Guillaume de Machaut’s legacy in the Chantilly Codex

Cordier’s Belle, bonne, sage (detail) from the Chantilly Codex. Source:

Conference paper from 2001 finally makes it into print!

You wait ages for conference papers to be published and then two come along at once… (for the other, see “Grafting the Rose”)

My paper “Dead Famous: Mourning, Machaut, Music, and Renown in the Chantilly Codex”, was originally given as a conference paper at a symposium on the Chantilly Codex held at the Centre d’études supérieures de la Renaissance de Tours in September 2001. A revised version has just been published in the volume A Late Medieval Songbook and its Context: New Perspectives on the Chantilly Codex (Bibliothèque du Château de Chantilly, Ms. 564), edited by Yolanda Plumley and Anne Stone, which forms a companion volume to the facsimile of the Chantilly Codex, which appeared in 2008.


Outside the manuscripts dedicated exclusively to Guillaume de Machaut’s work, the only correct attributions to music by the composer are contained in the Chantilly Codex, a source that seems to have a particular interest in promoting fame for patrons and musicians alike. This paper attempts to read the content of the Chantilly Codex as reflective of music’s attempt to participate in an increasingly literate culture of fame, in which Machaut served as a figurehead among musicians on account of having invented a musically inflected scribal-authorial poetics.

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