Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Ecriture et Pouvoir a L'aube Des Temps Modernes

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Ecriture et Pouvoir a L'aube Des Temps Modernes

Article excerpt

Joel Blanchard and Jean-Claude Muhlcthalcr, Ecriture et pouvoir a l'aube des temps modernes, Perspectives litteraires (Paris: Presses Universitaires de France, 2002). 230 pp. ISBN 2-13-052398-6. euro19.50.

This perceptive study of the interaction between lay author and prince in latemedieval and early modern France will be welcomed by specialists and non-specialists alike. For both categories of reader, the authors provide a clear, reliable, and elegantly written guide to a complex, innovative period, once dismissed as an autumnal era of disintegration and decline. The book is divided into six chapters covering respectively mirrors for the prince; the poet in the political arena; criticism of the court; war, the state, and chivalry; rhetoric, sacralisation, and transcendence; 'la voix familiere du praticien' (on Commynes). Discussion of these issues is anchored in close engagement with specific authors, such as Charticr, Christine de Pizan, Commynes, Deschamps, Froissart, Gerson, Machaut, Molinet ... (on pp. 197-203 there is a useful chronological table of works/authors/historical events). What holds the various analytical themes together is the all-important figure of the lay writer, in his or her varied role as apologist, polemicist, educator, or critic: indeed the emergence of the lay author and his or her interventions in political affairs is one of the most interesting and innovative aspects of the whole era, pointing forward to the modern notion of the ecrivain/e engage/e. …

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