I am delighted to announce that Guillaume de Machaut: Secretary, Poet, Musician has been awarded the Phyllis Goodhart Gordan Prize for 2012. This prize is awarded annually for what the website describes as ‘the best book in Renaissance studies published between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2011’. And while I usually think of myself as a medievalist and Machaut as a medieval composer, it’s clearly to Machaut’s advantage that he was born c.1300, the starting date of the Renaissance as defined by the RSA (it ends in 1700)!
The prize is announced officially today at the RSA’s annual meeting, this year in Washington. My grateful thanks go to to the Society and to the awards committee, whose members included specialists in musicology, art history, history, and literature. It is a measure of Machaut’s richness as a cultural figure that he is able to figure in all of those modern scholarly fields. It’s very cheering, of course, to have one’s fairly obscure work recognized in this way by such a prestigious scholarly body, but my main joy is that a few more people might be led to enquire into the work of Guillaume de Machaut — a fascinating secretary, poet, and musician!