At the heart of the biography of Guillaume de Machaut as currently understood there lies an inconsistency so great as almost to present a paradox, for it seems irreconcilable with the evident content of his surviving output of musical works. From 1338 until his death in 1377 Machaut possessed a canonry and prebend of the cathedral and metropolitan church of Our Lady of Reims. Conventionally it has been assumed that soon after his receipt of this benefice, and certainly by 1340, he had taken up residence within one of the prebendal mansions located in or near the precinct of the cathedral, and that he made this his permanent domicile for the remainder of his adult life – a period little short of forty years.
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