To research and write the final phases of a study on the French poet and administrator
Eustache Deschamps (ca. 1340-1406). The first volume provides an analysis of Deschamps'
poetics within the context of the development of first-person narration in French
poetry. Deschamps chose the French vernacular over Latin, appropriating for himself
the traditional authority of the Classical auctores while expanding the
literary canon of the liberal arts. Deschamps reinvented and redefined vernacular
poetry by adding elements from his own life experience. He is the first poet to
articulate specific and poetically meaningful links between his administrative
duties, his physical and emotional self and his poetic craft.
volume of this project examines Deschamps' poetics through the manuscripts and
early printed editions which preserve his work. During the period of the Camargo
fellowship, a manuscript in Aix-en-Provence provided important information on
how codices were compiled in the late Middle Ages. Part of a "manuscript family,"
this codex contains several eulogistic poems by Deschamps on Bertrand du Guesclin,
hero of the Hundred Years' War, along with the latter's prose biography. A succinct
grouping, the poems add variety to the codex and complement the prose account,
each poem naming mourners of Du Guesclin: French notables, geographic regions,
historical figures and even the mythic knights of the Round Table. The association
of Deschamps' work with other prominent texts in such manuscripts increases his
authorial prestige while establishing new meaning for his work within the larger
codicological context This project has significant implications for future scholarship
on the figure of the author as well as on the processes involved in late medieval
codicology and early printing.