Using Dedications to Charles VI to Convey Political Messages: Honorat Bovet, Philippe de Mézières, Christine de Pizan, and Pierre Salmon

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Article submitted April 2015, accepted October 2016.
The dedication of four French-language advice books to King Charles VI of France (r. 1380-1422), two just after the king’s declaration of personal rule (Philippe de Mézières’ Songe du viel pelerin and Honorat Bovet’s Arbre des batailles, both 1389) and two during the period dominated by Charles’s mental illness (Christine de Pizan’s Chemin de long estude, 1402-3 and the two versions of Pierre Salmon’s Dialogues, 1409 and 1412-15) was a deliberate tactic on the part of their authors. Philippe de Mézières, Honorat Bovet, Christine de Pizan, and Pierre Salmon used these dedications to speak not only to the king but also to a wider audience, including his male relatives. The dedications, the way the writers characterized and fictionalized Charles in textual and visual form, and the way the texts urged Charles’s relatives to support Charles and each other, all place the king at the centre of the political community. The writers emphasized the responsibility of both themselves and the king’s relatives, as members of this community, to the king and the kingdom. The role of Charles as the imagined reader, and indeed the subject, of these books, was an important part of the way their authors conveyed political messages.
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018