Friday, March 18, 2011

More Sources

So basicaly these are highlights from two different sources; Crown, cross, and 'fleur-de-lis': an essay on Pierre Le Moyne's baroque epic 'Saint Louis', and Heraldry and Genealogy. The book Crown, cross. is about an epic poem called Saint Louis which along with other poems really brought images of the fleur de lis about. The Heraldry and Genealogy article helps solve the puzzle of why it is that the image is not exclusive or does not represent only one thing. I have found the fire hydrant and it is a bit overwhelming all I know is that I want to somehow comment on the several uses of the fleur de lis and how the image has come to mean so many things and has such a vast history that we may never entirely know.

“…the tools of modern criticism-Freudian, Jungian, phenomenological, and
structuralist-are eminently appropriate for such purposes. We the children of
surrealism perhaps represent the ideal public for a Pierre Le Moyne, capable of
appreciating his strengths and of forgiving his failings.”
“It is certain that the writers of epic gave expression to a nostalgia for power and glory, for honor, heroic living, and knightly doings, but also that the nobility tried to
live up to such models of heroism in their own lives. In this period, as in the
twelfth century, heroic literature reflects and helps create wish-fulfillment on
the part of a threatened aristocratic class.”
“by 1641 Le Moyne conceived a project for a heroic poem on the subject of King Louis IX Egyptian Crusade. And from 1650 on he dwelt in the professed House of the Jesuit order, rue Saint-Antoine, on the Ile-Saint-Louis. The newly constructed house and church were dedicated to Saint Louis. Over the fa├žade was placed a statue of Louis IX beneath the arms of France; inside were painting by Simon Vouet, one celebrating Saint Louis’ apotheosis, another depicting King Louis XIII as he offers the plans of the church to his ancestor in heaven. It was in this atmosphere that Father Le Moyne worked away on his nationalistic, dynastic, and religious poem.”

“The rules of epic in the seventeenth century and the particular mode of ceremonial heroic romance in which Tasso and Le Moyne chose to write required a happy ending. And Le Moyne himself, a man who in other contexts esteemed
himself to be a historian, proclaims in the dissertation the poet’s freedom with
regard to history. Le Moyne merely exercised that freedom given to all artists;
it is his privilege to write a heroic romance instead of a chronicle, to transform history into art.”

“Among the strongest impressions the reader receives from Saint Louis is one of splendor and magnificence.” “According to Maskell, seventeenth-century long poems can be divided into three categories: the annalistic epic, the heroic epic, and the romance.”
“Finally, when Le Moyne alters the facts of history, he does so out of patriotism and Christian faith.”
“ Finally, Le Moyne speaks of the laurel as an image of heroism, of the palm branch as an image of martyrdom, and , above all, of the French fleur-de-lis. He declares that King Louis’ victory will result in a grafting of the crown of thorns onto the crown of lilies, the fleur-de-lis. Ensuring that Louis’ descendants will sprout on the royal tree and that future kings and kingdoms shall put their names beneath the names of Louis’ and Bourbon’s descendants (books 1 and 8). And he praises Julie de Montausier, daughter of his patrons, the Marquis and Marquise of Rambouillet, who will bloom on the family tree and, crowned by myrtle, be allied with the fleur-de-lis. Christ and the French royal house are assimilated, for the lily, the emblem chosen by Clovis for his purification through baptism, stands for the Virgin Mary and the
annunciation of Christ’s coming as well as for the Capetian-Bourbon dynasty."

“physical light and the act of seeing are images of spiritual or moral insight…God and his angels are forces of light, while satan and his minions hide in darkness. The shadow of spiritual death, hell, sorcery, and vices contrast to the light that emanates from Christ, the Tree of Jesse, and the fleur-de-lis. For Le Moyne, the earth is often shrouded in night, but heaven is base in pure light, for fire and light are images of divine power, wisdom, and love. They destroy or transform, act as eternal wrath no less than as eternal grace, and they overcome the false light of human worldliness. In the second “Amour divin” the poet invokes the Holy Spirit, who as fire spoke to Moses in the Burning Bush. Love is conceived as God’s own vial principle, created from the flames of the Father and Son. It is the embodiment of divine creation and generation, and of his grace offered to sinners. The stars represent angels hovering around the divine sun, flying mirrors reflecting God, and human souls too, for Christ on the cross iss a torch whose sparks light up the world… The only riches that
Louis seeks in Egypt are a handful of miserable thorns. If he had sought more,
he would have been defeated a hundred times, but since he seeks thorns, he will
win the treasures of the Orient and, because of this pitiful, ironic crown, the
crown of France will remain in his family forever.”
“Louis undergoes symbolic death more than once, and, therefore, he lives. He imitates Christ, chooses his master’s crown, and thus becomes worthy of being Christ’s deputy in the world.”

Crown, cross, and ‘fleur-de-lis’: an essay on Pierre Le Moyne’s baroque epic ‘Saint Louis’By Calin, William
“Prior to the establishment of the English College of Arms on a royal
foundation, in the reign of Richard III, it was the practice of the great feudal
nobles (each of whom generally had his own herald, as Somerset, Warwich,
Clarence, Oxford, &C.), as a reward for service in the field or council, to
bestow on his chief vassals some portion of his own coat of arms, varied, more
or less, according to the rank of the individual or the nature of the service
preformed. These grants were recorded by the herald and his pursuivant or
scribe. Others received the armorial device in commemoration of some marked
event of their lives. Besides these arms proper, which were peculiar to
individuals, there were badges and devices attached to great houses, all the
members of which bore them… of the nature of badges are the different heathers of the Scottish clans, and the flowers adopted as such by various nations, as the lily of France, the rose, thistle, and shamrock of England, Scotland, and Ireland…Indeed, heraldry within its own demesne, makes but a poor appearance compared with its gorgeous blazon on the stained glass of the houses of parliament at Westminster, or on the panels of sumptuous equipages in Hyde Park. Yet, from the obscure recesses of the dusty court at Doctor’s Commons, emanate those marks of honor and of antiquity which are so much coveted by all classes, there, too, lies the secret, in some forgotten pedigree, which might cause the rich man and his poor neglected kinsman to change places... the national arms of the United states are remarkable as seeming to embody to some extent the paternal arms of the great man whose name is so prominent in their annals, and the stars and stripes is perhaps unique as being the only national coat of arms in the New World which is derived from the age of chivalry.”
Heraldry and Genealogy by J. Shelton Mackenzie


  1. Okay Misty, now you're in a great position to start structuring your plan for the thesis. You've got a pile of interesting sources ("the fire hydrant") on your topic, so you'll need to digest them and start forecasting an argument or analysis that you will make of the fleur-de-lis by using them.

  2. amen to what Mark has written. I love seeing you gather your material. Keep doing that, keep looking, especially as you get a better and better sense for just how you will structure this. At this point in my own work I always start making rough outlines, very rough at first -- with lots of question marks -- all in the service of finding the thread I want to follow through the many texts and other sources.