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

StaffProfessor Yolanda Plumley - Convenor
Credit Value15
ECTS Value7.5
NQF Level6
Duration of Module Term 1: 11 weeks;

Module aims

This course aims to introduce students to the cultural production of late-Medieval France, in particular music and literature but also the visual arts, and to the multifaceted roles the arts played within late medieval society, in particular that of the French princely courts. Students will learn how to engage with music from the period, as well as with literary texts and visual artifacts, and to consider how interdisciplinary approaches can enhance our understanding of these artifacts and of the historical and social contexts from which they emerged.

ILO: Module-specific skills

  • 1. To interpret different kinds of evidence relating to the arts in late medieval France and the historical and social context in which these works were produced;
  • 2. Demonstrate an awareness and understanding of a range of different kinds of primary source materials, including musical and literary works, and be able to evaluate their historical value critically.

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

  • 3. After initial input from the course tutor, apply and evaluate critical approaches to the material under analysis independently.
  • 4. Argue at length and in detail about an aspect of the topic, supporting the argument with evidence from primary materials and with opinions from secondary literature.
  • 5. Construct a detailed argument in the appropriate register of English, marshalling a range of textual or other evidence in its support.
  • 6. Use a range of critical terminology, applying it to independently researched material as well as to material introduced by the course tutor.
  • 7. Access and use critically, printed and, where appropriate, electronic learning resources identified as useful by the course tutor; find independently and evaluate critically other relevant resources.

ILO: Personal and key skills

  • 8. Manage own learning time and learning activities with limited guidance from module tutor.
  • 9. Present information and arguments on a designated or negotiated topic to a group of listeners and respond to questions.
  • 10. Adopt a critical approach to the selection and organization of a large body of material in order to produce, to a deadline, a written or oral argument of some complexity.
  • 11. Using bibliographical material provided, select, plan, and carry out a programme of study leading to an essay on a chosen topic, to a specified length and deadline.

Syllabus plan

Sessions to include the following topics:The social function of the arts in the late middle ages; the arts at the court of France in the early fourteenth century; image, music, and text in the Roman de Fauvel manuscript and corruption at the court of Philippe IV; the beginning of the Hundred Years War; Guillaume de Machaut and his royal patrons; the Black Death and political crisis; manuscript production in Paris; the ascendancy of the dukes of Berry and Burgundy in the reign of Charles VI and their cultural patronage.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching Activities1610 Lectures, 5 seminars, 1 tutorial
Guided independent study134Private Study

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Commentary750 words1-11Written Feedback

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Coursework essay1003000 words1-11Written feedback on standardized feedback form

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Coursework essayCoursework essay1-11Referral/deferral period

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Primary sources: W. Apel, ed., French Secular Compositions of the Fourteenth Century. Vol. 53/i-iii (Rome, 1972) R. Barton Palmer, ed., Guillaume de Machaut: The Judgment of the King of Navarre (New York and London, 1988) [edition with translation and introduction] L. Schrade, ed., Polyphonic Music of the Fourteenth Century. Vol. 3 (The Works of Guillaume de Machaut) J. Wimsatt, W. Cable, and R. Baltzer, eds., Guillaume de Machaut. Le Jugement du Roi du Behaigne and Rem├Ęde de Fortune (Athens, Georgia, 1988) [edition, with translation and introduction]

Secondary sources: M. Bent and A. Wathey, eds., Fauvel Studies (Oxford, 1998) G. Duby, France in the Middle Ages 987-1460 (Oxford, 1991) L. Earp, Guillaume de Machaut. A Guide to Research (New York and London, 1995) R. Hoppin, Medieval Music (New York and London, 1978) M. Jones, ed., The New Cambridge Medieval History, vol. 6 (Cambridge, 2000) F. Pleybert, Paris et Charles V. Arts et Architecture (Paris, no date) S. Roux, Paris in the Middle Ages (Philadelphia, 2009) R. Rouse and M. Rouse, Manuscripts and their Makers. Commerical Book Producers in Paris, 1200-1500 (2000) G. Small, Late Medieval France (Basingstoke, 2009) M. Vale, The Princely Court: Medieval Courts and Culture in North-West Europe (Oxford, 2001) J. Wimsatt, Chaucer and his French Contemporaries (Toronto, Buffalo and London, 1991)

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