Wednesday, August 9, 2017
Second call for papers
K'zoo 2018 -- Eustache Deschamps -- Deadline,
Eustache Deschamps -- Gourmet, Bailiff, Courtier, and Social Critic:
A Fourteenth-Century Gentleman Looks at Life
Organizer: Deborah Sinnreich-Levi (Stevens Institute of Technology)
The work of Eustache Deschamps (1340-1406) survives principally in one immense, complete manuscript (BNF ff 840). Contained therein are some 1500 poems offering insights into the life the poet who served generations of nobility. Although the poet fulfilled his societal obligations to his royal masters, his main delights stemmed from capturing in verse the foibles and fashions of those around him, great and small. The food of Paris, Brie and Champagne was beyond reproach: that of Germanic lands, beyond contempt; the manners of courtly diners, atrocious; people’s grimaces, amusing; and ladies’ under garments, torture devices. His own appearance was such that he styled himself the King of the Ugly. Diseases and their cures; the study of the seven liberal arts; the practical jokes of Oton de Grandson and the poetry of Geoffrey Chaucer and Guillaume de Machaut; and the life styles and deaths of the rich and famous – all fascinated Deschamps, and all have been preserved in his poems. His Livre de memoire does not survive, but hundreds of shorter poems attest the focus that Deschamps had on his contemporaries and the peculiarities of life at court in the fourteenth century. The reigns of Charles V and Charles VI, the battle of Nicopolis, the Hundred Years’ War; outbreaks of the plague; the death of Bertrand du Guesclin – all these are chronicled by the poet alongside cheeses and wines; meals of fish and fowl; condiments and convicts; arms and armor; seduction and satiety; fevers and fat waistlines.
Papers on any aspect of Deschamps’ take on medieval life are welcome.