In This Article Expand or collapse the "in this article" section Charles d’Orléans

  • Introduction
  • Bibliographies
  • Biography
  • Historical Background
  • Charles’s Family
  • Blois and its Library
  • Manuscripts and Collections Belonging to Charles and his Family
  • Charles’s Intellectual World, Sacred and Secular
  • Essay Collections Dedicated to Charles d’Orléans
  • Early Printed Books in France, to 1600
  • Translations into Modern French
  • Translations from French into Modern English
  • Issues of Translation
  • Modern Anthologies
  • Fine Press and Illustrated Collections
  • “Autobiography” and the “I”
  • “Social,” Collaborative Poetry
  • Anthologization
  • Intertextuality
  • Allegorical Figures
  • Language
  • Reception and Afterlife
  • Modern Anthologies
  • Subjectivity
  • Literary Analysis/Interpretation
  • Form, Language, Style, Rhetoric
  • Charles d’Orléans among the English and Scottish Poets
  • Literary Associations in England
  • Charles and Music in Late-Medieval France and in England
  • Charles as Depicted in Medieval Art and Literature

Medieval Studies Charles d’Orléans
Mary-Jo Arn, Jane Taylor
  • LAST REVIEWED: 31 March 2016
  • LAST MODIFIED: 31 March 2016
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396584-0194


Charles’s reputation as not only one of the two premier lyric poets of 15th-century France but also a vital figure in the complex history of that time has produced an abundant bibliography that can focus with some conviction on the person as well as the poet. Charles was a duke royal, in line at one point for the throne of France. He was also a prisoner of the English for twenty-five years (1415–1440). The archives of the House of Orléans (chambre de compte), while far from complete, provide the scholar with a treasure trove of information about his personal, political, literary, intellectual, religious, and family life. We offer items here that will enable scholars to begin to track his life in England and to follow his life after his return home. From a series of inventories and other documents we are also well informed about his books and his reading. We know what books he had with him (or acquired) in England; what books he had at Blois at various times. Because so many were later incorporated into the Royal Library (later the Bibliothèque nationale de France; BnF), we can sometimes access the copies he himself read—and sometimes annotated. Charles is important for his own work (in three languages), which was rich and profusely copied, but he was also the center of a shifting population of poets and the creator of poetic coteries. After 1440 Blois became a gathering place for poets and writers from all over the French-speaking world, among them some of the most accomplished, as well as for distinguished visitors on personal or diplomatic visits. It is probably inevitable that the authorship of a major French poet’s compositions in another language would be questioned. We include some account of the more-than-a-century-old debate that surrounded the English poems of British Library MS Harley 682 (and of a few other English poems). The numbers of scholars who accept the attribution today is growing steadily on both sides of the Atlantic. In recent years the poet and the work have been taken up as part of the burgeoning, largely Anglo-American, field of English/Anglo-French/French studies. Finally, Charles’s life and work continued and continue to inspire both scholarly and artistic efforts. His poetry was admired well into the Renaissance, for which reason we include material on the afterlife of his work in the age of print and, later, across the centuries, as the focus of artists, musicians, and poets to the present day.


Bibliographical resources on the life and work of Charles d’Orléans are abundant, both in print and on the web, and their production does not seem to be waning. Champion 1911 (cited under Biography) and Cigada 1960 provide good bibliographies of older works. Nelson 1990 is a solid bibliography from an American point of view, but Galderisi 2012 is the most up-to-date bibliography in print, wide-ranging, with useful annotations. Online, ARLIMA (Archives de littérature du Moyen Âge) and the website both offer occasionally annotated entries. The former is much more complete but deals only with literary matters.

  • ARLIMA: Archives de littérature du Moyen Âge.

    Selective, partially annotated bibliography that lists many reviews, regularly updated, and therefore unusually up-to-date (date of latest update recorded).

  • Charles, duc d’Orléans – Bibliography of Recent Work. In

    Online largely unannotated bibliography that began as a list of work post-1990 produced for paper publication. Includes some reviews. More recently, lists most new work and some older work. The site also includes a brief biography and other information about the poet.

  • Cigada, Sergio. L’opera poetica di Charles d’Orléans. Milan: Vita e Pensiero, 1960.

    Very good bibliography on early material. Includes English poetry, though the author disputed Charles’s authorship of it. See pp. 1–16.

  • Galderisi, Claudio. Charles d’Orléans. Bibliographie des écrivains français 33. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2012.

    Updates an earlier bibliography by the same author (Charles d’Orléans: “Plus dire que penser,” Bari, Italy: Adriatica, 1994). An attempt at an annotated, comprehensive bibliography of Charles’s life and work. Emphasizes older work.

  • Nelson, Deborah Hubbard. Charles d’Orléans: An Analytical Bibliography. Research Bibliographies and Checklists 49. London: Grant & Cutler, 1990.

    Thorough, annotated, and reasonably complete to 1988. Divided into manuscripts, followed by studies, editions, and translations. Items, given in order of date of publication, also include details of reviews. Indexes of “scholars, translators, composers, illustrators, etc.” and subjects.

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