Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Christine De Pizan and Medieval French Lyric

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Christine De Pizan and Medieval French Lyric

Article excerpt

Christine de Pizan and Medieval French Lyric, ed. Earl Jeffrey Richards (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 1998). x + 24l pp. ISBN 0-8130-1618-5. $55.00. When Martin Le Franc expressed his conviction in the Champion des dames (c.1442) that Christine de Pizan's work must not be buried with her bones, even he could not have foreseen her current posthumous fame. This volume of nine essays, dedicated to the memory of Daniel Poirion, will occupy a distinguished place in the past decade's sequence of collections of essays devoted exclusively to her, edited respectively by Richards, Williamson, Margolis, and Reno (1991); McLeod (1992); Brabant (1992); Zimmermann and De Rentiis (1994); Dulac and Ribemont (1995); Desmond (1998); Ribemont (1998). After an introductory essay by Earl J. Richards which skilfully contextualizes all the contributions, William D. Paden convincingly argues that the term former fixes is a misnomer, and that Christine consistently exploited flexibility of form for expressive purposes. James C. Laidlaw gives a characteristically perceptive analysis of the Cent balades, exploring the problems that faced Christine as she began to write, her models (Machaut, Deschamps), her marriage of form and content, her fusion of entertainment and didactic purpose. In a close reading of the Lay mortel (first published in French Studies, 50 (1996), 385-99), Barbara K. Altmann illustrates `the potential of poems to signify beyond their own textual boundaries' when we read them side by side with others of similar or dissimilar form. …

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