A book examining the way in which the troubadour Guiraut Riquier compiled his court songs into a canzoniere. Riquier (fl. 1254-1292) hoped that his self-anthologizing might bring him fame and authority. Such success was increasingly hard for a poet to win in late thirteenth-century courts of southern France, or even in Spain, after Alfonso X's fortunes waned. (Riquier spent ten years at Alfonso's court; his other chief patrons were in Narbonne and Rodez.) Spurred by ambition and need alike, Riquier determined to ferry his poetry across the divide separating song culture from book culture. To this end, he devised several strategies of ordering and grouping poems, which strikingly prefigure Dante's Vita nuova (c. 1292-93) and Petrarch's Rime sparse (c. 1366-74). The strategies may be pictured as a series of steps. (1) A chronological series of poems is grouped into several cycles. (2) These cycles are all organized symmetrically, according to precise mathematical ratios. (3) Two (or more) lyrical genres are alternated, so as to frame each cycle and establish transitions. (4) Each cycle possesses a narrative trajectory, and functions as a chapter in a love fiction, told by the person in the first poem and alleged to be autobiographical. (5) This narrative is accompanied by other strands of autobiography, profiling the poet's stages of artistic and spiritual development. (6) All these plot lines are brought together at a particular episode, which is the death of the beloved lady—Riquier's Belh Deport, Dante's Beatrice, or Petrarch's Laura. In the concluding discussion of Riquier's canzoniere and its Italian counterparts, the crucial issues are the relation of poetic art to death and what ensues for the communication between the poet and his intended addressees. The elegiac mode, as is well known, customarily challenges the poet to overcome time and death through the permanence of art. However, in troubadour culture, the permanence of lyric art was difficult to conceive as a form of communication other than the oral performance of songs before an attentive and discerning audience. Riquier knew that such audiences were melting away in his society; he foresaw and mourned the approaching death of his poetic tradition. He sensed how a vernacular book culture might offer ways of rescuing his art. At the same time, he shrank back from the prospect of poetry becoming a distant, disembodied form of communication. Dante and Petrarch, however, were drawn to explore closely and fully the central stillness of written poetry, its presence paradoxically grounded in absence.