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The Subversion of Neoplatonic Theory in Claude Le Jeune’s Octonaires de la vanité et inconstance du monde
MacGilvray, Brian

2017, Doctor of Philosophy, Case Western Reserve University, Musicology.
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.
Susan McClary (Advisor)
Georgia Cowart (Committee Member)
Peter Bennett (Committee Member)
Catherine Scallen (Committee Member)
449 p.

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MacGilvray, B. (2017). The Subversion of Neoplatonic Theory in Claude Le Jeune’s Octonaires de la vanité et inconstance du monde . (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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MacGilvray, Brian. "The Subversion of Neoplatonic Theory in Claude Le Jeune’s Octonaires de la vanité et inconstance du monde ." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Case Western Reserve University, 2017. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 19 Feb 2018.

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MacGilvray, Brian "The Subversion of Neoplatonic Theory in Claude Le Jeune’s Octonaires de la vanité et inconstance du monde ." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Case Western Reserve University, 2017. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

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