A chansonnier is a type of medieval songbook popular in the late 14th and early 15th centuries. Many chansonniers, including Penn MS Codex 902, include song texts, but not the music, so they are not songbooks in the modern sense. Earlier chansonniers might include both secular and sacred songs, but around 1420 they began to be broken out into separate collections. In this brief video, University of Pennsylvania PhD candidate Elizaveta Strakhov introduces Curator for Digital Research Services Dot Porter to University of Pennsylvania MS Codex 902, a Chansonnier collecting 310 poems by Guillaume de Machaut, Oton de Grandson, Brisebare de Douai, Eustache Deschamps, Philippe de Vitry, and others. Following a general introduction to the manuscript and its contents, Strakhov discusses the enigma of ‘Ch’ – is there a connection between our manuscript and the great Middle English author Geoffrey Chaucer? Ms. Strakhov’s article “The Poems of ‘Ch’: Taxonomizing Literary Tradition” will be published in Taxonomies of Knowledge, edited by Emily Steiner and Lynn Ransom (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Libraries), forthcoming in 2014.
A digital facsimile of this manuscript is available at http://hdl.library.upenn.edu/1017/d/medren/3559163.
More digitized Chansonniers:
- The Copenhagen Chansonnier and the related ‘Loire Valley’ chansonniers, edited and commented by Peter Woetmann Christoffersen (under construction)
- The Mellon Chansonnier, at the Beinecke Library, Yale University (includes music)
- Chansonniers of Medieval France, a list of manuscripts include digital facsimiles from the Andy Holt Virtual Library at the University of Tennessee at Martin
Special thanks to Katie Rawson, CLIR PostDoc at the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, for editing the video.