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The Feast of the Pheasant as Courtly Crusade Idiom

The Feast of the Pheasant as Courtly Crusade Idiom

(p.207) Chapter Six The Feast of the Pheasant as Courtly Crusade Idiom
The Subject of Crusade
Marisa Galvez
University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes the Burgundian Feast of the Pheasant of 1454, applying methods of description advanced in the previous chapters. At the Feast of the Pheasant, courtiers made a vow to go on crusade and rescue Constantinople. Scholars have long noted its extravagance as a communal avowal. The chapter asks how the idiom can collectively occur in performances and media of which we have only fragmentary knowledge, or that we have to reconstruct with attention to specific material or aesthetic effects. Chronicles by Olivier de la Marche, literary accounts, tapestries, and manuscript illuminations depict the feast as involving music and spectacle. Consistent with the other examples in this book, the Feast speaks a refusal of penitence and a preoccupation with worldly concerns, such as wealth and erotic desire. This chapter analyzes materials and performance that embody the Feast as a performance of the idiom: tapestries, the entremet play of Jason, and the gold illumination in grisaille manuscripts of the romance of Jason. It proposes a deep surface aesthetic and textural reading for understanding tapestries and the gold in grisaille manuscripts, a mode of reading through which the idiom emerges.

Keywords:   Feast of the Pheasant, Olivier de la Marche, entremet, grisaille, tapestries, Jason, deep surface, textural reading

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