Figuring the Feminine: The Rhetoric of Female Embodiment in Medieval Hispanic Literature by Jill Ross
Figuring the Feminine examines the female body as a means of articulating questions of literary authority and practice within the cultural spheres of the Iberian Peninsula (both Romance and Semitic) as well as in the larger Latinate literary culture. It demonstrates the centrality in medieval literary culture of the gendering of rhetorical and hermeneutical acts involved in the creation of texts and meaning, and the importance of the medieval Iberian textual tradition in this process, a complex multicultural tradition that is often overlooked in medieval literary scholarship. This study adopts an innovative methodology informed by current theories of the body and gender to approach Hispanic literature from a femininst perspective.
Jill Ross offers new readings of medieval Hispanic texts (Latin, Castilian, and Hebrew) including Prudentius' Peristephanon, Gonzalo de Berceo's Milagros de Nuestra Señora, Shem Tov of Carrión's Battle Between the Pen and the Scissors, and several others. She highlights ways in which these texts contribute to the understanding of gender in medieval poetics and foreground questions of literary and cultural import. Figuring the Feminine argues that the bodies of women are crucial to the working out of such questions as the unsettling shift from orality to literacy, textual instability, cultural dissonance, and the resistance to cultural and religious hegemony.
Jill Ross is a professor in the Centre for Comparative Literature and the Centre for Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgments ix Introduction 3 Carnal Knowledge: Metaphor, Allegory, and the Embodiment of Truth 16 Dynamic Writing and Martyrs' Bodies in Prudentius's Peristephanon 50 Macho Words: Writing, Violence, and Gender in the Poema de mio Cid 81 The Metaphorics of Mary: Language and Embodiment in Berceo's Milagros de Nuestra Senora 108 Undressing the Libro de buen amor 145 Configuring Culture: Writing the Hybrid in Shem Tov of Carrion 181 Conclusion 204 Notes 211 Bibliography 269 Index 295