Love in the Middle Ages

The Flamboyant Middle Ages

Selection of Lucile Desmoulins (poems) and Chrystèle Blondeau (paintings)

Preface by Michel Zink

Diane de Selliers, 400 p., 49 €

This sumptuous work, served by a rich and expressive iconography rarely shown to the public (1), reveals a part of medieval history through its poetry, in a condensed lyrical exaltation of the feeling of love. In the preface, it is to Christianity that the academician Michel Zink attributes the virtue of a ” identification of poetry and love ” in the middle Ages. After a pagan Antiquity which did not favor this theme, how to account for the enthusiasm, the breath – literally inspiration – which animates the poet, if they do not come from the gods or from God? By relating them to love.

Proposed in their French translation next to the original version in langue d’oc or d’oïl, the poems form a journey from the end of the XIe at the end of the XVe century, from Guillaume IX to Bernard de Ventadour, from Guiraut de Bornelh to Chrétien de Troyes, from the Duchess of Lorraine to Rutebeuf, Christine de Pizan or François Villon, and many anonymous, all presented, as well as the painters, in precise notices. Like this Marian song from the first half of the 13th centurye century, composed by Gautier de Coincy:

“Love, who knows how to enchant

make most sing a song

whose souls are disillusioned.

I don’t wanna sing this song anymore

a new song I’m singing

for that

of whom the angels sing.

Sing for her, all singers!

You will enchant the enchanter

which often enchants us.

If the mother of God you sing,

any caster will be delighted:

blessed who sings about it! “


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