Thibaut’s Romance of the Pear

Links to the sources of Thibaut’s Roman de la poire.

«_Li_Romanz_de_la_[...]_btv1b105065252_147MS A, f.72r, refrain of Contenance, vdB1768

This poem is a first-person love narrative whose interpolated refrains spell out the names of lover, lady, and ‘Amors’, names that are also spelled out in the main text ‘ensuring that the acrostic exists both horizontally and vertically’ (Butterfield 2002, 246) and forming an authorial identity through the use of commonplace texts (refrains).

There are three manuscript sources for the poem:

F-Pn fr.2186 = MS A, c.1275. Contains only Poire. This copy is richly illustrated, with illuminations occupying entire pages at the beginning. The early refrains have staves provided, but no notes have been entered on them. Later, there is merely space left for staves, but no staves entered. All are, however, accompanied by a historiated initial that Butterfield describes as being a ‘performative marker’ (Butterfield 2002, 184).

F-Pn fr.12786 = MS B. Poire opens the manuscript and occupies ff. 1ra-24va. This is the unfinished manuscript also known as Trouvk. Butterfield (2002, 247) notes it as having the same layout as F-Pn fr.2186 but being even less finished. In its current binding F-Pn fr.12786 contains incompletely copied polyphonic rondeaux, as well as Richard de Fournival’s Bestiary of LovePoire shares a refrain with this prose work of Richard (vdB1786, pictured above) which not noted in van den Boogaart’s refrain catalogue, nor on the Southampton REFRAIN database, nor in the SATF edition of the poem (reference is made in Bianciotto’s edition of Richard’s Bestiaire).

F-Pn fr.24431 = MS C. Black-and-white microfilm digitized on Gallica. Described in van den Boogaart as ‘fragmentary’, the work appears to start acephalously on f.180r. The work has been mutilated by cutting, presumably to remove what would have been beautiful miniatures or historiated initials. Three of the four surviving refrains that remain wholly or partially visible are fully notated on four-line staves with long and breves.


Butterfield, Ardis. Poetry and Music in Medieval France: From Jean Renart to Guillaume de Machaut. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002. See especially pp.246-252.

See also the page at ARLIMA.

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