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Guillaume de MachautSecretary, Poet, Musician$
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Elizabeth Eva Leach

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449338

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449338.001.0001

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Remembering Machaut

(p.263) 6 Death
Guillaume de Machaut

Elizabeth Eva Leach

Cornell University Press

This chapter looks at the ultimate fortune of all humanity—death. Machaut's works do not just enact the symbolic lyrical deaths of male courtly lovers whose personae are clearly distinct from their author. Of a piece with his pseudo-autobiographical self-presentation, Machaut presents a more personal fear of death in some of his narrative works, especially those that date from the latter part of his life. The chapter places Machaut's ostensibly secular works within the sacred, devotional, and moral-religious contexts that both he and his audiences inhabited. It integrates the role of music within the discussion of commemoration, including the commemoration of Machaut's own death, for which Eustache Deschamps wrote two balades, which were set to music by the contemporary composer F. Andrieu. The chapter ends with an examination of Machaut's immediate afterlife, reception, and ultimate neglect, bringing the narrative chronologically full circle to the point of his scholarly resurrection outlined in the second chapter.

Keywords:   death, commemoration, Guillaume de Machaut, poets, composers, balades, Eustache Deschamps, F. Andrieu

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