Eustache Deschamps

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Eustache Deschamps (1340–1406) was a medieval French poet, also known as Eustache Morel (Huot 1999, 699). Born at Vertus, in Champagne, he received lessons in versification from Guillaume de Machaut and later studied law at Orleans University. He then traveled through Europe as a diplomatic messenger for Charles V. His estate was pillaged by the English, in consequence of which he continuously abuses them in his many poems.

Deschamps wrote as many as 1,175 ballades, and he is sometimes credited with inventing the form. All but one of his poems are short, and they are mostly satirical, attacking the English, whom he regards as the plunderers of his country, and against the wealthy oppressors of the poor. His satires were also directed at corrupt officials and clergy but his sharp wit may have cost him his job as Bailli of Senlis. He also wrote a treatise on French verse entitled L'Art de dictier, completed on 25 November 1392 (Kendrick 1983, 7).

His one long poetic work, Le Miroir de Mariage, is a 13,000 line satirical poem on the subject of women. This work influenced Geoffrey Chaucer who used themes from the poem in his own work. Chaucer seems to be one of the few Englishmen Deschamps liked, as he composed a ballade in his honour (no. 285, probably written sometime after 1380) praising Chaucer as a great philosopher, translator, ethicist, and poet (Kendrick 1983, 3–4).

References[edit]

  • Boudet, Jean-Patrice, and Hélène Millet (eds.). 1997. Eustache Deschamps et son temps. Textes et Documents d'Histoire Médiévale 1. Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne.
  • Deschamps, Eustache. Eustache Deschamps' L'Art de dictier. Ed. & tr., Deborah M. Sinnreich-Levi. East Lansing, MI: Colleagues Press, 1994.
  • Deschamps, Eustache. Oeuvres complètes de Eustache Deschamps. Eds. Gaston Raynaud and Henri Auguste Edouard, le marquis de Queux de Sainte-Hilaire. 11 vols. Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1878-1903; rpt. New York: Johnson Reprint, 1966.
  • Deschamps, Eustache. Selected Poetry of Eustache Deschamps. Co-eds. and co-trs. I.S. Laurie, Deborah M. Sinnreich-Levi, David Curzon, & Jeffrey Fiskin. New York: Routledge, 2003.
  • Hoepffner, Ernst. Eustache Deschamps: Leben und Werke. Diss. Strassburg, 1904; Strassburg: Karl J. Trübner, 1904; rpt. Geneva: Slatkine, 1974.
  • Huot, Sylvia. 1999. [Untitled review of Boudet and Millet 1997]. Speculum 74, no. 3 (July): 699–700.
  • Kendrick, Laura. 1983. "Rhetoric and the Rise of Public Poetry: The Career of Eustache Deschamps". Studies in Philology 80, no. 1 (Winter): 1–13.
  • Sinnreich-Levi, Deborah, Ed., Eustache Deschamps, French Courtier-Poet: His Work and His World. Intros. Stephen Nichols and Glending Olson. New York: AMS Press, 1998.

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