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Counselling Charles VI of France: Christine de Pizan, Honorat Bovet, Philippe de Mézières, and Pierre Salmon

Bourassa, Kristin Leigh Erika (2014) Counselling Charles VI of France: Christine de Pizan, Honorat Bovet, Philippe de Mézières, and Pierre Salmon. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Four vernacular advice books were dedicated to King Charles VI (r. 1380- 1422) during his reign. Charles became king at the age of eleven, and both Philippe de Mézières’ Songe du vieil pelerin and Honorat Bovet’s Arbre des batailles were dedicated to him in 1389, a year after his declaration of personal rule at the age of twenty. Charles VI began suffering from intermittent periods of mental illness from 1392 until his death. Both Christine de Pizan’s Chemin de long estude (1402-3) and Pierre Salmon’s Dialogues (1409, with a second version in 1412-15) were dedicated to him during this period. The four books suggested solutions to problems posed by the king’s minority and later mental illness, as well as other political concerns including the papal schism, the Anglo-French wars, and the conflicts between the king’s relatives that eventually descended into civil war. Although they have been described as belonging to the modern category of “mirrors for princes,” these books are united more by their common dedication to Charles than by their conformity to a modern understanding of genre. The books’ textual contents and their manuscript images, layout, and circulation demonstrate the importance of the dedication to the construction of their messages. The books’ intended audiences included the king as well as other members of his government and in particular his relatives. The writers authorized their advice by stressing the importance of books and their own credentials, especially their goodwill towards and relationship with the king. They adapted familiar discussions of kingship to suggest concrete solutions to the crises in France, and to urge the king’s relatives to work together to support Charles instead of fighting amongst themselves. The later manuscript circulation of these books demonstrates how such a dedication could be adapted for new audiences in different political circumstances.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > History (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.632968
Depositing User: Dr Kristin Bourassa
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2015 13:11
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/7601

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