Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Dernier Ménestrel? Jean De le Mote, Une Poétique En Transition (Autour De 1340)

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Le Dernier Ménestrel? Jean De le Mote, Une Poétique En Transition (Autour De 1340)

Article excerpt

Silvère Ménégaldo, Le Dernier Ménestrel? Jean de Le Mote, une poétique en transition (autour de 1340), Publications romanes et françaises 265 (Geneva: Droz, 2015). 428 pp. ISBN 978-2-600-01867-8. £49.22.

Jean de Le Mote is one of those later medieval jobbing poets whose name is familiar, but whose work is little read, and little discussed; this excellent, meticulously detailed study should do much to revive interest in him. He was the author of a handful of ballades, and of three more substantial works seemingly composed within the couple of years 1339-41: a eulogy for a patron, Les Regrets Guillaume, comte du Hainaut (1339); a courtly fiction, Le Parfait du paon (1340); a dream-allegory, La Voie d'Enfer et de Paradis (c.1341) - all of them published today, tellingly, in now rather inaccessible editions, respectively, in 1882, 1972, and 1940 (the last repr. 1969). Silvère Ménégaldo marshals and interprets the little evidence relating to Le Mote's life (in particular by analysing his patrons and their literary spheres): a native of Hainaut - to the court of whose count he seems to have been attached - he seems also to have frequented, for his ballades, the puys of northern France and the Low Countries; his Regrets were, he says, commissioned by Philippa of Hainaut, queen to Edward III; in 1340, we find him in Paris, in the service of Simon de Lille, official goldsmith to the court of France, where he composed his Parfait and his Voie d'Enfer et de Paradis; somewhere between 1341 and 1343, he may have been attached to the English royal court. Ménégaldo then offers chapters devoted to the manuscripts containing Le Mote's works; a study of him as a 'professional' poet; an analysis and assessment of the plainte, and of Le Mote's place in that tradition; an analysis of the Parfait and Le Mote's ingenuity in rounding off a long-standing cycle of poems; an assessment of the Voie showing the poet's expertise in manipulating and structuring the dream-allegory; an appraisal of Le Mote's ballades in the context particularly of the ballade-competition described in the Parfait. …

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