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Title The Subversion of Neoplatonic Theory in Claude Le Jeune’s Octonaires de la vanité et inconstance du monde
Publication Date
Degree PhD
Discipline/Department Musicology
Degree Level doctoral
University/Publisher Case Western Reserve University
Abstract Claude Le Jeune’s Octonaires de la vanité et inconstance du monde (1606), a collection of thirty-six Calvinist chansons spirituelles, are a neglected source of evidence relevant to his compromised position as a Huguenot in a French academic milieu controlled by Catholic royalists. Le Jeune is best known for his association with the Neoplatonic Académie de poésie et de musique (est. 1570) as a composer of musique mesurée à l’antique. In the Octonaires, he creates metric disorder by vacillating continually between homophonic musique mesurée and the imitative style that it was meant to replace. He also appears to select musique mesurée in a targeted way for verses that undermine its cosmological purpose, which was to represent and facilitate the Neoplatonic doctrines of universal harmonic movement (harmonia mundi) and divine reunion. Along with the circumstances of Le Jeune's career, the work's broader theological and philosophical context gives it the appearance of a retrospective critique, begun at the end of his life and after the Academy had been disbanded.This study draws new attention to the musical ramifications of a shift in ontological thought during the Renaissance: away from Platonic dualism and toward a Neoplatonic theory of cosmic unity and divine extension into matter, which became exposed thereby to the Protestant indictment of vanity. The study also identifies a hitherto overlooked connection between the poetic genre of "octonaires" on vanity and a contrary use of that term in sixteenth-century Neoplatonic and Hermetic literature. Both contexts relate the term to Psalm 119 (the psaume octonaire); in the latter context, the octonaire describes a metaphysical passage through the octave and, by analogy, the philosopher's ascent from the terrestrial to the eighth sphere  – a vain affront to Calvinist sensibilities.
Subjects/Keywords Art History; Art Criticism; Music; Philosophy; Religious History; Theology; Claude Le Jeune; Octonaires; Academy of Poetry and Music; Neoplatonism; Calvinism; Protestant music; vanitas; vanity; cosmology; ontology; musique mesuree; chansons spirituelles
Contributors McClary, Susan (Advisor)
Language en
Rights unrestricted ; This thesis or dissertation is protected by copyright: all rights reserved. It may not be copied or redistributed beyond the terms of applicable copyright laws.
Country of Publication us
Format application/pdf
Record ID oai:etd.ohiolink.edu:case1481567182875404
Repository ohiolink
Date Retrieved
Date Indexed 2017-02-14
Grantor Case Western Reserve University

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