Chapter

Introduction: The Medieval Songbook as Emergent Genre

Marisa Galvez

in Songbook

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780226280516
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226280523 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226280523.003.0001
Introduction: The Medieval Songbook as Emergent Genre

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Songbooks embody the beginning of the great lyric traditions, and the choices made in gathering them into codices undoubtedly shaped the history of later poetry in these languages. This book charts the rise and persistence of the genre in the Occitan troubadour, the Middle High German Minnesang, and the Iberian cancionero traditions from the high to late Medieval period, circa 1200 to 1500. The approach tracks the trajectory of the songbook as genre, its process of change without a preconceived endpoint of work or author, by historically delimiting and describing certain medieval manuscripts that share familial resemblances as lyric anthologies in form and structure. In the course of this book, several themes are foundational for the emergence of the genre. The first is the dual quality of the songbook as a coherent corpus and a collection of discrete units. A second thematic concern is the way the songbook enables the assimilation and convergence of various vernacular cultures. A third thematic concern is the condensation of lyric material into forms of knowledge. This comparative study of the songbook in several vernacular traditions thus offers a pluralistic and dynamic view of medieval lyric seen from the material situation of the songbook.

Keywords: songbooks; poetry; genre; anthologies; Medieval period

Chapter.  7086 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Early and Medieval)

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