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Article

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Abstract

In Antoine de La Sale’s fifteenth-century work Jehan de Saintré, a point of rupture in the amorous relationship between Madame des Belles Cousines and Saintré is initiated when this young knight decides to organize and participate in an emprise (a late medieval tournament) without notifying her or asking for permission from the king of France. In this article I will show that that by failing to secure royal authorization before organizing an emprise, Saintré commits a more serious error than often acknowledged in the scholarship about this text. This is important, because many scholars read this scene as an unjustified overreaction on Madame’s part. Some critics see La Sale’s text as a criticism of unbridled female involvement in chivalric pursuits. My analysis of the motif of obtaining authorization for emrpises in late fourteenth- and fifteenth-century romance, chronicle, and chivalric biography reveals that seeking royal approval to participate in these events is neither trivial nor optional. I will present textual and codicological evidence from Jehan de Saintré itself, Froissart’s Chroniques, the Livre des faits de Jacques de Lalaing, and fifteenth-century chroniclers supporting this assertion. In so doing, I will offer evidence that Saintré is not completely innocent in the demise of his relationship with Madame.

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