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The Familiar EnemyChaucer, Language, and Nation in the Hundred Years War$
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Ardis Butterfield

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199574865

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199574865.001.0001

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Fighting Talk

Fighting Talk

(p.111) 4 Fighting Talk
The Familiar Enemy

Ardis Butterfield (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

uses the vituperative mid‐century ballade exchange between Philippe de Vitry and Jehan de le Mote, in which Philippe accuses Jean, a Hainuyer working for Edward III, of being an English traitor, as a focus for a broader consideration of the language of invective and ‘national’ identity in the period. After a section discussing nation through the eyes of Deschamps and also its university and trading connotations, the chapter turns to Deschamps's famous ballade extolling Chaucer as a ‘grant translateur’. It argues that it participates in this larger cross‐channel dialogue, and that it is a subtle articulation of praise and insult, playing on the witty, mutually condemning admiration (or mutually congratulatory contempt) of the Vitry‐Mote exchange. Deschamps registers a new sense of the impact of war on the cultural meanings of French for both insular and continental writers.

Keywords:   Philippe de Vitry, Jehan de le Mote, Hainaut, Edward III, Deschamps, Chaucer, ‘grant translateur’, ballade, nation, trade

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