The "courtly book" 


In “The Normal Opportunity of the Provençal Troubadour,” a fragment for the unfinished project Gironde, Pound states:


"There are three ways of ‘going back,’ of feeling as well as knowing about the troubadours, first, by way of the music, second, by way of the land, third, by way of the books themselves, for a manuscript on vellum has a sort of life and personality which no work of the press attains. The Ambrosian library possesses a MS (R71 superiores), a thoroughbred, with clearly written words and music, which contains the extant tunes of Arnaut Daniel. Another MS (Fonds fr. 20050) in the Bibliothèque Nationale at Paris, a small quarto with music, is so very old that it might have been carried by some late singer on the road; while Ms fr. 856 is fat, like a dictionary and was certainly made for reading. And there is Ms. Fr 844, the courtly book in which the authors are arranged by rank and precedence: Anjou, Navarre, the Canon, the Chastelaine, Sire Morisses de Creon, Gilles de Beaumont with his hand on his heart – for they are all pictured in the capitals with their arms and blazons- Jehans de Louvois with his lance, Couci with rabbits in the margin, Mesire Bouchers de Malli, proper nights [sic] all, and Tiebaus de Blason. It is a book to set young girls thinking, for surely we have all this array to show us that a tempting singer need not lack of necessity goods lands and houses. Ms. Fr 854 is among the most clearly written and contains the razos, or notes of biography and explanation. From it I quote or abridge the great part of what follows.” (A Walking Tour 84)




Sieburth, Richard, ed. A Walking Tour in Southern France. Ezra Pound Among the Troubadours. New York: New Directions, 1992. Print.


Cantos in periodicals

A Draft of XXX Cantos

Eleven New Cantos

rsz guido cavalcanti


The Fifth Decad

rsz toscana siena3 tango7174

Cantos LII - LXXI

confucius adams 2