Nouvelle acquisition : Visualizing Justice in Burgundian Prose Romance : Text and Image in Manuscripts of the Wavrin Master (1450s-1460s)
Visualizing Justice in Burgundian Prose Romance : Text and Image in Manuscripts of the Wavrin Master (1450s-1460s)
Turnhout : Brepols, 2020, 389 p.
Collection Burgundica ; 29
This is the first monograph devoted to manuscripts illuminated by the mid-fifteenth-century artist known as the Wavrin Master, so-called after his chief patron, Jean de Wavrin, chronicler and councillor at the court of Philip the Good of Burgundy. Specializing in the production of pseudo-historical prose romances featuring the putative ancestors of actual Burgundian families, the artist was an attentive interpreter of these texts which were designed to commemorate the chivalric feats of past heroes and to foster their emulation by noble readers of the day. Integral to these heroes’ deeds is the notion of justice, their worth being measured by their ability to remedy criminal acts such as adultery, murder, rape, and usurpation. In a corpus of 10 paper manuscripts containing the texts of 15 romances and over 650 watercolour miniatures, the stylized, expressive images of the Wavrin Master bring out with particular clarity the lessons in justice which these works offered their contemporary audience, many of whom, from the Burgundian dukes downwards, would have been responsible for upholding the law in their territories. Chapters are devoted to issues such as the nature of just war and how it is linked to good rulership; what forms of legal redress the heroines of these tales are able to obtain with or without the help of a male champion; and what responses are available in law to a spouse betrayed by an adulterous partner. The book will be of interest to scholars of medieval art, literature, legal and cultural history, and gender studies. (4e de couv.)
Rosalind Brown-Grant is Professor of Late Medieval French Literature at the University of Leeds. She has published on Christine de Pizan, French prose romance, Burgundian historiographical writing, and text/image relations. Her work has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, British Academy, and Leverhulme Trust; she has also held Research Fellowships at Le Studium, Institute for Advanced Studies, Orléans, and the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences, Amsterdam.