Early French Poetry

Various Authors (1100–1400), translated by Kline, A. S. (contact-email)

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The poetry of early medieval France spanned the 12th to 15th centuries, marking a dynamic period of literary development. It commenced with the Anglo-Norman verse of Marie de France, renowned for her Lais, which interwove courtly love with Breton folklore. The Occitan troubadours such as Arnaut Daniel and Bertran de Born excelled in crafting refined, complex lyric poetry, largely focused on fin’amors (refined love). Thibaut IV, both king and trouvère in turn, contributed vernacular love songs. The transition to the 14th century saw Guillaume de Machaut’s works, which blended the musicality of the trouvère tradition with the nascent humanism of the time. Eustache Deschamps built on this tradition, while Christine de Pisan’s poetry addressed themes of female virtue and wisdom, challenging the then societal norms. The era culminated with Charles d’Orléans, whose personal lyricism anticipated the more introspective nature of the Renaissance.

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Kline, A. S.

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