Polyphony and the Modern asks one fundamental question: what does it mean to be modern in one’s own time? To answer that question, this volume focuses on polyphony as an index of modernity.
In the Principle of Hope, Ernst Bloch showed that each moment in time is potentially fractured: people living in the same country can effectively live in different centuries – some making their alliances with the past and others betting on the future – but all of them, at least technically, enclosed in the temporal moment. But can a claim of modernity also mean something more ambitious? Can an artist, by accident or design, escape the limits of his or her own time, and somehow precociously embody the outlook of a subsequent age?
This book sees polyphony as a bridge providing a terminology and a stylistic practice by which the period barrier between Medieval and Early Modern can be breached.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Towards Modernity
Part One: Machaut and Musical Polyphony
Chapter I. The Polyphony of Function: Mixing Text and Music in Guillaume de Machaut
Chapter II. The Multilevel Polyphony of Machaut’s Livre dou Voir Dit and its Afterlife
Part Two: Polyphony in Medieval Europe
Chapter III. Cemeteries and Tombstones as Polyphonic Places in the French Medieval Quest of Lancelot
Chapter IV. Polyphonic Effects in the Fixed-Form Verse of Eustache Deschamps: A Critical Practice
Chapter V. ‘Galeotto fu il libro e chi lo scrisse’: Liminal Polyvocality in the Occitan Literary Use of Dante
Paola M. Rodriguez
Chapter VI. Novelistic Perspectivism in Béroul’s Roman de Tristan
Chapter VII. Textual Voices in Compilation: Reading the Polyphony of Medieval Manuscripts
Chapter VIII. Wolfram and the Ambiguity of the Religious Question in the Willehalm
Patrick del Duca
Part Three: From Medieval England to the Early Modern
Chapter IX. Chaucer’s Speech and Thought Representation in Troilus and Criseyde: Encoded Subjectivities and Semantic Extension
Chapter X Chaucer and the Streams of Parnassus
Chapter XI. "´Tis more ancient than Chaucer Himself": Keats and Romantic Polyphony
Part Four: Towards Modernity
Chapter XII. Evelina’s "Pollyphony"
Chapter XIII. The Whirl of the Red, Green, and Blue: Christopher Anstey and the Particoloured Poem
Chapter XIV. Towards Modernity. Nova et vetera in Paul Claudel’s Book of Christopher Colombus
Jonathan Fruoco is a medievalist affiliated to the CEMA, Sorbonne University. His research focuses on the linguistic and cultural evolution of medieval England, with a particular interest in the work of Geoffrey Chaucer and its connection with French and Italien courtly poetry. He has recently published Les faits et gestes de Robin des Bois (UGA Editions, 2017) and Chaucer’s Polyphony: The Modern in Medieval Poetry (De Gruyter/MIP, 2020).