The poetry of François Villon : text and context


The poetry of François Villon : text and context

Jane H.M. Taylor

(Cambridge studies in French, 68)

Cambridge University Press, 2001

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Includes bibliographical references (p. 203-225) and index



This book casts new light on the life and work of Francois Villon, one of the most famous but least understood poets of the later Middle Ages. Traditionally Villon has been viewed by scholars as an alienated outsider in his own time, whose work was in many respects derivative and commonplace. Jane Taylor instead points to the flair and originality of Villon's poetry, and the urgency and brilliance of his poetic dialogue with his predecessors and contemporaries. Taylor describes Villon's literary milieu as marked by an enjoyment of debate and competition, and shows the prominent place that he occupied in that poetic landscape. She argues that Villon's contemporaries were accustomed to reading in depth and in detail: they would have recognized and appreciated the flamboyance with which Villon challenged commonplace or ideological preconception.


  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1. Painted eloquence and serious games
  • 2. 'Dancing in a maske': constructing identity in the Testament
  • 3. Spoken by men of old: the Ballades du temps jadis
  • 4. Love well weighed up: Villon's Belle Heaulmiere
  • 5. Keenness of observation: Les contredictz de Franc Gontier
  • 6. The name of a man: La Ballade de la Grosse Margot
  • 7. Pomegranates in flower: Ballade pour Robert d'Estouteville
  • Conclusion
  • Too many Villons
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index.

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