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Jennifer Anne Saltzstein
University of Oklahoma, Norman (Norman, OK 73019-3003)
Medieval Learning and Vernacular Music: The Songs of the Cleric-Trouvères

Preparation of a monograph on the history of 13th-century French songs and the rise of vernacular languages.

In the thirteenth century, Old French first emerged from the shadow of Latin as a language suitable for documentation, literature, and transmitting knowledge. My book, Medieval Learning and Vernacular Music: The Songs of the Cleric-Trouvères, demonstrates that by positing their vernacular songs as worthy of study, emulation, and preservation in writing, educated composers (cleric-trouvères) were central to the cultural legitimization of Old French. Through a cross-generic, interdisciplinary examination of vernacular musical and poetic genres, this book shows how medieval clerics fused scholastic writing methods with contemporary vernacular song traditions, elevating vernacular expression. The book expands our histories of song, languages, literature, and the university, and places the rise of Old French in a trans-historical and global context as one of many cases in which the vernacular has challenged, amalgamated, or even upended languages of cultural dominance and power.

Project fields:
French Language; Medieval Studies; Music History and Criticism

Fellowships for University Teachers

Research Programs

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
8/1/2016 – 7/31/2017