Olivier de la Marche: l'homme dans l'œuvre
The article looks at Olivier de la Marche as a person, as revealed in his Mémoires, and at his place in the context of other historical writing at the court of the dukes of Burgundy. It reviews existing research on him. His aim in writing was to set down his experiences as a courtier and diplomat; his angle was personal rather than providing an overall view. While his work is especially valued for the detail it provides on tournaments and official functions, we may glean much about the man himself: his modesty, occasional wisdom, truthfulness, integrity, enthusiasm at his active role and his presence at important events, his loyalty to his patrons but also his clearsighted disapproval of some aspects of their behaviour. His style can be lively, providing cleverly observed sketches of people and situations, and he uses contemporary literary images and devices. Instances of all these aspects are shown in quotations from the text. We conclude that he was a 'mémorialiste' rather than a chronicler, and that the charm of his work lies in the way he shares his personal experiences with the reader.
KeywordsPersonal Experience Active Role Comparative Literature Historical Linguistic Literary Image
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