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Research Colloquium: Elizabeth Eva Leach

October 9, 2018 @ 5:15 pm - 7:15 pm


The Colloquia feature leading figures, as well as younger scholars, from across the world. They present their research in papers on all kinds of music-related topics. Graduate students Jason Weir and Rosie McMahon organise the series. Presentations are followed by discussion and a drinks reception. Students, staff, and the general public are warmly encouraged to attend.

This week:

Elizabeth Eva Leach (University of Oxford)
A Little Knight Music: medieval songs, tournaments, and other forms of violence

Abstract: The manuscript Oxford, Bodleian Library, Douce 308, copied in Metz in the 1310s, can be read at least in part as a planned compendium of courtly games and pastimes. It contains the texts of over 500 songs from the preceding 150 years, arranged by genre. One of these genres is that of the jeu-parti, a competitive word battle, often between named aristocrats, which echoes the more physical contests of the manuscript’s narrative poems, which present various tournaments (both mêlée fighting and individual jousts) in settings that include vernacular romance (The Vows of the Peacock, probably by Jacques de Longuyon) and versified historical record (Jacques Bretel’s Tournament at Chauvency). These works attest to the significant role of sound, song, dance, and games within tournaments, as do intertextual links between the refrain citations of Chauvency and the songs in the chansonnier section of Douce 308. This paper will explore the intersection of the socially entangled courtly cultures of singing and tourneying as attested by Douce 308, and will discuss ways in which the idealized eroticism of courtly love can been seen in the light of ideas of performative violence.

Biography: Elizabeth Eva Leach is Professor of Music at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of the British Academy. She has written extensively on late-medieval music, poetry, and performance, particularly on birdsong and nature, the works of Guillaume de Machaut, and issues of gender and music theory. She has just finished a three-year Major Research Grant funded by the Leverhulme Trust, during which she has been working on the place and meanings of song and dance in various courtly leisure contexts around 1300, including in feasting, tournaments, and love-making. Much of her work is available for free download via her blog and publication pages.


October 9, 2018
5:15 pm - 7:15 pm
Event Category:


Faculty of Music
01865 (2)76133


Denis Arnold Hall, Faculty of Music
St Aldate's
Oxford,OX1 1DB
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01865 276125