Fighting Talk

Ardis Butterfield

in The Familiar Enemy

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780199574865
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722127 | DOI:
Fighting Talk

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uses the vituperative mid‐century ballade exchange between Philippe de Vitry and Jehan de le Mote, in which Philippe accuses Jean, a Hainuyer working for Edward III, of being an English traitor, as a focus for a broader consideration of the language of invective and ‘national’ identity in the period. After a section discussing nation through the eyes of Deschamps and also its university and trading connotations, the chapter turns to Deschamps's famous ballade extolling Chaucer as a ‘grant translateur’. It argues that it participates in this larger cross‐channel dialogue, and that it is a subtle articulation of praise and insult, playing on the witty, mutually condemning admiration (or mutually congratulatory contempt) of the Vitry‐Mote exchange. Deschamps registers a new sense of the impact of war on the cultural meanings of French for both insular and continental writers.

Keywords: Philippe de Vitry; Jehan de le Mote; Hainaut; Edward III; Deschamps; Chaucer; ‘grant translateur’; ballade; nation; trade

Chapter.  20070 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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