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Performing Women in the Middle Ages: Sex, Gender, and the Medieval Iberian Lyric
     

Performing Women in the Middle Ages: Sex, Gender, and the Medieval Iberian Lyric

by D. Filios, Bonnie Wheeler (Editor)
 
Unruly women constantly speak out in lyric poetry, their voices brought to life in the bodies of female singers, dancers, and instrumentalists. Performing Women is the first book-length study of female performers in Galician-Portuguese and Castilian comic-satiric poetry. Filios reconstructs medieval women's oral performances by bringing modern ethnographic work and

Overview

Unruly women constantly speak out in lyric poetry, their voices brought to life in the bodies of female singers, dancers, and instrumentalists. Performing Women is the first book-length study of female performers in Galician-Portuguese and Castilian comic-satiric poetry. Filios reconstructs medieval women's oral performances by bringing modern ethnographic work and performance theory to bear on literary and historical evidence. Filios explores how women's performances (and men's impersonations of women) contributed to the construction of the court, the marketplace, and the countryside as cultural spaces defined by certain acts, discourses, and conflicts. She argues that poetic portraits of sexually aggressive courtesans, bread sellers, and mountain women allowed elite men to portray their own sexuality as transgressive and to adopt temporarily a female identity, enabling them to speak and act as a degraded other. While these portraits may be misogynistic, they also demonstrate that poets appreciated marginalized women's characters, placing speeches overtly critical of dominant power structures in their mouths and constructing imaginary communities around them. Men wrote these characters, women appropriated them, ironically performing as themselves. By situating medieval lyric poems in their dialogic performance context, this study demonstrates the centrality female performers in poetic spectacles.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book is a magisterial synthesis and a major step forward for work on lyric poetry in Iberia and across medieval Europe...A wonderfully fresh and bracing contribution to medieval studies."-George D. Greenia, College of William and Mary, editor of La corónica

"Performing Women provides a bold, new contribution to our appreciation of Medieval Spanish lyric poetry. Drawing on models of gender and performance theory, Denise Filios explores a wide variety of ways in which women are figured in comic-obscene and comic-erotic texts. This is an important study that both illuminates individual texts and reconstructs for the modern reader a wealth of cultural contexts that are essential to our understanding of this influential poetic form." - Marina Brownlee, Princeton University

"I will certainly place the book on my department's graduate reading list and suggest that students read it with close attention. All in all it is a strong, ambitious first book that opens up new approaches to understanding the way the medieval lyric functioned and was constructed in society." - E. Michael Gerli, University of Virginia

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781403967305
Publisher:
Palgrave Macmillan US
Publication date:
03/08/2005
Series:
The New Middle Ages Series
Edition description:
2005
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.25(h) x 0.03(d)

Meet the Author

Denise K. Filios is Assistant Professor in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, University of Iowa.

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