Women Readers and the Ideology of Gender in Old French Verse Romance

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This study focuses on the relationship between Old French verse romances and the women who formed a part of their audience, and challenges the commonly-held view that all courtly literature promoted the social welfare of the noblewomen to whom romances were dedicated or addressed. Using reader-response theory, feminist criticism and recent historical studies, Roberta Krueger provides close readings of a selection of texts, both well-known and less well-known, to show an intriguing variety of portrayals of women: misogynistic, idealizing and didactic. She suggests that romances not only taught their audiences idealized models of masculine and feminine behaviour (including a sophisticated underpinning of medieval women's loss of autonomy in the family, education and society during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries), but that many romances also invited their readers to criticise and to resist gender roles.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521619363
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2004
  • Series: Cambridge Studies in French Series, #43
  • Pages: 360
  • Product dimensions: 5.43 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Preface; 1. The displaced reader: the female audience of Old French romance; 2. The question of women in Yvain and Le Chevalier de la Charrette; 3. Playing to the ladies: chivalry and misogyny in Ipomedon, Le Chevalier à l'Epée, and La Vengeance Raguidel; 4. Women readers and the politics of gender in Le roman de Silence; 5. Double jeopardy: the appropriation of women in four romances from the cycle de la gageure; 6. Constructing sexual identities in Robert de Blois' didactic poetry; 7. The reader as object of desire in Le roman du Castelain de Couci et de la dame de Fayel; 8. A Woman's Response: Christine de Pizan's Le livre du Duc des Vrais Amans and the limits of romance; Conclusion; Appendix; Notes; Bibliography; Index.

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