A Companion to Guillaume de Machaut


Offering the first comprehensive study of Guillaume de Machaut’s vast corpus of text and music, the 18 essays in this collection explore the author’s engagement with the ethical, political, and aesthetic concerns of his time. Building on interdisciplinary interest in Machaut, this collection broadens discussion of his work by exploring overlapping interests in his poetry and music; addressing lesser-studied writings; offering fresh perspectives on lyric, authorial voice, and performance; and engaging more critically with his reception by medieval bookmakers, modern editors, and the music industry. The result is a promising map for future research in the field that will be of interest to students and specialists alike.

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Jennifer Bain, Ph.D. (2001) in Music Theory, Stony Brook University, is Chair of the Department of Music at Dalhousie University. She has published widely on medieval music, recently editing a special issue of the Journal of Music Theory.

Deborah McGrady, Ph.D. (1997) in French, University of California, Santa Barbara, is Chair of the Department of French at the University of Virginia. She is the author of Controlling Readers: Guillaume de Machaut and His Late Medieval Audience (Toronto, 2006).
A CHOICE Recommended Academic Title; "Upper division undergraduates through faculty" -- C.E. Campbell, Cottey College, CHOICE May 2013.

“This volume succeed unequivocally in meeting its stated aims, through the quality of the individual essays and its well-conceived architecture. It represents a significant contribution to the burgeoning field of Machaut scholarship. Moreover, it may contribute to making Machaut a more accessible figure within university curricula. It will be informative and refreshing for all those whose interest lie in the world of late medieval music and poetry .”
Tamsyn Rose-Steel, University of Exeter. In: The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 65, No. 2 (April 2014), pp. 411-412.

‘’A Companion to Guillaume de Machaut will be of use to researchers of literature and music at all levels, but especially for graduate students and those beginning to cross disciplinary boundaries. Bain and McGrady have assembled an introduction to the field of Machaut studies that will bring its readers up to speedwith a large and growing bibliography […] it should be acquired by any library that serves departments of French and music.’’
Anna Kathryn Gray, DePaul University. In: Renaissance Quarterly, Vol. 66, No. 4, Winter 2013, p. 1396.

‘’Machaut’s literary and musical accomplishments stand out in both breadth and depth in the fourteenth as well as in the twenty-first century. This recent addition to Machaut scholarship will be a generating force for research in the near future and will provide new avenues and multidisciplinary approaches to his work that will keep scholars busy for the next decade.’’
Bradford Lee Eden, Valparaiso University. In: Sixteenth Century Journal,Vol. 45, No. 2, 2014, p.432.

‘’The editors have done a formidable job at rounding up such a highly impressive group of established scholars, and these authors have provided a substantial body of rich, stimulating scholarship. I recommend the volume for non-specialists and specialists alike, for it will be of great use to both types of readers as the various musical and literary fields of Machaut studies continue to develop in the coming years.’’
Jared C. Hartt, Oberlin College Conservatory of Music. In: H-France Review, 14, 77, 2014, p. 3.

‘’It’s contents present insightful, sometimes provocative, but always stimulating commentaries on Machaut’s work. All those seriously concerned with studying Machaut’s music will find themselves profitably detained within its pages.’’
David Maw, Oxford University. In: Early Music, V. 43, 1, February 2015, p. 636.


List of Contributors

List of tables, figures and examples

Introduction, Deborah McGrady and Jennifer Bain


1. The Poetic I, Helen J. Swift

2. Guillaume de Machaut and the Forms of Pre-Humanism in Fourteenth-Century France, Anne-Hélène Miller

3. Poet as Musician, Elizabeth Eva Leach


4. Ma fin est mon commencement :The Essence of Poetry and Song in Guillaume de Machaut, Jacqueline Cerquiglini-Toulet (Translated by Jeanette Patterson (Department of French and Italian, Princeton University)

5. “et mon commencement ma fin”: Genre and Machaut’s Musical Language in His Secular Songs, Jennifer Bain

6. Machaut and Debate Poetry, Emma Cayley

7. Moving across Media: Machaut’s Lais and the Judgment Tradition, Benjamin Albritton


8. Machaut’s Musical Heritage, Mark Everist

9. Self-Citation and Compositional Process in Guillaume de Machaut’s Lyrics with and without Music: The Case of “Dame, se vous n’avez aperceü” (Rondeau 13), Yolanda Plumley

10. The Motets Read and Heard, Alice V. Clark

11. Declamation as Expression in Machaut’s Music, Lawrence Earp


12. Guillaume de Machaut and the Classical Tradition: Individual Talent and (Un)Communal Tradition, R. Barton Palmer

13. ‘Laissier le mal, le bien eslire’: History, Allegory, and Ethical Reading in the Works of Guillaume de Machaut, Daisy Delogu

14. History's Fixers: Informants, Mediators, and Writers in the Prise d’Alixandre, Zrinka Stahuljak

15. Instrumental Comparisons: Machaut’s Shorter Dits, Julie Singer


16. Guillaume de Machaut’s Lyric Poetry, Barbara K. Altmann

17. Performing Machaut’s Messe de Notre Dame: from Modernist Allegiances to the Postmodern Hinterland, Kirsten Yri

18. Machaut and his Material Legacy, Deborah McGrady



Medievalists interested in Guillaume de Machaut, late medieval literature, music, culture, manuscript studies, and medieval through modern reception of medieval texts and music.