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Title: Eschatological Subjects: Divine and Literary Judgment in Fourteenth-Century French Poetry
Authors: Moreau, John
Advisors: Kay, Sarah
Marchesi, Simone
Contributors: French and Italian Department
Keywords: Deguileville
Subjects: Literature
Issue Date: 2012
Publisher: Princeton, NJ : Princeton University
Abstract: This dissertation traces a major trope of later medieval literature: the self-representation of the poet as a defendant who must answer for his poetry before God. In tracing this trope of divine judgment on poetry from the late thirteenth century to the early fifteenth century in France, I argue that the later medieval author's relationship to his audience is portrayed as a site of eschatological judgment, where God's scrutiny is always taking place through the reader's reception of the work of art. While the conceit of the poet on trial before a divine readership is a distinct rhetorical gesture, it is also an expression of ethical anxiety in many ways unique to later medieval vernacular literature. Through the exploration of five major instances of the trope of eschatological judgment on literature--in the work of Marian confraternal poets, Guillaume de Deguileville, Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, and Christine de Pizan--I follow the trope's development as a rhetorical device during the period. At the same time, I show how the ways in which this rhetorical device was used can illuminate our understanding of later medieval authors' conception of the ethical stakes of literature, of their own authority, and of their connection to audiences.
Alternate format: The Mudd Manuscript Library retains one bound copy of each dissertation. Search for these copies in the library's main catalog
Type of Material: Academic dissertations (Ph.D.)
Language: en
Appears in Collections:French and Italian

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