Soissons and the Royal Abbey of Saint-Médard: Historical Contexts for the Life and Works of Gautier de Coinci

  • Donna Mayer-Martin
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Gautier de Coinci (1177/1178–1236) was a paradoxical man: he was a monk and a prior as well as a trouvère. Into his immensely popular and influential narrative collection, Les Miracles de Nostre Dame1 (almost eighty-manuscripts of which survive), Gautier interpolated vernacular songs in honor of Mary, songs for which he borrowed the melodies from a wide variety of sources, including contemporary secular chansons by Picard trouvères and the new Latin musical sources from Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Gautier fashioned these borrowed melodies into new songs, both courtly and mystical, in honor of his lady, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Gautier’s Miracles thus illustrate the apparently incongruous complexity of the man himself; while their subject matter is religious, the chansons themselves reflect the secular style of the northern French lyric.2


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© Stephanie Hayes-Healy 2005

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  • Donna Mayer-Martin

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