This introductory chapter sets out the book's purpose, which is to reflect on the centrality of music within Guillaume de Machaut's poetry and poetics by integrating discussion of his songs into a thematic treatment of his works. As a man who was at once a secretary, poet, and musician, Machaut is important in historical, literary, and musical terms. But these kinds of importance represent three discrete faculties in the modern university, so the modern divisions of scholarship serve Machaut's highly integrated output badly. The book attempts to reintegrate the various strands of scholarly treatment in order to present a more complete picture of Machaut as a creative artist. In particular it is designed to bring the discussion of the musical works more centrally into a consideration of Machaut's poetic themes, to show that music functions variously to enshrine and transform them. An overview of the subsequent is also presented.
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