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Title: The mind-body relationship and French poetry (c 1240-1500)
Author: Bodenham, Charles Henry Lubienski
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1973
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Accounts of French medieval verse have always supposed that there was no readily identifiable general theory of poetry in the Middle Ages. At most, it is accepted that there were arts of versification (the Latin Poetrie of the XII/XIII centuries, the French Arts de Seconde Rhetorique of the XVth century), which covered points of grammar, rather than of "theory" as the term is usually understood. However, there were non-literary theories which were systematically used by certain medieval poets. They derived from Greco-Arabic, rather than Latin, learning. The most unstable of these were theories concerning the relationship of mind and body - in sleep, in semi-wakefulness and in melancholy. Encyclopedists and men of learning began to relate poetry to the sciences of the quadrivium in Late Antiquity (Augustine, Boethius). This tendency became increasingly clear in the XII/XIII centuries, at the same time as the diffusion of texts like the Avicenna Canon of Medicine and the pseudo-Aristotelian Problemata. Jean de Meun was the first French author to relate the new sciences to poetic expression on an important scale. His discoveries were exploited by a number of poets in the XIV/XV centuries. The first major poets to use an art of poetry (that is, an ars poetica, rather than an ars versificatoria) and to apply its lessons to their work were Chastelain and Francois Villon. Their use of Averroes's commentary on Aristotle - the Poetria Aristotelis - has gone unnoticed. Towards the end of the fifteenth century French poetry evolved away from its interest in science in the direction of a number of ill-defined aims. Some of these were moralizing, others appear to be concerned with pure technique. Almost none of the poetry then written attempted to imitate the qualities of classical verse. It was concerned with problems of formal expression, rather than with exploring the structure of the mind or of the universe, as previously.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Romance Literature