Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Lucie Brind'Amour


The Bibl. Nat. ms. fr. 379 offers a religious, social, literary and artistic comment on the implications of the early sixteenth century world. The cult of the Virgin is considered as it supported and directed the poetry contests or puy at Rouen and Dieppe in their particular emphases on the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption of the Virgin, both ideas more dogmatic than scriptural. The conduct of the puy controlled the literary and artistic expressions on the subject. A detailed discussion submits the evidence that the poets reflected the secular world in their poems and the artists' illustrations often rejected the traditional iconography of the faith and substituted tangential ideas, related sometimes obliquely to the content of the poems. The major thesis of the dissertation is that Bibl. Nat. ms. fr. 370 makes a contribution toward illuminating the age and expanding the notion of text. In considering the cult, chapter two presents background of devotions to the virgin goddess in early Greek and Eastern cultures, presents scholastic speculations and theories about how the cult reached its zenith in twelfth century. The French celebratory penchant for festival is explored in chapter three. Reflections of the popular and religious festivals as manifested in Bibl. Nat. ms. fr. 379 are examined. The poems, previously untranslated and, for the most part, unpublished are considered in chapter four. The poets, working according to the rigid pattern of the puy, show originality in their choices of metaphor, mixing the traditional Biblical intertext with the specificity of the vineyard, cultivation, exploration, business and manufacturing. The result gives a new dimension to liturgical poetry. The miniatures are discussed in chapter five in relation to their poetic counterparts as they transpose, interpret or depart from the text. The result determines a mixture of traditional and specific iconography. Bibl. Nat. ms. fr. 379 is the work of artists and poets known and unknown who directed their creativity toward making a moment of devotion an aesthetic pleasure as well through the blending of the sacred and secular worlds.