Guillaume de Machaut

Secretary, Poet, Musician

Elizabeth Eva Leach (Author),

Category: Music

Language: English

ISBN: 9789058678768

Publication date: April 14, 2011

€49.50 (including 6% VAT)

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Number of pages: 367

Size: 240 x 160 x 25 mm

Guaranteed Peer Reviewed Content

Stock item: 62304

Standard delivery time for print books:

For Belgium: 5 to 8 working days

For EU: 2 to 3 weeks

For other countries: 4 to 5 weeks


Co-edition with Cornell University Press Selling rights for Europe (excl. UK) At once a royal secretary, a poet, and a composer, Guillaume de Machaut was one of the most protean and creative figures of the late Middle Ages. Rather than focus on a single strand of his remarkable career, Elizabeth Eva Leach gives us a book that encompasses all aspects of his work, illuminating it in a distinctively interdisciplinary light. The author provides a comprehensive picture of Machaut’s artistry, reviews the documentary evidence about his life, charts the different agendas pursued by modern scholarly disciplines in their rediscovery and use of specific parts of his output, and delineates Machaut’s own poetic and material presentation of his authorial persona. Leach treats Machaut’s central poetic themes of hope, fortune, and death, integrating the aspect of Machaut’s multimedia art that differentiates him from his contemporaries’ treatment of similar thematic issues: music. In restoring the centrality of music in Machaut’s poetics, arguing that his words cannot be truly understood or appreciated without the additional layers of meaning created in their musicalization, Leach makes a compelling argument that musico-literary performance occupied a special place in the courts of fourteenth-century France.

This publication is GPRC-labeled (Guaranteed Peer-Reviewed Content).

List of Illustrations

List of Music Examples


List of Abbreviations


1. Life: Guillaume de Machaut’s Living

2. Resurrection: Dismembering Machaut

3. Creation: Machaut Making

4. Hope: Loving

5. Fortune: Suffering

6. Death: Remembering Machaut




Index of Machaut’s Lyrics

Elizabeth Eva Leach

Elizabeth Eva Leach is University Lecturer at the University of Oxford.

This book is truly an interdisciplinary endeavor and has much to offer scholars of both music and literature. . . . The book's greatest accomplishment is that it presents Machaut in a complete context-that is, as Leach observes, as someone whose influence among contemporaries can be compared only to an imaginary 19th-century amalgamation of 'Schubert and Goethe . . . [and] one of Napoleon's closest counselors.' Accessible to well-educated but less experienced readers, the book exhibits enough scholarly rigor to satisfy musicologists and literary critics alike. . . . Highly recommended. - Choice


In her impressive book on Guillaume de Machaut, Elizabeth Eva Leach synthesizes a wide body of new scholarship, including historical, literary, musicological, and art historical materials. Leach takes musical works seriously as integral parts of Machaut's artistic program.
Lawrence Earp, University of Wisconsin-;Madison

This must be the best, and is surely the first really complete treatment of Machaut, the first to treat him as poet and musician and courtier, and show why it's important to do so. I have never read anything that did nearly so good a job of showing how musical and poetic language interact.
Winthrop Wetherbee, Cornell University

The first book-length account of Machaut's life and works to include the perspective of musicology as well as of history and literature, Elizabeth Eva Leach's book provides an excellent synthesis of current scholarship and will be an important reference point for readers in several disciplines.
Ardis Butterfield, author of Poetry and Music in Medieval France

Après de nombreuses publications consacrées à divers aspects de la vie et de l'oeuvre de Guillaume de Machaut, Elizabeth Eva Leach publie une remarquable monographie consacrée à celui qui fut sans conteste le plus grand compositeur du xive siècle, mais aussi un poète remarquable. L'originalité de cet ouvrage est d'être rédigé non seulement pour un lectorat musicologique, mais également pour un public plus large et en particulier pour les historiens de la littérature française.
Anne-Emmanuelle Ceulemans, Revue belge de Musicologie / Belgisch Tijdschrift voor Muziekwetenschap 2012

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