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date: 21 May 2019

Abstract and Keywords

A small corpus of late fourteenth-century comical lyrics, most composed by the poet Eustache Deschamps, presents the lyricist or performer as a fumeur (literally, “smoker”): a creative but volatile artist with a melancholic nature. These texts and their musical settings engage in sophisticated play on late medieval medical understandings of madness and its cures. A new reading of these lyrics in light of Deschamps’s theorization of “natural” and “artificial” music reveals that a particularly disabled embodiment underpins that author’s poetic vision; and the existence of a corpus of closely related fumeur songs composed by multiple authors invites us to revisit received ideas about disabled identity in the Middle Ages.

Keywords: Eustache Deschamps, Hasprois, Jacquet de Noyon, melancholy, Art de dictier, fumeur, humors

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