Parrots and Nightingales

9780812245257: Hardback
Release Date: 1st November 2013

9 illus.

Dimensions: 152 x 229

Number of Pages: 472

Series The Middle Ages Series

University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.

Parrots and Nightingales

Troubadour Quotations and the Development of European Poetry

Studying the medieval tradition of quoting verbatim from troubadour songs, Sarah Kay explores works produced along the arc of the northern Mediterranean in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, illuminating how this tradition influenced medieval literary history and the development of European subjectivity.

Hardback / £69.00

The love songs of Occitan troubadours inspired a rich body of courtly lyric by poets working in neighboring languages. For Sarah Kay, these poets were nightingales, composing verse that is recognizable yet original. But troubadour poetry also circulated across Europe in a form that is less well known but was more transformative. Writers outside Occitania quoted troubadour songs word for word in their original language, then commented upon these excerpts as linguistic or poetic examples, as guides to conduct, and even as sources of theological insight. If troubadours and their poetic imitators were nightingales, these quotation artists were parrots, and their practices of excerption and repetition brought about changes in poetic subjectivity that would deeply affect the European canon.

The first sustained study of the medieval tradition of troubadour quotation, Parrots and Nightingales examines texts produced along the arc of the northern Mediterranean—from Catalonia through southern France to northern Italy—through the thirteenth century and the first half of the fourteenth. Featuring extensive appendices of over a thousand troubadour passages that have been quoted or anthologized, Parrots and Nightingales traces how quotations influenced the works of grammarians, short story writers, biographers, encyclopedists, and not least, other poets including Dante and Petrarch. Kay explores the instability and fluidity of medieval textuality, revealing how the art of quotation affected the transmission of knowledge and transformed perceptions of desire from the "courtly love" of the Middle Ages to the more learned formulations that emerged in the Renaissance. Parrots and Nightingales deftly restores the medieval tradition of lyric quotation to visibility, persuasively arguing for its originality and influence as a literary strategy.

Note on References, Translations, and Abbreviations

Introduction: Quotation, Knowledge, Change

Chapter 1. Rhyme and Reason: Quotation in Raimon Vidal de Besalú's Razos de trobar and the Grammars of the Vidal Tradition
Chapter 2. Quotation, Memory, and Connoisseurship in the Novas of Raimon Vidal de Besalú
Chapter 3. Starting Afresh with Quotation in the Vidas and Razos
Chapter 4. Soliciting Quotation in Florilegia: Attribution, Authority, and Freedom

Chapter 5. The Nightingales' Way: Poetry as French Song in Jean Renart's Guillaume de Dole
Chapter 6. The Parrots' Way: The Novas del papagai from Catalonia to Italy

Chapter 7. Songs Within Songs: Subjectivity and Performance in Bertolome Zorzi (74.9) and Jofre de Foixà (304.1)
Chapter 8. Perilous Quotations: Language, Desire, and Knowledge in Matfre Ermengau's Breviari d'amor
Chapter 9. Dante's Ex-Appropriation of the Troubadours in De vulgari eloquentia and the Divina commedia
Chapter 10. The Leys d'amors: Phasing Out the antics troubadors and Ushering in the New Toulousain Poetics
Chapter 11. Petrarch's "Lasso me": Changing the Subject


Bibliography of Printed and Electronic Sources

Sarah Kay is Professor of French at New York University and author of several books, including The Place of Thought: The Complexity of One in Late Medieval French Didactic Poetry, also available from the University of Pennsylvania Press.

"In this erudite, closely documented book Sarah Kay traces the ways in which quotations of troubadour poetry circulated around the Western Mediterranean basin from the late twelfth century to the 1350s."—SHARP News

"Written with clarity, grace, and wit, Parrots and Nightingales is an important book that will illuminate our understanding of the troubadours, the art of quotation, and the transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance."—William Paden, Northwestern University

"Sarah Kay's work is erudite, fascinating, timely, and useful. Parrots and Nightingales will become an important point of reference for scholarship on medieval literatures."—Karla Mallette, University of Michigan