Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: Fortune and desire in Guillaume de Machaut
Author: Beer, Lewis
ISNI:       0000 0004 2693 5760
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2010
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
There is a pervasive tendency, in Machaut scholarship, to read his poetry as having value only insofar as it speaks to our postmodern age: either it is fragmented and riven with ambiguities, or it celebrates eroticism and the things of this world for their own sake; in any case, it resists religious and moral orthodoxy. Such readings, while often valuable in themselves, fail to take sufficient account of the influence which Boethian and Neoplatonic ideas had upon Machaut, and thus misunderstand his work on a fundamental level. By paying attention to the Boethian content in the narrative dits, and by analysing Machaut's verse more thoroughly than has been done before, my thesis demonstrates not only this author's moral orthodoxy, but also his extremely sophisticated didactic methods. I begin with the Confort d'ami, Machaut's most overtly moral work. The Confort engages with the supposed 'worldly' perspective of its imprisoned addressee, adapting biblical and classical exempla in order to coax Charles of Navarre towards a deeper understanding of worldly fortune. In Chapter 2 I show how, in the Prologue and the Dit du vergier, the ambiguity so beloved of critics can serve as a moral commentary on the carnality and self-absorption of the erotic and artistic points of view. Having established, in the preceding chapters, that this author's approach to his subject is ambiguous and critical, in Chapter 3 I explore the extremes of his pessimism, and show how his love poetry can incorporate sophisticated philosophical ideas, through my analysis of the Jugement du roy de Behaigne. The thesis culminates in a detailed reading of the Remede de Fortune. Through his deliberately idealised statements about education, through his application of these views to the art of courtly love, through his composition (and setting to music) of a sequence of virtuoso lyrics, and through his explicit invocations of and borrowings from Boethius, Machaut develops an empathic but ultimately, as I argue, deeply sceptical vision of earthly love.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PQ Romance literatures