troubadours (trōō´bədôrz), aristocratic poet-musicians of S France (Provence) who flourished from the end of the 11th cent. through the 13th cent. Many troubadours were noblemen and crusader knights; some were kings, e.g., Richard I, Cœur de Lion; Thibaut IV, king of Navarre; and Alfonso X, king of Castile and León. Of the more than 400 known troubadours living between 1090 and 1292 the most famous are Jaufré Rudel de Blaia, Bernart de Ventadorn, Peire Vidal, Raimbaut de Vaqueiras, Folquet de Marseille (archbishop of Toulouse), Bertrand de Born, Arnaut Daniel, Gaucelm Faidit, Raimon de Miraval, Arnaut de Mareuil, and Guiraut Riquier. Of lower birth were the jongleurs who performed the troubadours' works and perhaps assisted in their composition. Troubadour lyrics were sung and accompanied by instruments that probably duplicated the melody (all the music preserved is monophonic). The poems were written in the southern dialect called langue d'oc. The most common forms were sirventes (political poems), plancs (dirges), albas (morning songs), pastorals, and Jeux-partis (disputes); the favorite subjects were courtly love, war, and nature. After the Albigensian Crusade (see Albigenses), in which many troubadours were caught up because their noble patrons were either sympathetic to the heretics or heretics themselves, Provençal culture declined. The influence of the widely traveling troubadours spread to central and N France, where their counterparts were the trouvères. In Germany they were imitated by the minnesingers. The tradition was also carried to Spain and Italy. In France annual festivals known as the Jeux Floraux were established in the 14th cent. to revive troubadour art.

See H. J. Chaytor, The Troubadours (1970); R. D. L. Jameson, Trails of the Troubadours (1970).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Troubadours: Selected full-text books and articles

Giving Voice to Love: Song and Self-Expression from the Troubadours to Guillaume de Machaut
Judith A. Peraino.
Oxford University Press, 2011
FREE! The Troubadours at Home: Their Lives and Personalities, Their Songs and Their World
Justin H. Smith.
G.P. Putnam's Sons, vol.1, 1899
The Troubadours and England
H. J. Chaytor.
The University Press, 1923
The Voice of the Trobairitz: Perspectives on the Women Troubadours
William D. Paden.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989
The Death of the Troubadour: The Late Medieval Resistance to the Renaissance
Gregory B. Stone.
University of Pennsylvania Press, 1994
Proverbs in Medieval Occitan Literature
Wendy Pfeffer.
University Press of Florida, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 4 "At the Midpoint in Troubadour Time"
Spain to England: A Comparative Study of Arabic, European, and English Literature of the Middle Ages
Alice E. Lasater.
University Press of Mississippi, 1974
Librarian’s tip: "The Provencal Troubadours" begins on p. 44
Romantic Medievalism: History and the Romantic Literary Ideal
Elizabeth A. Fay.
Palgrave, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Includes discussion of troubadours in multiple chapters
Early Medieval Music, up to 1300
Dom Anselm Hughes.
Geoffrey Cumberlege; Oxford University Press, 1954
Librarian’s tip: "Troubadours and Trouveres" begins on p. 224
Assembling the Lyric Self: Authorship from Troubadour Song to Italian Poetry Book
Olivia Holmes.
University of Minnesota Press, 2000
A Walking Tour in Southern France: Ezra Pound among the Troubadours
Richard Sieburth; Ezra Pound.
New Directions, 1992
Poetry in France: Metamorphoses of a Muse
Keith Aspley; Peter France.
Edinburgh University Press, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Troubadours, Trouveres, Peetes"
FREE! Early History of Singing
W. J. Henderson.
Longmans Green, 1921
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "The Troubadours, Descant and Mensural Music"
'Joglars' and the Professional Status of the Early Troubadours
Harvey, Ruth E.
Medium Aevum, Vol. 62, No. 2, Fall 1993
The Pit or the Pedestal? the Dichotomization of the Lady in Troubadour Lyric
Sigal, Gale.
The Romanic Review, Vol. 84, No. 2, March 1993
Peer-reviewed publications on Questia are publications containing articles which were subject to evaluation for accuracy and substance by professional peers of the article's author(s).
The Empress Eudoxia and the Troubadours
Harvey, Ruth E.
Medium Aevum, Vol. 70, No. 2, Fall 2001
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