Give thanks for unseasonal birds: parrots!

Medieval hit of the week (132,153+ on YouTube) and spreading via Reddit and sim:

Does that parrot ring any bells?


The Old Talks Series: “François Rigolot: Renaissance Medievalist”

Also available in PDF.

allegorical parrot is allegorical

In a doubtless welcome break from previous “Talking About Talking” posts, and from complaining about Unfortunate Facts of Life, we return to the comparative solidity of the regular weekly “Talking” post series.


Setting the scene:

57th Annual Meeting of the Renaissance Society of America

Montréal, 24-26 March 2011

The RSA and Princeton Renaissance Studies sponsored six special sessions on “Le Texte de la Renaissance: Honoring François Rigolot.”

And that is what we did: past students, then-current students, colleagues, all friends. Because that is what good people deserve. Although it did mean depriving poor FR of the rest of the conference and imposed many, many, many talks on him. But he is a gentleman and a scholar, and a man with the patience of a saint and the aplomb of a diplomat; he also claims to have enjoyed himself.

With thanks to the splendid Cynthia Nazarian for organizing things and people, and for coming up with the informal term “Rigolomania” for the event and with the epithet “Oceans of Rigolotians” for the participants.

It is always good to see scholarly community in action in this way: to meet up with one’s immediate intellectual family (I am fortunate in having four such families, due to the hasards of historical accident); and for an academic parent to have all their offspring assembled around them, to see how the seeds they have sown have grown in various directions, cross-fertilized, borne fruit, scattered to the four winds and taken root elsewhere, and spread and continued knowledge.

While I wouldn’t want to reduce matters to simplistic dichotomies; Mars/Venus, chimpanzees vs. bonobos; what I think we have is less of the macho Modern scholarly metaphor based on hunting and dissemination, though admittedly, being human—all too human, perhaps more consciously and conscientiously human via engagement with Renaissance humanism—some of my fellow-Rigolotian siblings are, alas, not immune. Instead, more—even amongst the more aggressive and/or right-leaning of the clan—of the feminist / humanist metaphor of cultivating, cueillir, récolter, collecting (including curiosities), cataloguing, and curating.

What brings both these aspects of human culture together in happy harmony is, of course, the Dive Bouteille.

Trinquons donc.

A toast: to François Rigolot.

Le Cinquiesme Livre (posthume) : édition princeps de 1564 (BNF, Rés. Y2 2168). Calligramme de la Dive Bouteille : bibliothèque municipale de Lyon (Rés. 807 489 / Lyon, Jean Martin, 1567)

From the other FR: Le Cinquiesme Livre (posthumous) : ed. princeps, 1564 (BNF, Rés. Y2 2168). Calligramme : bibliothèque municipale de Lyon (Rés. 807 489 / Lyon, Jean Martin, 1567)


While François Rigolot may be best known as a groundbreaking Renaissance scholar, he is also a groundbreaking Medievalist and has been key to bringing the two fields closer together.

This may be most obvious in his work on the transitional zone between these periods, on late 15th- to early 16th-century poetry (from,, Jean Lemaire de Belges to Clément Marot). Yet Rigolot’s contributions to literary criticism have also had a broader renovative impact on the larger literary field, including the literature of medieval France: lyric and literary subjectivity, poetic persona, écriture féminine, and paranomasia.

This paper endeavours to redress the balance, in homage to Rigolot the Medievalist. Its first part summarizes his influence on, and reception by, medieval literary studies. Its second part offers a close-reading of poetry from the late 12th to early 13th centuries—another transitional period—as a practical demonstration of the usefulness of Rigolot’s innovations.   (more…)