Of Counselors and Kings

Of Counselors and Kings : The Three Versions of Pierre Salmon's Dialogues

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Pierre Salmon served as royal secretary to Charles VI of France at a time when papal schism plagued the church, civil war divided the country, and the king suffered from an intermittent but incapacitating psychosis. In an effort to find a cure for the king's illness, stabilize the turbulent political situation, and secure his own future, Salmon supervised the production of two distinct versions of the beautifully illuminated guidebooks to good kingship known as his "Dialogues". Where much previous scholarship has relied on an abridged edition of the "Dialogues", Anne D. Hedeman returns to the complete, original manuscripts to present a fresh view of Salmon's purposes. She suggests that whereas the first version (1409) held out hope for the king's eventual complete recovery and accordingly counseled him on ruling wisely, the second version (1412-15) reflected a changed political situation: the French civil war had erupted, the compromise pope had died, and efforts to find a cure for the king had failed. In this second version, Hedeman argues, Salmon shifted his attention to include the future governors of France, especially the heir, Louis of Guyenne, who took on an increased role in the government of the realm during his father's attacks of madness. Hedeman shows how Salmon manipulated artistic style and iconography to construct a visual narrative that often was quite independent of its text. She also suggests how changes to the images in Franois de Rochechouart's copy of the manuscript (ca. 1500) signal efforts to appropriate Salmon's stature as a trusted royal advisor for later political purposes. Richly illustrated with plates from the original manuscripts, "Of Counselors and Kings" is a treat to the eye as well as to the intellect.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 200 pages
  • 159.5 x 237 x 20.6mm | 527.51g
  • University of Illinois Press
  • Baltimore, United States
  • English
  • Abridged
  • Abridged edition
  • 0252026144
  • 9780252026140

Review quote

"Significantly expands our understanding of the nature of late medieval courtly patronage... The rigor of Hedeman's scholarship leaves little to criticize... [An] outstanding study. She set out to refine our understanding of Salmon's Dialogues and of the author's role in guiding the text's reception, and has done so with resounding success." -- Stephen Perkinson, College Art Association Reviews "Consistently illuminating... Clearly written and organized text... Hedeman examines her manuscripts in a remarkably diffuse rather than raking light, balancing historical background, literary traditions, and codicological details, and bringing an art-historian's eye to her consideration of text-image relationships." -- Elizabeth Moodey, HNA Newsletter ADVANCE PRAISE "A powerful exploration of a group of fascinating medieval manuscripts... Hedeman's book will not only fill a large lacuna in the scholarship but will set the stage for important further work on the relationship between royal representation and courtly intrigue." -- Michael Camille, author of Master of Death: The Lifeless Art of Pierre Remiet Illuminator "At times obscene, incontinent, and violent, yet much beloved by his subjects, the 'mad' king Charles VI was offered two closely related versions of Pierre Salmon's Dialogues that are among the most remarkable late medieval manuscripts. Anne D. Hedeman's richly layered analysis is the first to do full justice both to the text of this unusual political treatise and to its exceptional cycle of miniatures. By blending art historical, codicological, and historical perspectives, she eloquently demonstrates how Salmon's visual rhetoric sought to restore the royal ideal while simultaneously reminding his audience, present and future, of his own pivotal role as a counselor to the king." -- Brigitte Buettner, author of Boccaccio's Des cleres et nobles femmes: Systems of Signification in an Illuminated Manuscript "Exemplary ... Hedeman treats the manuscripts of Salmon's Dialogues as complex documents that are at once physical structures, systems of communication, and cultural artifacts." -- Claire Richter Sherman, author of Imaging Aristotle: Verbal and Visual Representation in Fourteenth-Century Franceshow more

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