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Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Conflict Resolution in the Works of Philippe de Vigneulles (1471-c. 1528)

Introduction: Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Conflict Resolution in the Works of Philippe de Vigneulles (1471-c. 1528)

Catherine M. Jones
p. 169-170

Texte intégral

  • 1  Three of Philippe’s principal works have been edited : La Chronique de Philippe de Vigneulles, ed. (...)

1Philippe de Vigneulles was an active participant in the vibrant urban culture of Metz at the dawn of the sixteenth century. His voluminous historiographical and imaginative works purport to document the “merveilleuses adventures” and “diverses fortunes” marking the history of his beloved city1. These events include large-scale confrontations between royal and seigneurial powers, as well as conflicts on the local and regional levels. Philippe accords considerable attention to narratives of crime, punishment, and conflict resolution. His Chronique and Journal teem with tales of war, murder, rape, abduction, robbery, home invasion, conspiracy, negotiations, trials, and executions; crimes and misdemeanors are essential ingredients of the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles.

  • 2  See, for example, P. Demarolle, La Chronique de Philippe de Vigneulles et la mémoire de Metz, Cae (...)
  • 3  See especially J. Enders, « Theater Makes History : Ritual Murder by Proxy in the Mistere de la Sa (...)

2Historians have long consulted the Chronique as a source of information on late medieval judicial practices2. More recently, however, scholars have begun to examine the interplay of historical account, collective memory, and contemporary cultural production in Philippe’s œuvre3. The three essays collected here pursue the latter approach, confronting depictions of conflict and transgression in Philippe’s narrative works with musical traditions, theatrical performances, and storytelling.

3Mario Longtin affirms that the chronicler is quite selective in his accounts of crime and punishment. Philippe’s choices do not correspond to actual crime statistics (in type or frequency), but rather display a predilection for extraordinary events likely to evoke awe and amazement in his readers. Philippe’s version of one such event, the execution in 1437 of a roofer convicted of stealing chalices, is illuminated by comparison with his source text, the Chronique du Doyen de Saint-Thiébaut. Read in the context of popular songs and novellas of the period, Philippe’s subtle rewriting proves to have hidden interpretive and aesthetic value.

4Susannah Crowder’s essay similarly explores the fertile discrepancies between historical “fact” and Philippe’s presentation of events. Examining Philippe’s retelling of a 1468 “jeu de ma damme saincte Katherine de Senne” and the subsequent marriage of its principal actor, Crowder takes historical inacurracy as her point of departure. Philippe reconfigures the accounts given by his predecessors (Jehan Aubrion and Jacomin Husson) to forge links between the events of 1468 and an old, unresoved conflict between the city of Metz and the de la Tour family. Particularly noteworthy is Philippe’s foregrounding of female performance, patronage, and sanctity in the interest of civic harmony.

5David LaGuardia takes issue with the oft-asserted claims of “realism” in Philippe’s Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles. Reading the transgressive acts in these tales against contemporary literary and legal conventions, LaGuardia demonstrates that Philippe’s novellas constitute a “hybrid” world marked by profound ambiguity. The very crimes against persons and property that are deplored by the chronicler are paradoxically celebrated when translated into a comic code. The narrator’s alleged didactic intentions only partially recuperate the unbridled transgressions that drive the plots and give Philippe’s tales a distinctive narrative voice.

6All three of these essays attest to Philippe’s creative engagement with social and political conflict as well as the dominant modes of artistic expression in late medieval Metz. Although he drew heavily upon existing sources in both his historiographical and imaginative works, Philippe’s contributions to the cultural memory of Metz are most evident in the intricacies of his rewriting.

Notes

1  Three of Philippe’s principal works have been edited : La Chronique de Philippe de Vigneulles, ed. C. Bruneau, 4 vols., Metz, Société d’histoire et d’archéologie de la Lorraine, 1927; Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, ed. C. H. Livingston, Travaux d’humanisme et Renaissance, Geneva, Droz, 1972 ; Gedenkbuch des Metzer Bürgers Philippe von Vigneulles aus den Jahren 1471 bis 1522, ed. H. Michelant, 1852, Amsterdam, Rodopi, 1968. His mise en prose of the Lorraine cycle has not been edited in its entirety. A partial edition may be found in La Chanson de Garin le Loherain mise en prose par Philippe de Vigneulles de Metz. Table des chapitres avec les reproductions des miniatures d’après le manuscrit appartenant à M. le comte d’Hunolstein, éd. M. de Pange, Paris, Leclerc, 1901.

2  See, for example, P. Demarolle, La Chronique de Philippe de Vigneulles et la mémoire de Metz, Caen, Paradigme, 1993, p. 51-60 and 73-99 ; N. Gonthier, Le châtiment du crime au moyen âge: XIIe-XVIesiècles, Rennes, Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 1998, p. 17-18, 31, 148, 166, 263.

3  See especially J. Enders, « Theater Makes History : Ritual Murder by Proxy in the Mistere de la Sainte Hostie », Speculum, 79, 2004, p. 991-1016.

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Référence papier

Catherine M. Jones, « Introduction: Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Conflict Resolution in the Works of Philippe de Vigneulles (1471-c. 1528) », Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes, 22 | 2011, 169-170.

Référence électronique

Catherine M. Jones, « Introduction: Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Conflict Resolution in the Works of Philippe de Vigneulles (1471-c. 1528) », Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes [En ligne], 22 | 2011, mis en ligne le 01 décembre 2014, consulté le 20 décembre 2014. URL : http://crm.revues.org/12526

Auteur

Catherine M. Jones

University of Georgia (U.S.A.)

Droits d’auteur

© Cahiers de recherches médiévales et humanistes