Knowing Poetry: Verse in Medieval France from the Rose to the Rhétoriqueurs by Adrian ArmstrongKnowing Poetry: Verse in Medieval France from the Rose to the Rhétoriqueurs by Adrian Armstrong

Knowing Poetry: Verse in Medieval France from the Rose to the Rhétoriqueurs

byAdrian Armstrong, SARAH KAY

Hardcover | April 28, 2011

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In the later Middle Ages, many writers claimed that prose is superior to verse as a vehicle of knowledge because it presents the truth in an unvarnished form, without the distortions of meter and rhyme. Beginning in the thirteenth century, works of verse narrative from the early Middle Ages were recast in prose, as if prose had become the literary norm. Instead of dying out, however, verse took on new vitality. In France verse texts were produced, in both French and Occitan, with the explicit intention of transmitting encyclopedic, political, philosophical, moral, historical, and other forms of knowledge.

In Knowing Poetry, Adrian Armstrong and Sarah Kay explore why and how verse continued to be used to transmit and shape knowledge in France. They cover the period between Jean de Meun's Roman de la rose (c. 1270) and the major work of Jean Bouchet, the last of the grands rhétoriqueurs (c. 1530). The authors find that the advent of prose led to a new relationship between poetry and knowledge in which poetry serves as a medium for serious reflection and self-reflection on subjectivity, embodiment, and time. They propose that three major works—the Roman de la rose, the Ovide moralisé, and Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy—form a single influential matrix linking poetry and intellectual inquiry, metaphysical insights, and eroticized knowledge. The trio of thought-world-contingency, poetically represented by Philosophy, Nature, and Fortune, grounds poetic exploration of reality, poetry, and community.

Adrian Armstrong is Professor of Early French Culture at The University of Manchester, the author of Technique and Technology: Script, Print, and Poetics in France 1470–1550, and the editor of several late medieval texts including Vol. 1 of the Œuvres complètes of Jean Bouchet. Sarah Kay is Professor of French at Princeton University,...
Title:Knowing Poetry: Verse in Medieval France from the Rose to the RhétoriqueursFormat:HardcoverDimensions:256 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.39 inPublished:April 28, 2011Publisher:Cornell University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0801449731

ISBN - 13:9780801449734

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Table of Contents


Part I. Situating Knowledge
1. Persistent Presence: Verse after Prose
2. Poetry and History
3. Poetry and Thought

Part II. Transmitting and Shaping Knowledge
4. Knowing the World in Verse Encyclopedias and Encyclopedic Verse
5. Knowledge and the Practice of Poetry
6. Textual Communities: Poetry and the Social Construction of Knowledge



Editorial Reviews

"In the process of exploring the various institutions and contexts in which verse is produced from the late thirteenth century onward, Knowing Poetry makes a fresh and compelling case for the study of late medieval French. In a book that can function as a literary history of French poetry in this period, Adrian Armstrong and Sarah Kay offer a rich, complex examination of the textual traditions of late medieval verse."—Marilynn Desmond, Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Binghamton University, author of Ovid's Art and the Wife of Bath