LES CHRONIQUES DE JACQUES D’ESCH
Historiographie, littérature et identités culturelles entre Empire et France sous les Luxembourg
The project aims to analyse the compiled chronicles written in medieval French, in the first half of the 15th century, by Jacques d’Esch, an influent patrician of Metz. It is organized around three interdisciplinary methodical questions of historical, literary and cultural identity matters. Jacques d’Esch’s work is presented as a compilation of chronicles about kings and emperors of the House of Luxembourg, though Metz stays at the centre of the author’s attention. Its first part is a compilation of collected documents in both prose and verse about the exploits of Luxembourgish dynasts during the last two centuries of the medieval period. The second part of the chronicle focuses on an autobiographical account of the reigns of Charles IV and above all Sigismund, which the author personally met as ambassador of the city of Metz. Exploring a new form of writing French, German and Luxembourgish history that is influenced by a specific perspective lies at the core of this paper. Metz is a free imperial city on French speaking area and linked with the Luxembourgish dynasts due to its complex position astride Romance and Germanic areas. Jacques d’Esch’s work is a contribution to a better understanding of the living conditions in a free city ruled by a form of state that resembled a Republic and was under constant threat from its direct neighbour, the king of France.
Thus, the project will not only help apprehend the new light shed on this issue by an author writing about Luxembourg while residing abroad, but also reveal influences on the building process of our region in the late Middle Ages. These aspects can be interpreted to the fullest by investigating identity and linguistic issues resulting from the author’s social background, his connection with the reigning Luxembourgish kings and emperors and finally his literary choices.