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The Image of the City in Peace and War in a Burgundian manuscript of Jean Froissart’s Chronicles
Peter Ainsworth (University of Liverpool)
Revue belge de philologie et d’histoire: Tome 78 fasc. 2, 2000. Histoire medievale. moderne: et contemporaine – Middeleeuwse, modhrnf en hedendaagse geschiedenis. pp. 295-314.
In recent years, scholars have begun to take a fresh interest in the schemes of illumination and decoration found in extant manuscripts of Jean Froissart’s Chronicles. For those responsible for the opening volumes of the national edi tions of the Chronicles published in the second half of the nineteenth century in Belgium and France (respectively, Baron Joseph Kervyn de Lettenhove and Simeon Luce), the manuscript was, first and foremost, the material witness to a particular state of one of the chronicler’s texts; study of a manuscript might, in addition, yield codicological or artistic evidence relating to patronage, prove nance and history, which could in turn help to shed light on the dating of a redaction or even a family of manuscripts. Sometimes (especially for Kervyn de Lettenhove) the codex attracted comment for its own sake, as an intrinsical ￼by l an have been surprisingly slow to lavish attention on what is, in fact,a fascinatingly diverse corpus.
In sharp contrast to this relative and unaccountable lack of interest, the current generation of critics, used to exploration of all kinds of image and text association, from bande dessinée to digitised homep age, is beginning to effect a sea-change. Critics working on manuscripts of the Chronicles are now much more preoccupied than ever before with the relations obtaining between text and image. The present essay, which complements a study scheduled for publication in 2000 in a volume arising from a colloquium on the theme Regions and Landscapes held in July 1997 at the International Medieval Congress, Leeds, attempts to build on this work.