internal contradiction and paradox, or mystified by the enigma of christological resonance and scriptural tropes. We have begun to read such problematic moments less as bookish tags and unsolvable riddles, than as illuminating markers (or hot links) pointing to con-textual sources that can help us un-riddle such discursive conundrums.

While the verse romances of the courts and the homiletic writings of the cloisters suggest two distinct communities of readers, they are both marked by common intellectual and ideological pursuits that drove the humanistic revival in the XIIth century and pilgrimages to the Holy Land. It was an age, not unlike our own, that endured a crisis of meaning — a shift in the location of authority from the pages of the printed word to the lived experience of the reader. The mythographical fictions of Alain de Lille, the exegetical sermons of Bernard de Clairvaux, and the chivalric romances of Chretien de Troyes, were all “questing” modes of discourse, attempts to work out moral, social, and literary problems by appropriating recycled elements of earlier fictions to stage and reprogram the itinerary of the human endeavor. Engaging the powers of both pen and sword, such texts reflect a sober critique of the times and a desire to restore the lost splendor of Christendom.

This paper looks at a heuristic text that offers a template for reinventing old tales and enticing readers to engage in transformative adventures: Bernard’s Sermones in Cantica Canticorum. Using the dialogic form of the homily, Bernard playfully conjoins the life of the text with the life of his readers. His exegetical exposition is itself a fiction that stages his persona and his attendant monks as protagonists and interlocutors. The scripted dialogue follows, verse-by-verse, the poem’s ascending program of signification, and the tension between competing glosses force his protagonist-readers to embrace seeming contradictions within a single unifying vision. This exegetical performance of the Song (the “Book of Experience”) serves as a pedagogical tool that realigns human desire with divine purpose and authorizes an imitative response in his readers - in their own lives and writings.

Joan McRae

Medieval and the Medievalist's Past-times or What's a Belle Dame doing at Hatfield House?

Some four or five years ago a new fifteenth century manuscript collecting French poet and statesman Alain Chartier's work was discovered at Hatfield House, one of the great old English houses just outside of London. I rushed off to examine it and came back and delivered a paper on it, with a full description and some surmising about the why it was there. 

I got it (almost) all wrong. The question of why it might be there continued to trouble me, so recently I went back to see it. What I discovered was not only how it got to Hatfield House but also who was reading it. 

This recounting of a medievalist's favorite past-time - hunting medieval manuscripts - also reveals the medieval courtly past-times - reading and writing - of those powerful personages who held the book.

Joan Tasker Grimbert

Fate and the Plight of the Unloved in Kneehigh Theatre’s Tristan & Yseult

This paper examines how Kneehigh’s—exuberantly theatrical—musical adaptation of the Tristan legend shifts the focus from the lovers to the ‘unloved,’ the members of their entourage (especially their spouses) who experience the fall-out from this great passion. A literary analysis of the play is followed by a discussion of Kneehigh’s enthusiastic embrace of ‘devised’ (performance-based) theater.

Joseph Snow

Alfonso X's Adaptation of Provenzal 'amor purus' in his Marian Poetry

KIng Alfonso X devoted 3 decades of his reign (1252-1284) to his compilation of Marian praise songs and miracle accounts, a repertory that grew from 100 to 420 compositions in 3 redactions. I will be presenting a step by step analysis of his (literary) rejection of earthly women in order to transform the Virgin into his own 'domna', his divine Liege Lady for whom he expresses time and again an 'amor purus', paralleling the 'amor purus' that of the poems of so many Provenzal troubadours attending his court. Alfonso's literary 'persona', as I show, fulfills the roles of 'fenhador, precador, endendeor', reserving the role of 'drut' for God, thereby eliminating any taint of 'amor mixtus' in his devotion to Mary.

Juan Miguel Zarandona

Álvaro Cunqueiro’s short story “Tristán García,” or the legacy of courtly literature tragic pastimes in contemporary Galician le

Álvaro Cunqueiro (1911-1981) is still regarded nowadays as the most talented man of letters that his native land of Galicia, northwest Spain, has ever produced. Journalist, travel and fantasy fiction writer, and poet, among other means of expression, he always wrote about the legends and myths of the world and made any necessary effort to bring them to Galicia and make them take root in his land. Apart from journalism, he also wrote primarily in the Galician language, although, as a perfect bilingual, he used to self-translate all his texts into Spanish in search of wider audiences. Arthuriana and the matter of Britain featured very prominently among his life interests, especially the character of Merlin, as his masterpiece, the novel _Merlín e familia_ (1955), testifies.
Among his many Arthurian works there is also a very curious short story dealing with the courtly love story of Tristan and Isolde which was written in Galician. It was published in 1979 and entitled “Tristán García”, an impossible love story between a young Galician soldier, named Tristán, and a Castilian lady, named Isolda. As a plot set in contemporary times, there are no magical love potion or tragic deaths, but the literary legacy (adaptation or appropriation) of such an old tale still impresses the reader. The myth still shows its vitality and adds new manifestions to its many century-old evocative powers.
This paper will make an effort to analyse the story “Tristán García” in some detail, as well as make it and its author a popular name among researchers and lovers of medieval and contemporary courtly literature.

Juliet O'Brien

Occitan lyric poetry as defence against the dark arts

This paper is a reading of Maria de Ventadorn and Gui d'Uisel's tenso/partimen, "Gui d'Uicel, be.m peza de vos" (PC 295.1=194.9; c.1196-98). Maria asks whether a lady "ought to do equally for her lover as he ought for her" (Linda Paterson's translation of ll. 5-7: "deu far engualmen/dona per drut, quan lo.i quer franchamen/com el per leis"). Topics can, from here, be teased out: equity, reciprocity, and relationship; and their relations to larger matters of seduction, sincerity, playful seriousness, serious play, and the point of debate-poetry. 

After Maria's opening, Gui chooses the side he will argue, "engualmen'; Maria argues for a contrary position. These are neither the only positions available, nor the only argumentative options: the poem is a game whose players act out parts which are more interesting when more challenging. What is expressed does not bear any necessary relation to actual persons and their world, but it is illuminating that the poem's arguments and ideas are expressed as is the way in which they are expressed. An intertextual network--other debate-poems by Gui, or invoking Maria as judge, and thematically-and codicologically-related partimens--weaves together equity (ex. "engualmen") and its contraries (ex. "fals cor ni trichador") revealing a critique of sexual and courtly cultures. 

"Tornar, tensos, razonar": tensions are defused, and poetic brio and flirtatious wit turn attack to abstracted exchange and playful eroticism, in a forum for open discussion, an equitable safe space for free expression through role-play and hypothetical exploration including gender fluidity and motility. Translated to our contemporary context of university communities confronting issues of equity, safety, and sexual assault, the debate-poem offers modes of engagement for "seducating" against rape culture

June McCash


June Hall McCash
professor emerita 
Middle Tennessee State University

During my teaching career, I published various articles about literary activity at the court of Marie de Champagne, raising such issues as the origins of the countess’s interest in fine amor, suggesting that a debate of sorts on the nature of love seemed to be taking place among writers she supported, and questioning the accepted order of the romances of Chrétien de Troyes based on historical events involving her court. 

Since retiring from my academic career in 2004, I have turned to full-time writing, based on previous and current research, in publishing both nonfiction and historical fiction for a general audience. Currently, I am working on a historical novel set in twelfth-century France and entitled Eleanor’s Daughter, in which I continue to explore within a narrative context these and other issues.

Until last summer I would never have thought of giving a paper on writing historical fiction at a medieval conference. In July, however, I had the opportunity to spend two weeks in France with a group of medievalists, several of whom expressed an interest of writing historical novels about the Middle Ages, and it occurred to me that such a presentation might be of interest to at least some members of ICLS. 

This paper, thus, will explore the process and the use of scholarly research in the writing of solid historical fiction. It will examine the efforts, responsibilities, and difficulties imposed by the genre, as well as its advantages and the satisfaction the author can enjoy in such an undertaking.

Kaoru Noji

Chaucer's Pastime at Court: His Recognition of a Courtly Audience

Geoffrey Chaucer, as a court poet, created his works to address a court audience. His poetry was recited as a courtly pastime. As described in paintings of manuscripts, Chaucer himself would actually have been a story teller of his own works at court. In his later works, the poet is sharply conscious of his female audience and shows an alert response to their reactions. In the prologue of The Legend of Good Women and Troilus and Criseyde, Chaucer assumes Queen Ann as one member of a female audience. This is evidence that he was accepted at court. His female audience having been displeased with Criseyde’s betrayal, Chaucer promised to write about women faithful in love in the Legend of Good Women.
His last work, The Canterbury Tales, showcases the great variety of his interest in human beings and itself serves as a courtly pastime. Chaucer produced two unique women: the Wife of Bath and Prudence (in the “Tale of Melibee”). He made them speak for themselves instead of behaving as mere ciphers created by a traditional male poet. They are seemingly dissimilar: the Wife of Bath is representative of a “wykked wyfe” and Prudence is a perfectly wise wife. Yet they have much in common. I will explore how conscious Chaucer was of his audience and how he aimed to develop them as a pastime of his own through their eloquent speech and their ingenious ways of taming their husbands.

Karen Pratt

Translating Old French epic and romance



 Kristin Burr

Amorous Pastimes: Love at Court in _Le Chevalier aux deux épées_

The anonymous thirteenth-century Old French verse romance _Le Chevalier aux deux épées_ opens with an episode that turns tradition upside down: it is not a man who undertakes the initial adventure, but rather the tale’s heroine, who displays considerable courage and daring as she completes a task worthy of any knight. Although she soon takes on a more typical role, the scene sets the stage for an extended examination of the function of conventions in the courtly world, notably in the realm of love.
Complications related to love relationships become particularly apparent in the contrast drawn between Gauvain and the romance’s hero, Meriadeuc. Both men face challenges in love relationships, but in very different ways: one because his reputation precedes him, and the other because he ignores the significance of his acts. A series of tokens exchanged between men and women—especially a sword taken from a dead knight’s corpse, shackles, and a belt—highlight the opposition between the knights. The tokens also raise questions concerning identity, underscore the transformation of tradition, and reveal the challenge of interpreting signs, which are frequently misread or accorded too much importance in the tale. The objects demonstrate how bonds between characters can be signified materially and lay bare the underpinnings of love relationships—which are often born not from displays of chivalric prowess but instead from a stubborn adherence to custom or from reputations based on ideals rather than on reality. 
As the romance blurs the lines between behavior that is considered courtly or uncourtly and questions the basis of relationships between men and women, love becomes a pastime with serious consequences.

Kristin Juel

Courtly Elements in Epic: the Love Chess Motif and Huon de Bordeaux

In Huon de Bordeaux, a chanson de geste of the thirteenth-century, one sees Huon matched in a game of chess against a young Muslim woman. The young woman’s father, hostile toward Huon, requires that Huon place a wager on the match: if Huon loses, he will lose his head. If he wins, he will be allowed to spend the night with the young woman. The young woman, overcome by an attraction to Huon, allows Huon to win the match with the hope that Huon will claim his prize. This anecdote resembles the love chess motif popular in romance of the thirteenth- and fourteenth-centuries in France. 
In this paper, I will characterize the love chess motif—a motif in which one of the players at a chess game between a man and a woman loses the chess match as a result of his or her distraction by the other player’s beauty—and describe how Huon de Bordeaux fits within this tradition. I will also explain how the wager in Huon de Bordeaux—a potentially violent and overtly sexual aspect of the episode that does not fit with the motif as one finds it in romance—relates to another tradition—one popular in chanson de geste—in which two male players sit down to play the game and one loses his head as a result of a chess brawl.

Laura Zoll

Tenso With a Twist

Troubadours were adept at playing the game of love through their intricate words and elegant melodies. This paper considers that game through the dramatic opportunities displayed in “Bona domna, un conseill vos deman.”

Initially the song can be contextualized as part of a group of tensos incorporating a female character that is outside the love relationship but is positioned as a source of wisdom. The male lover, Pistoleta, seeks advice from this woman and agrees to obey her wooing strategy. That the advisor is female makes her an exciting voice: a domna who is not mute (she literally sings her own strophes), whose counsel is sought and followed, and who appears to be love’s mediator (not its object).

Pistoleta begins the tenso by soliciting advice to determine whether he should woo boldly or meekly. The object of his love is unnamed. As the interlocutors alternate holding center stage bona domna is clear with her advice, but increasingly determined to identify the love object. It is not until the final strophe that the mystery is solved and the identity of the beloved is revealed: Pistoleta admits that it is she – bona domna - who is his heart’s desire! 

This wonderful twist ending affords an intriguing view of the troubadour’s art. Pistoleta is playing a game with bona domna, but is she complicit in that subterfuge? When does bona domna realize that she inhabits both roles as advisor and beloved? And do we, the audience, recognize the duality of her character? Do the performers hint at this twist before the final strophe? In “Bona domna, un conseill vos deman” the woman sings both within, and outside of, the love relationship. Unpeeling those roles illuminates the troubadours’ game of love.


Amorces courtoises dans le Roman de Brut et le Roman de Rou de Wace : les passe-temps des rois de Bretagne et des ducs de Norman

Nous tenterons de montrer comment, dans les chroniques de Wace, la cour des rois de Bretagne et des ducs de Normandie se teinte parfois de ces reflets courtois qui caractériseront les grandes cours fictives – et parmi elles, la cour arthurienne – des romans à venir. Nous analyserons quelques scènes qui distillent une atmosphère courtoise marquée par la fête, la libéralité et le goût des divertissements.

Linda McCabe

Orlando furioso's archetypes and the twisting of expected plot conventions

Many characters in _Orlando furioso_ are familiar archetypes such as: Orlando/Hercules, Angelica/Aphrodite, Bradamante/Athena and Jeanne d'Arc, Marfisa/Nemesis, Ruggiero/the prophesied hero raised in obscurity, Atlante/the wizard, Melissa/the crone, Alcina/Circe, Astolfo/the fool, and Rinaldo/the lover. These archetypes help his audience recognize and identify with the larger-than-life characters.
Audience expectations were challenged when the titular character of Orlando does not play the overall hero in the story. Instead, Orlando descends into madness when he discovers his beloved Angelica is in love with another man. Astolfo was given a Call to Adventure to travel to the Underworld, Terrestrial Paradise, and to the moon to restore Orlando to his senses. Once Orlando's wits are about him, he helps vanquish Charlemagne's foe King Agramante.
Another deviation from predictability was the utilization of two possible prophesies with divergent fates surrounding a mythical hero raised in obscurity, Ruggiero. Once again, it was not the hero who received a Call to Adventure, but instead it was given to a warrior maiden, Bradamante, by a crone. She was told to rescue her beloved, Ruggiero, who was being held captive by the wizard and then convince him to convert to Christianity and marry her. That was one of his two possible fates, the other would be for Ruggiero to remain a Muslim and bring about the downfall of Charlemagne and the Frankish Empire. These dueling fates led to dueling magical forces trying to determine which one came to pass.
The culmination of the poem was not the defeat of the invading Muslim army and the end of the war, but rather the resolution of the seemingly impossible love story between Bradamante and Ruggiero.

Logan Whalen

Round Table for Glyn Burgess

This is part of Round Table for Glyn Burgess organized by Jean Blacker and Jane Taylor.

Logan Whalen

Marie de France Enlightened and Romanticized

Marie de France wrote in the second half of the 12th century and was France’s first woman of letters. This study will examine how her works were viewed in the 18th and 19th centuries by some of the earliest scholars to critique her writings. It will give special attention to the Lais, a collection of twelve brief narrative tales that treat themes of courtly love and chivalry, and to the Fables (Isopet), a collection of 102 fables in the Aesopic tradition based at least partly on the Romulus Nilantii.
I will investigate, in the first part of my paper, the reception of her works against the backdrop of reason prevalent during the French Enlightenment to discern how critical notions of the time influenced the understanding of her medieval compositions. In the second part of my paper, I will focus on the way in which critical viewpoints of her writings were expressed through an emphasis on sentimentality and a focus on the individual during French Romanticism in the first half of the 19th century.
To highlight various aspects of reception of her works during these early periods, I will evaluate both secondary and primary sources. I will examine 18th-century copies of medieval manuscripts of her Fables, copies that are almost never mentioned in modern scholarship. I will also analyze early articles that treat her Fables and Lais, especially the early 19th-century work of Amaury Duval.


Poetic and Amorous Games in Christine de Pizan’s Queen’s Manuscript

Jeux à vendre: Poetic and Amorous Games in Christine de Pizan’s Queen’s Manuscript (London, BL, Harley 4431)
Not much has been written about Christine de Pizan’s Jeux à vendre, and what is said of it is generally dismissive. The lyric cycle is generally written off as “a work destined for oblivion.” Christine’s Jeux à vendre is seen as a gratuitous display of poetic virtuosity, a collection of courtly word games or jeux de société. I will argue the contrary, that it goes to the heart of the author’s aims, and that it does so nowhere better than in Christine’s masterpiece, her Queen’s Manuscript. I will use her Jeux à vendre as a springboard to talk about the variety of poetic and amorous games in this manuscript, with special reference to the miniatures showing tournaments and courtly trysts. My overall argument is that the display of poetic virtuosity that Christine exhibits in composing the Jeux à vendre is part and parcel of the wholesale demonstration of women’s potential for intellectual and moral excellence that she offers up in the Queen’s Manuscript as a whole.

Lyle Dechant

"What Do We Do With the Codex Manesse Frontispieces?"

Resplendent knights collide in the lists as ladies cheer from on high. Secret trysts culminate in passionate embraces. Messengers hurry between lovers with amorous tidings. There is no fuller catalogue of the medieval courtly imaginary than the miniatures of the Codex Manesse, produced in Zurich around 1300. These are usually reproduced as stand-alone illustrations of courtly life, but we should remember their actual material context: each one is a frontispiece, introducing the work of one of the 140 poets contained in this bulging anthology of Middle High German verse.
Traditionally, scholars studying the Codex Manesse have been philologists rather than art historians, and have therefore regarded the miniatures as “mere decoration” or even obtrusive distractions from the textual corpus. Some have begun to re-assess the pivotal role played by these pictures in the codex; nevertheless, by reading them as compensatory or mnemonic reminders of oral performance, they continue to downplay their status as immediate, physical images directly engaging the book’s readers.
Following a brief historiographic overview, this paper explores insights from recent work on the history and theory of reading practices, specifically concentrating on the role that images played in secular books in the late thirteenth and early fourteenth centuries. Examining particular images in detail, I argue that the frontispieces, far from nostalgically recalling earlier modes of oral performance, instead work to integrate the songs they introduce into an extremely modern mode of immersive and participatory reading. This kind of reading was adapted from practices more familiar from the religious sphere, such as the private Psalters that spread among the aristocratic laity during this period. In the Codex Manesse, as in these books, colorful and lively illuminations stimulated engagement by offering models or personas for the purpose of imaginative immersion.


Blind Man's Buff: From Children's Games to Pleasure Gardens in late medieval France and England

In a number of courtly poems of the thirteenth and fourteenth century, as well as in conduct books and illuminations dating from the same period, mixed-sex groups of young people are depicted as playing guessing games that not only may involve hiding and blindfolds, but also may be accompanied by buffeting or other forms of hitting and slapping.

In order to explore the social role of these activities, I will be looking specifically at two narrative dits by Jean Froissart that put particular emphasis on games: first in the Espinette amoureuse, which begins with an unusual and extensive list of childhood pastimes, and then in the Joli Buisson de jeunesse, where the narrator finds himself, in a dream, playing some of the same games in a garden with his lady and her allegorical companions.

As I will show, Froissart provides a key to understanding these games by putting them in the context of a discussion of the medieval theory of the Seven Ages of Man, and the two poems together contribute to a clearer picutre of what it meant to be a young adult in late medieval France and England.

Marion Hollings

"In her thou maist them all assembled see: Alice, Countess of Derby, and the Early Modern Poetic Community"

Born the sixth daughter of Sir John Spencer of Althorp, the Countess of Derby (1559-1637) conducted a full and politically prudent life that spanned the reigns of three monarchs and included marriages to Ferdinando Stanley, Lord Strange, and Baron Ellesmere, names that should be familiar to scholars of English literary history. Exploring the material circumstances of the Countess as patroness reveals the ways she contributed to cultural developments of her time (the famous “Bridgewater collection,” for instance) and her significance to poets. Celebrated as gloriously radiating resplendent family lineages, Alice, Countess of Derby, is also praised as geneatrice of great literary dynasties as well. The paper explores the role of the countess within the interlinking systems of family connections and patronage relationships that were instrumental in shaping poetic community in the early modern world.



Mary Franklin-Brown

Ludic Logic and Language in the Partimens Gui d’Ussel and Blacatz

Of all the lyric genres that proliferated among the troubadours in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century, one of the most constrained in form and content was what we now call the partimen. The dialogue form had already appeared in the troubadour repertory during the first half of the twelfth century, with the tensos of Cercamon and Marcabru, and most of the major poets from the early generations left us one or two. But around 1200 two troubadours, Gui d’Ussel and Blacatz, focused their composition on the dialogue form. At the same time, the narrower rules of the new partimen forced troubadours to raise their game. One participant set out a question with two possible opposed answers, in a first strophe whose form had to be replicated throughout the song. The other participant had first choice of the answer to defend, and the game proceeded, dueling strophe by strophe, as long as the two troubadours could think of arguments. 
Despite the hilarity of some of these debates and a superb new critical edition that appeared in 2010, the partimen remains peripheral to discussions of troubadour lyric. This paper will address that oversight by examining the relation between the poetic form of the partimen (meter, rhyme, rhetorical schemes) and the ludic logic it imposes. I shall argue that the partimen remolds logic according to the acoustic play of language, thus capturing the essence of troubadour song.

Matilda Bruckner

this is part of Round Table for Glyn Burgess organized by Jean B.

Matthew Paul

Divine Intervention: God’s Selective Agency in El Conde Lucanor

Three of the prominent stories in Don Juan Manuel’s _El Conde Lucanor_ feature the dramatized historical figures of Richard the Lionheart and Saladin. In the third exemplo Richard leaps into battle and single handedly leads the Christian army to victory. In exemplos 25 and 50 Saladin is the giver and receiver of sage advice. In both cases the protagonists are worthy of praise and emulation. Saladin in particular has elicited much critical attention. Despite his historical identity as a Muslim, he appears in _El Conde Lucanor_ as a confessionally neutral figure whose creed is less important than his character.

What has not been fully examined is the intertextuality between the stories of Richard and those of Saladin, and what the former can tell us about the latter. Their symmetrical location in the work as a whole (at beginning, middle, and end) already calls attention to their connectedness. Additionally, all three stories invoke the agency of God, although to greater or lesser effect. The very moral lesson of the tale of Richard centers on the belief that God will actively protect brave Christians, while Saladin, though a pious man, is never acted upon directly by God. I argue that Don Juan Manuel’s Saladin, when read against Richard, is not as confessionally neutral as scholarship would have us believe, and that ultimately he cannot escape the “Islamicness” of his historical identity. Saladin, despite his exemplarity, never abandons the vexed spaced of the colonized Muslim in Medieval Iberia.

Maurizio Mazzoni

Bayard and Baiardo: the magic horse through the French epic tradition and the Italian chivalric poems

As one of the most popular medieval horses, the literary presence of Bayard, le cheval faé, shows how this particular kind of character gains an increasing importance through different literary traditions. First appeared in the French epic of the chansons de geste, Bayard is the horse with magic powers and attitudes which features the French poem of Renaut de Montauban, where its narrative action is strictly related to another magic character, the sorcerer Maugis d’Aigremont. 
This special couple will hold a meaningful position in texts and poems of the Italian medieval and early Renaissance tradition, where the horse Baiardo still plays a key role as Rinaldo’s horse supporting the hero’s action.
Italian texts, such as the Cantari di Rinaldo da Montalbano, show the permanence of the original French heritage, while the chivalric poems, ranging from the Morgante by Luigi Pulci to the Orlando Furioso by Ludovico Ariosto, brightly demonstrate how the evolution of the ‘magic-horse’ theme gains progressively different and new values, concerning a more ‘human’ and less supernatural definition of its character. 
Pointing out the most important features of the magic horse Bayard from its epic origins to the developments and the outcomes in the Italian chivalric literature between the XIV and XVI centuries, this study will also suggest a comparative perspective, which aims to detect the strong relations and the rich influences between the French and the Italian epic chivalric traditions.

Molly Jacobs

Learning Courtliness in Thirteenth-Century Norway

The thirteenth century was a period of great change for Norway, in large part due to the dynamic rule of Hákon IV Hákonarson, whose long reign served as a stabilizing and transformative force. In addition to quelling civil war and creating stronger ties with the papacy, Hákon worked to reshape his country according to the patterns of other Christian European kingdoms. One of his primary methods was commissioning translations of romance and lai into Old Norse, including texts by Marie de France, Thomas of Britain, and Chrétien de Troyes. 

The romance translations introduced radically new ideas of courtliness, chivalry, and love into Scandinavia. These new concepts met with mixed reactions, as seen by the highly inventive and highly idiosyncratic genre of Icelandic romance that developed in the late middle ages and early modern period. In Norway, the romances seemed to provide a model of behavior, and around 1250, a mirror for princes, The King's Mirror (Konungs skuggsjá) was composed to educate the merchant and aristocratic classes in the ways of courtliness by explaining the proper education, behavior, dress, and deportment for those who want to attend court.

However, the structure of the text, which culminates in a discussion of royal rights and responsibilities, as well as its emphasis on the king's role as God's representative on earth, serves to reframe courtliness as part of a particular political and social program. This paper argues that The King's Mirror employs the imagery of romance literature to highlight the desirability of courtly behavior, while at the same time repositioning courtliness as a set of qualities that ultimately serves the king, and the political aims of the Norwegian monarchy of the mid-thirteenth century.

Monica Wright

Marie at Play: Equitan as Courtly Diversion or Carnivalesque Subversion?

Elizabeth Poe dubbed Equitan “Death by Hot Tub,” a fitting epithet that also effectively captures its light-hearted tone. How can we account for the use of comic elements in Marie de France’s otherwise sober collection of lais, which overwhelmingly treat love as a serious business? Many note that Equitan more strongly resembles Old French fabliaux than the other lais contained in Harley 978. The esprit gaulois permeating the fabliau genre informed Equitan’s major plot points, including the king’s adulterous affair with his seneschal’s wife, and culminating in the gruesome denouement. After plotting to kill the seneschal in a scalding bath, Equitan and his lover accidentally jump to their deaths in the boiling tub at the foot of her bed when the seneschal discovers them in flagrante delicto. The scene is a fitting end for a fabliau, but the tale itself fits oddly into Marie’s corpus. Marie plays with the genre she is innovating. She inverts the conventional courtly love triangle: instead of a royal couple whose lady loves a knight below her station, the king stoops to bed the wife of his seneschal. In introducing elements and narrative devices associated with the fabliau, Marie transposes an otherwise courtly cast of characters into a more popular realm. I argue that this blending of courtly and popular is not unique to Marie and that Equitan’s inclusion in the corpus is less a subversion than an incorporation of carnivalesque strategies that would have been all too familiar to Marie and her courtly audience. Medieval carnivalesque practices vary greatly, but their main value is in temporarily overturning societal conventions to resolve tensions and restore harmony within society. In temporarily turning her narrative universe upside down, Marie enriches her œuvre with a carnivaleque interlude that enhances rather than disrupts the overall coherence of her Lais.

Nancy Ciccone

Somatic Healing in the Middle English Pearl

“Somatic Healing in the Middle English Pearl”
Although primarily treated as a consolatio, the Middle English Pearl relies on courtly tropes and language to express the narrator’s grief over the loss of his Pearl, presumed to be his dead daughter. He suffers from “love-longing” (1152); she is his irreplaceable jewel; he falls asleep in a locus amoenus. As the narrator sleeps, the Pearl-Maiden enters his dream; the consolation she offers consists of Christian ideology and Biblical summaries. The result is a dichotomy between two different discourses: the courtly and the Christian. The Pearl’s overall message emphasizes the spiritual afterlife while the dreamer desires that which is denied to him: the living embodiment of his Pearl. He consistently responds as a courtier seeming to miss the point of the maiden’s teachings. As a result, many scholars debate the effectiveness of consolation for the narrator.
In her study, Medieval Crossover (2013), Barbara Newman examines the dialogue between the secular and the sacred. Within this study, she address the hermeneutics of sic et non (“both-and”) whereby opposites present a paradoxical puzzle (5-6). Each perspective remains valid, although representative of binary categories seeming to negate each other. When applied to the Pearl, Newman’s method of analyses uncovers a vein of inquiry unexplored in the scholarship. My paper focuses on the points of convergence between the courtly and the Christian to argue for a process of somatic healing. In effect, the narrative discloses the experiences of grieving and of recuperating rooted in its ‘crossovers’: the dream and its images physically heal the narrator. The Pearl ostensibly provides consolation for the audience. Although its message fails to satisfy the narrator’s desire, the conclusion leaves us with the hope that he may also achieve consolation, because somatic healing enables him to begin recovery from his paralyzing grief.

Natalie Anderson     PLENARY SPEAKER

Ritterspiele: The Tournament as a Knightly Game in Late Medieval Germany

The German tournament of the late 15th and early 16th centuries was many things: a chance for knights to display their martial prowess, a venue for theatre and pageantry of the highest order, and a central feature of court life. This was especially true during the reign of Holy Roman Emperor Maximilian I (1459-1519), a devoted lover of the tournament and, throughout his lifetime, promoted this unique medieval equestrian sport throughout his empire. Under Maximilian, the tournament grew in popularity and expanded in form. Numerous illustrated and textual sources attest to the fact that the late medieval German tournament was a colourful and exciting spectacle to behold. Through these sources, modern audiences may gain a greater understanding of the drama, chivalry, and occasional humour which was central to these events, as well as an appreciation of the role which Maximilian himself played as both participant in, and pioneer of, the tournament.

Norris Lacy

[part of round table in honor of Glyn Burgess, organized by Jane Taylor]

[no abstract; I am part of the round table in honor of Glyn Burgess, organized by Jane Taylor]

Patricia Gillies

Bertran de Born's Courtly Avian: "For I take Myself to be a bird in many things"

Bertran de Born deploys avian metaphors and configurations throughout the varied range of his genre expression. While I have previously studied his use of falconry, the conflation of his courtly art and identity is much more extensive and profound. Bertran de Born himself asserts that in his poem, "Qan la novella floors par el vergan"/When the new flower appears in spring": Chant atressi cum fant li autr'ausel/car per auzel mi teing e maintas res/and I sing as do the other birds/for I take myself for a bird in many things. I propose to explore the identity implications of this poem and others in terms of Agamben's ideas on hybrid structures.

Patricia Price

Hospitality and intimidation: Food, drink, and conflict in the alliterative Morte Arthure.

In this paper I will consider the effect of references to food, drink, and courtly display in the fourteenth century anonymous alliterative Morte Arthure. Explicit descriptions of conspicuous consumption demonstrate the role of magnificent excess in establishing the elite status of a court. Likewise, contrasting coarseness of eating habits can establish a cruder power. The poet’s allusions to food and wine figure in six episodes including references to 11 specific types or preparations of wine, more than occur in the entire corpus of Chaucer, whose ties to the wine trade are well-documented. 

Arthur’s welcome for the envoys of the Roman emperor Lucius includes a scene of extravagant banqueting. He provides the finest and rarest foods accompanied by a wine fountain and exported vintages: spiced Clarett; sweet Crete; Portuguese Osay and Algarde; and Renisch and Rochelle, the more common of the list. An elegant cupboard contains jeweled cups to neutralize poison. But this conspicuous consumption has a purpose—the envoys return intimidated by this incomparable feast and report the effect of Arthur’s hospitality.

In contrast the Giant of St. Michael’s Mount consumes chrismed children washed down by generic wine. Both episodes reflect the relationship of food and drink to the power of these protagonists: Arthur dominant through courtly magnificence, the Giant’s force demonstrated by his unorthodox eating habits. 

Such episodes demonstrate the poet’s virtuosity and enliven otherwise commonplace catalogs. Three of the references to wines are the earliest examples in the MED. In addition, they cluster in the 1390’s, supporting the poem’s most recent dating. It is tempting to consider how the poet’s facility in presenting material culture connects him with better known poets of the period. Perhaps the anonymous Morte Arthure poet inhabits the world of Chaucer—that uneasy social space between the royal court and the London streets.

Pau Cañigueral Batllosera

La sentimentalitzación de Dante en la poesía cortesana del siglo XV: del marqués de Santillana a Rocabertí

Esta comunicación propone una nueva lectura de la influencia de la 'Commedia' de Dante en el 'Infierno de los enamorados' de don Iñigo Lopez de Mendoza, marqués de Santillana, y 'La glòria d'amor' de fra Bernat Hug de Rocabertí. Es cierto que la crítica ha descubierto una cantidad significativa de préstamos de la 'Commedia' en ambos poemas; sin embargo, no se ha dado una interpretación consistente del nuevo significado que adquieren los versos de Dante en las obras de llegada. A través del análisis de los procedimientos de adaptación literaria de Santillana y Rocabertí -que van desde la traducción literal, hasta la adaptación libre de motivos dantescos muy diversos-, se quiere dar cuenta de la conversión al registro sentimental de fragmentos de la 'Commedia' que no tienen nada de sentimentales en su contexto original. Esta lectura también permite establecer una jerarquía en el grado de sentimentalización que se corresponde con la cronología del género de los infiernos de amor, al cual pertenecen los dos poemas estudiados. Santillana, que con su Infierno inicia la moda de los triunfos de amor en la lírica castellana, no sólo utiliza el poema de Dante para vestir el registro sentimental de su obra, sino también para la construcción de la base alegórica de su poema. Rocabertí, en cambio, que ya escribe dentro de una tradición ampliamente cultivada, lo transforma todo al registro patético. Parece que estos dos poetas cortesanos del siglo XV abandonaron las discusiones morales y teológicas que abundan en la Commedia, diluyendo el sentido original de los versos dantescos que les sirvieron de inspiración, para poner un poema sabio en vernáculo al servicio de registros líricos vigentes en los géneros que ellos conreaban.


Raymond Cormier

Three's Company? The Hunting Scene in Virgil's AENEID IV and its Courtly Imitators

Carthaginian Dido's decision to set off on an early-morning hunt is motivated by her aim to smother the now-festering flames of love for Aeneas, caused by the gods (Cupid, Venus and Juno too). At Aen. IV. 115-172 the morning hunt commences and by noon, Dido and Aeneas have consumed their joy in passionate ecstasy. The passage is adapted in interesting ways by both the anonymous _Roman d'Eneas_ (ca. 1160) by Heinrich von Veldeke in his _Eneit_ (ca. 1170-1190). My paper will review the Latin original, then compare it with the Old French and medieval German versions.

Regina Psaki

Participatory Culture Before and After the Age of Print: Medieval Romance and Modern Fan Fiction

The romances of medieval Europe, emerging in the twelfth century, were not intended to be original inventions; the tales were adapted from earlier sources, and the value lay in their form, in the beauty and efficacy of their retelling. Iconic romance prologues privilege this feature, e.g., Chrétien’s assurance of a "bele conjointure" or Jean Renart’s boast of inventing the ornamental lyric insertion. Tales, protagonists, plots, circulated freely; they were no one’s “intellectual property,” a construct for a future time. The continuations of successful chivalric romances were a natural extension of the public-domain nature of imaginative fictions in general and episodic romance in particular. In the late 20th and 21st centuries we are witnessing a rollback of notions of intellectual property and a concomitant flowering of continuations, alternative narratives, and appropriations in the form of fan fiction. The attitudes of copyright authors toward fan fiction run the gamut from appreciation to indifference to loathing and litigation, and the marketplace too approaches fan fiction with both circumspection and a speculative gleam. This paper will explore the parallels between medieval and post-modern appropriations of pre-existing literary corpora, using the various *Continuations du Conte du Graal* studied in detail by Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner (2009) and the genre of fan fiction, generated and consumed largely outside of print media, around such popular figures as Elizabeth Bennett, Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin, Harry Potter, and Sherlock Holmes.

Richard Trachsler

Marie de France and Anonymous Lays

his is part of Round Table for Glyn Burgess organized by Jean Blacker

Ron Akehurst

Law and Love and Loyalty.

English loyal suggests "faithful to a person or another entity, regular" as "a loyal subject of the Queen; A loyal theater patron." French loyal suggests "honest, legitimate" as in "loyaux coûts, marchandise bonne et loyale." (Petit Littré) In the Conseil of Pierre de Fontaines, loial means 'legal, proper, permissible, acceptable' as in loial essoine, 'a proper excuse for not coming to court when summoned' or loial partie 'an appropriate division of property between heirs'. This paper examines the use of the word loial, leial in Old French legal texts, and in courtly texts, notably French customary law compilations and the love poems of the troubadours and trouvères. Grevisse in his Dictionnaire de l'ancien français defines OFr loialté as "1. Légalité, légitimité, 2. Bonne foi, loyauté, 3. Bonne qualité." What light do these usages and definitions shed on the perception of expressions like leial amor, amant loial, etc? Is a courtly lover an "amant légitime" or even an "amant attitré"?

Ronald Cook

Chaitivel: A Reconstruction of the Performance of a 12th Century Lai

This presentation will explore the reconstruction of a 12th century performance of Marie de France's “Chaitivel.” Marie's narrative lai will be performed in an original English version written in the form of versification used by Marie in writing her lais. The performance of the narrative lai will be paired with the performance of music from Marie’s lifetime on a reproduction of an early medieval harp.

The performance will be preceded by a brief discussion of the relationship between Marie’s lai, the conventions of courtly love, and the music that will be performed with “Chaitivel.” The harp that will be used is a modern reconstruction by Catherine Campbell of an early medieval harp and is based upon a depiction of a harp in an English manuscript dating from about 1200.

Roy Rosenstein

“To the Shores of Tripoli”: Jaufre Rudel Today

No one has yet revamped emblematic twelfth-century troubadour Jaufre Rudel into a United States Marine, as his legendary journey “to the shores of Tripoli” might seem to invite. He went “over there,” as anyone who knows the tale will recall, not only “to fight (his) country’s battles / on the land and on the sea” with the Second Crusade but perhaps also as a pilgrim embarked on a voyage which brought him closer to that distant love (amor de lonh) which he sang and to which he has ever since – Semper fi !– been linked in subsequent literature, from the earliest allusions perhaps predating the vida and certainly in countless retellings of it since then. To honor Lexington’s distinguished Rudelian, Rupert Pickens, I will review the latest editions and translations, the recent iconography and stagings, along with the other manifestations of a continued interest and perhaps even a Renaissance in Rudeliana in the twenty-first century.

Sara Sturm-Maddox

The Courtier in the _Dits_ of Guillaume de Machaut

The _dits_ of Guillaume de Machaut are rich in evocations of courtly pastimes. As we might expect, many of them are highly conventional and function primarily as decor, setting the stage for a courtly narrative. In the _dits_ considered in sequence, however, they also contribute substantially to the creation of the first-person narrator. In the early _Jugement dou roy de Behaingne_, that narrator is not integral to courtly society. Overhearing tales of amorous grief told by a knight and a lady, he proposes to escort them to the castle of his patron John of Luxembourg; upon arrival he boasts of his familiarity with the royal household, but nonetheless remains an outsider who performs the work of a _clerc_, recording the king’s verdict concerning the respective sufferings of his aristocratic guests. In the _Remede de Fortune_, however, a solemn prologue concerning the process of human learning is followed by a narrative in which the narrator proposes to illustrate its precepts with his personal experience. While the poem is again preoccupied with the perennial topics of Love and Fortune, it depicts in detail the narrator’s initiation into courtoisie and his emergence as a full participant in courtly society. In that process I focus on the prominence of courtly pastimes, both individual and collective. While no doubt engaging the complicity of Machaut’s courtly audience, they contribute to the affirmation of the emerging status of the poet himself as pre-eminent courtier-poet, the position that will be affirmed in subsequent _dits_, particularly the Fonteinne amoureuse, and reach its culmination in the portrayal of the aging poet in his late _Voir-Dit_.

Sarah-Grace Heller

Troubadours Pursuing Furs

Furs are frequently mentioned in troubadour texts as a prized form of remuneration for courtly service for knights, poets, and performers alike. Furs often function as the symbol par excellence of the courtly life when poets renounce it, from the "vair e gris e sembeli" furs abandoned along with joy and pleasure in Guilhem IX's last canso, to the reminiscences and renunciations of those same furs in tenso 458.1 between "Uguet" and "Reculaire" (c. 1268). While pelts imported from the Baltic were among the most valued across Europe (notably "vair" or "vayras" in Occitan, the grey and white backs and bellies of Russian squirrels, as well as sable, "sembeli"), the cold mountains and forests of the Pyrenees and Massif Central yielded local furs as well. This paper will compare troubadour mentions of fur with records of fur trade from tolls and merchant accounts such as those of the Bonis brothers in Montauban in an effort to place the relative values of different types of furs in context. Vair was prized, but this suggests it was not what everyone was able to wear. Wolf skins had a certain presence in Occitania, for example. Peire Vidal's vida claims he was from Toulouse, and son of a "pelicer," a furrier or skinner. While some editors have taken these as the only two probable facts in the vida, it is worth considering these putative origins in light of Peire's poems addressed to Loba ("She-Wolf"), in which he speaks of donning wolf fur to pursue her, and consider them in the context of the fur trade around Toulouse, where there was noteworthy commerce in wolf and other native pelts.

Shawn Cooper

Malory's Morte Darthur: A Critique of Courtly Chivalry

This paper will argue that Thomas Malory’s _Le Morte Darthur_ is a structural critique of courtly literature that demonstrates the dangers of utilizing courtly conceptions as the basis for real world cultural and political governance.

Malory offers an implicit critique of the systems supported by chivalry and chivalric culture, presenting a literary conceptualization of a chivalric monarchy, and then demonstrating that the contradictions and insufficiencies of that system necessarily undermine and eventually destroy it. These include, but are not limited to, the conflicts between loyalty to family, feudal lord, and love object; the justice and necessity of chivalric military conflict itself; and, the vexed intersections between pious religious devotion and impious-but-chivalrous action. For Malory, and England, these were not merely abstract concerns, as the mid-fifteenth century Wars of the Roses amply illustrate.

For the Morte, Malory’s sources were in the courtly literature of French verse and prose romances, along with the Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthur and the Stanzaic _Morte Arthur_. Malory’s understanding of literary chivalry is derived primarily from the French sources, rather than the English sources, so that Malory’s examination of chivalry is predominantly an examination of courtly French literary chivalry. In addition, Malory may have considered the use of chivalric literary concepts as generative tools of political power in the reigns of kings such as Edward III of England, whose governance seemed to offer a beguilingly stable alternative to the civil strife of Malory’s own time.

Although it has traditionally been argued that Malory Morte can be read as advocating kingly, chivalrous conduct, this paper will demonstrate the value of reading against that tradition for the purpose of opening up new avenues of discourse in the study of Malory’s Morte and the connections between chivalry and the creation, maintenance, and cultural deployment of the monarchical state.

Stacey Hahn

Love's Labour's Lost: The Rhetoric of Rejection in the Prose Lancelot

Although life can be difficult for star-crossed lovers, it is even more perilous, both emotionally and strategically, for those who love and are rejected. Numerous examples of spurned lovers span the whole of the Prose _Lancelot_. I will examine various categories of rejected lovers, the reasons for their rejection, the outcomes of the rejection, the language used to entreat reluctant lovers and spurn unwanted advances. In examining the rejections, I hope to throw more light on the intricacies of a favorite courtly pastime.

Stephanie Cain Van D'Elden

A Glimpse into the Realm of Lost Tristan Artefacts

In my book, Tristan and Isolde: Medieval Illustrations of the Verse Romances, I have attempted to show all the extant medieval images in diverse media from the verse Tristan in various languages. What about the many lost ones?

Duke Louis d’Anjou, son of King Jean of France, personally owned many precious objects which he described and catalogued in inventories (1364-1365 and 1379-1380). Henri Moranville explains why none of these items can be identified in a museum today by the fact that between 1381 and 1384 many precious pieces went to the mint to finance the French attempt to capture the Neapolitan throne. Two wonderful pieces in my catalogue give us an idea of the opulence of such artefacts: the Milan goblet c. 1335 and the Burghley Nef, 1427-28.

Items similar to those in Duke Louis’s inventory are described in medieval literature such as L ‘Escoufle (The Kite) by Jean Renart from about 1200. According to Renart an enameled goblet depicts King Mark and the swallow with Isolde’s golden hair, Tristan shipwrecked, Isolde and her dog Hudain, the sword between the naked lovers in the grotto, and the dwarf who spied on the lovers from an apple tree. Also the English romance of Emaré from the early 15th c (MS Cotton Caligula A ii) contains a description of a cloth adorned with gold, azure, and precious stones, in each corner of which was a pair of true lovers including Yrstram and Isowde. This cloth was sent by the Sultan of Turkey to the Franks.

In my paper I will discuss the inventories of now missing objects, the stories in which such artefacts play an important role, and show pictures of the Milan goblet and the Burghley Nef.


Susan Hopkirk

Liminal Beds and Dangerous Textiles in Marie de France’s Lais

While Marie de France gives detailed descriptions of supernatural textiles, her references to other textiles are brief, suggesting they are important not as material objects, but as plot devices. Without the interference of textiles, the four-part structure of her lai narratives would end abruptly after the second stage, with the villain triumphant, and the initial problem of female doubling intact. However, textiles initiate a third stage of protagonist agency, and end with the fourth stage of a new, often happier, status quo.

From a plot perspective, clothing on the body in Marie’s lais has a fixed meaning. A passive, static item signalling social status, it is key to the first two plot stages. However, in the third stage, it is textiles independent of the body, household textiles such as bed linens, that provide the space and time necessary for key plot developments. Significantly, these household textiles delineate liminal spaces, particularly beds, where life-changing events can occur. Thus, household textiles, and their associated spaces, allow for the villainous doubling to be rejected, and can provide the fourth-stage plot resolution of a happy ending for the lais’ protagonists, one where textiles revert to passive clothing that confirms the new status quo.

However, there is a risk in household textiles. Strange things happen in beds in Marie de France. The liminal space created by these autonomous textiles is an almost Otherworldly one where anything can happen. While these textile-created spaces offer the opportunity for an improved status quo, they also threaten the loss of current social status, and even life itself. The pleasurable haven of the bed and its linens can quickly change into a tomb and shrouds. And this is the primary difference between static clothing and these uncontrolled household textiles: they cause change, rather than simply acknowledging it in material form.

Susann Samples

"At table in Heinrich von dem Tuerlin's Diu Crone"

"At table" connotes community; people coming together to partake in a meal. In medieval romances "at table' is an important activity that brings together knights, ladies, and diverse guests in a courtly setting. This event has many functions and interpretations (political, social, romantic, to name a few. My paper will study the significance of "at table" in the thirteenth-century Germanic romance, Diu Crone. In Diu Crone "at table" is a social activity that often reveals the changing role of chivalry and courtliness.

Wendy Pfeffer

An Illustration of Illustrations

For my forthcoming book, Le Festin du troubadour, the press requested that I find illustrations to accompany my words. This is less easy a task than would seem, since I wanted my work on medieval Occitan food culture to have illustrations from the region. I declined to turn to the familiar images of the Italian-origin Tacuinum sanitatus, used in just about every work on medieval food because they are detailed, labeled, and beautiful. However, the Occitan manuscript corpus does not abound in similar illustrated materials. While several chansonniers have author portraits, most of the narrative works are not illustrated (an exception is the romance of Jaufre); the histories and epics are not illustrated (an exception is the Canso de la Crosada, illustrated with line drawings). 

This paper explains how I found my images and how I obtained them. In addition, the paper will present the wealth of resources now available online for the Occitan researcher. The presentation will include PowerPoint slides of selected images, including some chosen for use in the forthcoming book, Le Festin du troubadour: La nourriture, la société et la littérature en Occitanie, 1100-1500.

Illustrations form part of the courtly pastime theme of the congress; it is surely more than a scholarly pastime to seek images that will help convey one’s message, either of a scholarly work or of a lesson intended for students.

Yuko Tagaya

Courtly Pastime of the Nobility in Japan: Fascinating Elaborate Techniques of Waka Poems

In the Heian Period (794-1192), Courtly Literature in Japan comes into full bloom. One genre is waka poetry (a 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic poem). The nobility enjoy waka for their pastime and various kinds of waka parties are held on virtually every occasion; thus, composing a waka is one of the essential accomplishments for courtiers and court ladies. A number of enthusiasts are absorbed in the techniques of versification with elaborate ploys and wordplay such as acrostics, pangrams, onomatopoeia, and concentrics. 
Among them, Minamoto-no-Shitagou (911-983) is famous for his elaborate techniques of versification. To him is attributed authorship of the Japanese ‘first fantasy narrative’, Kaguya-hime [A Princess from the Moon]. One of his representative waka is “Ame-tsuchi no Uta” [Song of Rain and Earth]. It is the oldest perfect pangram in the Japanese language: it consists of 48 Japanese hiragana ‘letters’ (Japanese syllabary), which make a waka based on nature. The first letters of each of the 48 waka constitute the poem “Ame-tsuchi no Uta”; moreover, the collective last letters also become “Ame-tsuchi no Uta.” He composed other poems with elaborate and subtly complicated techniques. His techniques exhibit one aspect of the pastime of the nobility as well as of Japanese waka in the summit days of courtly literature.