Studies In Medieval French Literature: The Troubadours

FRIT-F 615 — Spring 2023

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Elizabeth Hebbard
I 105
Days and Times
T 3:00P-5:00P
Course Description

Troubadour lyric has long been considered foundational to literary culture in the Middle Ages, particularly in its development and elaboration of the influential concept of fin’amors (courtly love), and in the early date of the expansive and virtuosic vernacular poetic community that the tradition represents. This community of troubadours comprised all 12th- and 13th-century poets and composers who wrote songs in Occitan. Unlike most medieval works, the majority of which are transmitted anonymously, troubadour lyrics circulated with hundreds of names in medieval sources. In this seminar, we will use troubadour lyric as a case study for exploring larger questions around authorship in the medieval period, including authority, attribution, and anonymity. Our approach will encompass a range of related cultural and material considerations, such as the manuscripts themselves (including their author portraits), the Occitan language and its regional dialects, the interaction of text and melody (including the common practice of reusing existing melodies), gender, performance, and the construction of literary community and individual identity through song. Our readings and discussions will build this context while students become familiar with key figures of the tradition and read broadly across major and minor lyric genres.

Discussion will be in English, and facing page translations will be provided. No prior knowledge of medieval languages is assumed. Students are, however, expected to engage with medieval language traditions relevant to their research area(s).

FRIT-F 615       #31166        3:00P-5:00P            T          I 105       Hebbard E

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