Associate 1994-95

Anne D. Hedeman

Art History

The Construction and Reception of Pierre Salmon's Réponses à Charles VI et Lamentation au Roi sur son état

Professor Hedeman's project is an analysis of the manuscripts of Pierre Salmon's Réponses, a strange text written in two versions between 1409 and 1413 which defies easy classification; it is neither a moral treatise, an historical text, or political propaganda, though it has been called each of these at one time or another by scholars who have studied it fragmentarily. An examination as individual objects of the four original manuscript copies of the Réponses dating from c. 1409 to c. 1500 resolves the scholarly dilemma about the text's meaning. These manuscripts are complex cognitive structures. They are careful constructions of text (its content, rubrication, page layout etc.) and illustrations. Indeed, the pictures in these manuscripts are particularly useful as structuring principals which clarify readings of the text for diverse audiences.

Professor Hedeman will focus on the dual themes of construction and reception in Salmon's Réponses. She will examine the construction of the illuminated text between 1409-1413 in the two royal manuscripts produced under Salmon's supervision, analyzing the change of text and image from the first version to the second as Salmon's process of attempted communication with Charles VI. The theme of reception is even more important in analyzing the revival of popularity c. 1500 that led to the production of a manuscript copy that is essentially a facsimile in which the sixteenth-century patron's claims are made exclusively in visual imagery.

This study will shed light on the process of creation and transformation of illustrated texts and on the ways in which books mediate between authors and readers. It is a contribution to a growing series of publications in medieval manuscript studies which seek to break down artificial boundaries between the disciplines of Art History, History, and Literary Studies.