The Machaut Map
The Machaut Map
Geoffrey Chaucer, Christine de Pizan, the Diegetic Self, and Pre-Renaissance Individualism in Northern Europe
This chapter analyzes Guillaume de Machaut’s legacy as inherited by Geoffrey Chaucer and Christine de Pizan, especially in the context of a conceptualization of both Machaut the poet and his poetry as cultural capital. Machaut’s judgment poems are paired with his Le Confort d’ami and La Fonteinne amoureuse in order to establish a basis for the younger poets’ literary strategies that constitute, beyond their writings’ aesthetics, sociopolitical acts that embody intentions going beyond poetics per se. Through a discussion of a number of the younger’ poets’ works—Geoffrey’s “Wordes unto Adam, His Owne Scriveyn” and the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women; and Christine’s Cent ballades d’amant et des dames, Epistre au dieu d’amours, Livre de Trois Vertus, and other writings—the chapter argues that Machaut created a scene of writing for Chaucer and Christine to enter into, thus entering a new world in which even if the status of the patron is not diminished, that of the poet is elevated through writing in both literary and political realms. The poetics of authorship as Machaut both inherited and further developed, reaches its pinnacle in the younger French poet’s work as she is seen both as poet and political thinker.
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