The Value of Verse: Storytelling as Accounting in Froissart’s Dit du florin

Zingesser, Eliza

The present article seeks to show that the façade of modesty and self-criticism of the Dit du florin is more superficial than has been realized. Couched in a frame in which Froissart appears to rebuke himself while praising his patrons is in fact a subtle demonstration of the power of the writer, who, through his stories (contes), does the real accounting (compte), determining the worth of various patrons, who may even be counts (comtes) such as Gaston Phébus, count of Foix. On several occasions (vv. 107-08, 276-77, 331-32, 381-82), Froissart invites readers to contemplate the link between these three homophones—not always orthographically distinct in Middle French—suggesting that the writer wields more influence when it comes to the assessment of value than the wealthy patrons whose image he can manipulate at will. While Zink offers a reading of the coin in the Dit du florin as a symbol of time and memory, I will argue that it might be understood equally well as a double of the written text.


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French and Romance Philology
Johns Hopkins University Press
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July 15, 2014