Music, Poetry, and Society At the Late Medieval French Court (MLF3050)

15 credits

Investigation of musical, literary and courtly culture within the French royal and princely milieux leads us to tackle some fascinating questions: what can art works can tell us about the courtly society from which they emerged? and, in turn, how can an understanding of social attitudes and political history inform our interpretations of the cultural products themselves?

The module aims to foster critical responses to these questions and others by studying a selection of works--literary, musical and visual, including by the great French poet and composer of the period Guillaume de Machaut--against the backdrop of some of the key points in the political and social history of fourteenth-century France.

An interdisciplinary approach is taken here that combines study of the political and social history of France in these troubled times with close engagement of selected artistic works.

Students are not expected to have prior musical skills or knowledge: study of musical works will be accomplished through guided listening. Study of original foreign language texts will be through English translations. This module is especially suitable for interdisciplinary pathways.