Poet Heroines in Medieval French Narrative: Gender and by Brooke Heidenreich Findley (auth.)

By Brooke Heidenreich Findley (auth.)

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By Brooke Heidenreich Findley (auth.)

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Yet both patron and poet find that they cannot discount women’s contributions easily: through their repeated actions of singing, writing, reading, and glossing, women persistently intrude into the narrative of the Prison, and ultimately succeed in shaping it despite their marginal status. The Prison understands the Voir Dit as a cautionary tale of the dangers of women’s literary involvement, yet it finally admits that women are necessary poetic partners for male authors. Part III returns to romance, examining two massive late medieval prose works: Perceforest, the subject of chapter five, and Ysaÿe le Triste, the subject of chapter six.

What I hope to develop here, then, is a theory of sexed and gendered writing within a very specific medieval French context, grounded in close readings of the texts that are our primary testimonia from that time. The Mirage of the Feminine Signature: Marie de France Before turning to an overview of the texts on which this book will focus, a brief look at one of the best-known medieval French works attributed to a woman, the Lais of Marie de France, will serve to show, on the one hand, the persistence of the theme of the text’s genesis from lost oral sources, and, on the other hand, the danger of the assumption that a woman’s signature can tell us anything at all about the ways in which 18 P O E T H E R O I N E S — M E D I E VA L F R E N C H N A R R A T I V E that text might gender literary creation.

1175–1250), Beuve de Hantonne (three French verse versions, c. 1200–1230), and Galeran de Bretagne (c. 2 Historical evidence from the twelfth through fifteenth centuries suggests both that minstrelsy was a possible occupation for medieval women, and that it raised a series of questions involving class, gender, and public performance. Records indicate that many amateur women poets and singers, as well as a small but significant number of professional female minstrels and entertainers, were active during this time period.

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