Marie de France Circa Twelfth Century
Marie de France Circa Twelfth Century
Marie de France is the earliest known female French writer and is regarded as one of the finest poets of the twelfth century. She wrote during a western European cultural renaissance marked by the expansion of urban life and the rise of a new class of intellectuals, which included women. As a member of this class, Marie was able to obtain an extensive education and pursue a writing career. Although most modern scholars attribute to Marie a collection of fables and a translation of the legend of Saint Patrick, she is best known for her Lais, a collection of twelve verse tales written in octosyllabic rhyming couplets. Historians speculate that Marie may have been the originator of this form, but they concede that the absence of extant Breton lays, upon which Marie claimed to have based her own Lais, makes it difficult to determine the extent of her originality. Whether or not Marie de France invented the genre, critics assert that her Lais form an important part of medieval literature.
Very little is known for certain about Marie's life; therefore, much of the information cited by biographers is conjectural. In each of her three works Marie names herself as author, providing a clue to her identity and implying a concern for protecting her authorship. Biographers generally agree that Marie was born in France in the last half of the twelfth century and that she lived for many years in England. Many critics point to her vocabulary, style, and knowledge of Latin, French, and English as proof that she was an aristocrat. It is possible that she was associated with the English court, which was French-speaking at the time. Marie in fact dedicated her Lais to a "noble King," who, critics note, may be either the English monarch Henry II or his son Henry, known as the Young King. A commonly asserted theory of Marie's identity is that she was the illegitimate daughter of Geoffrey Plantagenet, thus the half-sister of Henry II, and that she later became the abbess of Shaftesbury. Alternatively, several critics have suggested that Marie was the daughter of Anglo-Norman nobles Galeran de Meulan and Agnes de Montfort. The name by which Marie is known today was coined by Claude Fauchet in 1581. While consulting a manuscript that included a collection of fables, Fauchet read in the epilogue, "Marie is my name and I am from France," and thereafter referred to the author as Marie de France.
Marie's Lais, a collection of twelve lays or narrative songs, is thought to be her first literary work. In her prologue to the Lais, Marie states her intention and her source: she had heard Breton lays and decided to document them for posterity and for her own fame. Scholars believe that Les Fables d'Ysopet, a collection of twenty-three fables she translated from English into French, constitutes Marie's second work. The title of this work cites "Ysopet," or Aesop, as Marie's model, but in the epilogue she acknowledges Alfred the Great, whose fables have been lost, as her source. As with the Lais, the lack of preserved literary antecedents for the Fables makes it difficult to determine the level of Marie's originality. L'Espurgatoire Saint Patriz, which is believed to be her third and final work, is a close translation into French of Henricus Salteriensis's Latin version of the legend of St. Patrick.
In the Lais, Marie places her characters in a variety of circumstances covering the fundamental issue of love in human relationships. As the narrator of events, she acts as a quiet observer, relating details of clothing, speech, and courtly lifestyles, as well as facets of social behavior. Although her Lais has a subtly didactic tone, Marie refrains from analysis or outright judgment, presenting an assortment of conflicts with unpredictable resolutions. Many of Marie's characters live in a hostile world, trapped literally by a jealous husband or figuratively by social or familial obligations, and they seek an ideal love as a means of escape. Some critics conclude that Marie presents marital love as the ideal, while others surmise that she treats adultery as a more dangerous and, therefore, stronger expression of passion. A love that is loyal, generous, and pure results in success for the lovers, regardless of marital ties, while a love that is selfish or impure ends in tragedy or punishment. Like the Lais, Marie's Fables shows her concern for individual growth and well-being. Many of the lessons taught by these stories affirm the injunction set forth in the epilogue to the collection: "one who neglects one's own interests acts foolishly." Through the actions of characters in the fables, Marie asserts her disdain both for manipulators and those careless enough to become victims. She also warns against corrupt and villainous officials. Didactic by nature, the fables instruct readers to fight the oppression of the weak, to root out corruption and greed, and to choose a simple and free life over a luxurious but enslaved existence.
The number of manuscripts of Marie's work that have survived through the centuries serves as evidence of her importance as a medieval writer. However, the bulk of English criticism of her works did not appear until the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Scholars note one mention of her by a contemporary, Denis Piramus, who in his work La Vie Seint Edmund Le Rei (1190-1200) speaks of a "lady Marie who wrote in rhyme and composed the verses of lais." Critics today describe Marie de France as a storyteller of great charm and imagination who wrote with wit, intelligence, and economy. On the other hand, what certain critics refer to as charming simplicity in Marie's writing some view as a lack of sophistication. Her character depiction, for example, has been judged by some to be two-dimensional; others, however, have asserted that Marie intentionally established fixed types so that the slightest deviation would be noticeable, thereby contributing to the definition and differentiation of her characters. Some critics cite as a weakness her tendency to create absurd situations—as in the lai "Yonec" in which a pregnant woman jumps twenty feet from the tower where she is imprisoned, lands unhurt, and journeys to find her lover. But others argue that Marie's Lais is purposely absurd and thereby intent on conveying both humor and irony. Finally, scholars note that Marie's narratives depict not only the style of dress and manner of speech but also the behavioral codes and societal attitudes of the late twelfth century. Her vivid portrait of life in the medieval Anglo-Norman court has attracted the attention of critics and historians throughout the centuries, but it is her insightful treatment of love and human relationships that has secured her universal appeal.
Principal English Translations
Guingamor, Lanval, Tyolet, Bisclaveret (translated by Jessie L. Weston) 1900
Marie de France: Seven of Her Lays Done into English (translated by Edith Rickert) 1901
French Mediaeval Romances from the Lays of Marie de France (translated by Eugene Mason) 1911
The Lays Gugemar, Lanval, and a Fragment of Yonec (translated by Julian Harris) 1930
Marie de France: Fables (translated by Alfred Ewert and R. C. Johnston) 1942
Marie de France: Lais (translated by Alfred Ewert) 1944
The Lais of Marie de France (translated by Robert Hanning and Joan Ferrante) 1978
The Fables of Marie de France (translated by Mary Lou Martin) 1984
The Lais of Marie de France (translated by Glyn S. Burgess and Keith Busby) 1986
Fables (translated by Harriet Spiegel) 1987
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SOURCE: "Marie de France's 'Laüstic'," in Romance Notes, Vol. XII, No. 1, Autumn, 1970, pp. 203-07.
[In the following essay, Woods examines the structure of the lai "Laüstic," demonstrating how Marie de France used concision, understatement, and powerful symbols to tell this brief tale effectively.]
The present discussion of the literary skill of Marie de France is a brief analysis of some of her poetic techniques in the lai, "Laustic" and is a demonstration of her ability at its best. A careful and sensitive reading of this story reveals the use of aesthetic devices which we value today as much as Marie evidently did.
An examination of "Laüstic" discloses a build-up of dramatic tension through Marie's use of understatement, linking, symbol, irony and concision. The latter is evident in the structure of the poem and in her handling of the components. The work consists of 160 lines, of which the first six are her introduction and the last four are the conclusion. Since neither of these sections is part of the intrigue, they are being considered only incidentally here. The plot is told in 150 lines which are divided into nine parts of nearly equal length.
I. (7-22) The Exposition. There are sixteen lines which furnish the exposition of elements needed in Marie's story. They give the setting, describe the situation and present the characters. The locale...
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SOURCE: "'Equitan': Anti-'Guigemar'," in Romance Notes, Vol. XV, No. 2, Winter, 1973, pp. 361-67.
[In the following excerpt, Pickens compares "Equitan" to the lai "Guigemar" and defends "Equitan" against those critics who call it an inferior lai.]
No other lai of Marie de France has suffered more at the hands of critics than "Equitan" To Hoepffner it is nothing more than "un médiocre fait-divers sans grandeur qui fournirait plutôt matière à un fabliau ou à un conte drôlatique qu'à un de ces contes sentimentaux qui sont dans la manière de notre poétesse" [Ernest Hoepffner, Les Lais de Marie de France, n.d.]. Without its love casuistry, according to Moshé Lazar, '"Equitan"' n'aurait été qu'un fabliau de peu d'intérêt." [Amour courtois et fin'amors dans la littérature du XIIe siècle, 1964]. And Jeanne Wathelet-Willem wonders if such an embarrassing work can really be by Marie de France, though she finally concludes that, despite Hoepffner, it is an "œuvre de début. Il est lourd, maladroit, sent le procédé d'école," and only out of a sense of motherly affection "pour un mal venu parmi ses enfants" did Marie slip it in among the other poems in her collection ["Equitan dans l'œuvre de Marie de France," Le Moyen Age, Vol. LXIX, 1963]. What offends these critics most is the last part of the lai (197-305), where the lovers hatch...
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SOURCE: "Alienation and the Otherworld in 'Lanval,' 'Yonec,' and 'Guigemar'," in Comitatus, Vol. V, 1974, pp. 19-31.
[In the following essay, Hodgson discusses Marie's use of the supernatural in her lais to highlight the conflict between society and love that her characters face.]
Much of the critical attention devoted to the lais of Marie de France has been directed toward tracing the origin of the motifs which constitute their framework. By determining the nature of the tradition which inspired Marie, source critics have hoped to measure her originality, her role in the creation of one of the richest of medieval genres. Since the results of such historical investigation have been ambiguous, critics like Emmanuel Mickel have recently focused on a more internal examination of the lais in a search for their common themes. But even this intrinsic analysis, when confronted with the numerous motifs from Celtic folklore which consistently buttress the action of the lais, either fails to assimilate these elements or dismisses them as superfluous structural devices. Such is the conclusion of Mickel in his article "A Reconsideration of the Lais of Marie de France" [in Speculum, Vol. 42, 1967] when he writes: "… the Celtic folklore motifs, often connected with the magical element, have yielded little help in making an over-all interpretation. The tracing of various...
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SOURCE: "The Unity and Significance of Marie's 'Prologue'," in Romania, Vol. 96, No. 1, 1975, pp. 83-91.
[In the following essay, Mickel offers a line-by-line analysis and reinterpretation of the difficult "Prologue" to Marie de France's Lais.]
The importance of Marie's "Prologue" has been recognized by scholars since the earliest studies of the Lais. To early scholars, interested in the origin of the lai as a literary form and in establishing the sources which Marie used, the interpretation of lines 33 to 42 of the "Prologue" was crucial to an understanding of the literary history of the text. Because they did not relate to the problem of the origins of the genre and collection, the first 27 lines received less attention. Although lines 33 to 42 present difficulties of interpretation, the first 27 lines are more obscure from a grammatical and syntactic standpoint and have long presented a problem.
In the past thirty or forty years scholars have become increasingly aware of the sophisticated nature of mediaeval literature and the multiple levels of meaning which writers of the period consciously threaded through the fabric of their texts. Professor Spitzer's 1943 article on Marie's "Prologue" changed the focus of attention to the first 27 lines. He related her statement in the opening lines of the "Prologue" to other mediaeval poetics of the period and asserted that Marie...
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SOURCE: "The Image of the Tournament in Marie de France's 'Le Chaitivel'," in Romance Notes, Vol. XVI, No. 3, Spring, 1975, pp. 686-91.
[In the following essay, Cowling refutes critical opinion that the lady in the lai "Chaitivel" is selfish and cruel.]
That the lais of Marie de France concentrate upon delicate feelings and exquisite emotions has long been recognized. Years ago J. D. Bruce wrote [in The Evolution of Arthurian Romance From the Beginnings Down to the Year 1300, 1928] of the romantic charm and grace of the lais, and Gaston Paris characterized the tone of Marie's work as "tendre et mélancolique" [La Litterature française au moyen age, 1909]. More recently John Stevens has argued that in the lais Marie creates images—objects, incidents, or characters—which convey or serve as the focus for the "feeling" of the narrative ["The granz biens of Marie de France," Patterns of Love and Courtesy, 1966]. Thus, in "Le Chevrefeuil" the image of the honeysuckle twined about the wand of hazel is the imaginative focus of the story of the lovers' union, the natural, non-civilized wildness of the growth suggesting the quality of the love between Tristan and Iseult.
The one exception Stevens finds to this mode of development is "Le Chaitivel," which he calls "imageless and unmemorable." It is to this exception that I propose to address...
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SOURCE: "The Narrative Unity of the 'Lanval' of Marie de France," in Studies in Philology, Vol. LXXIV, No. 2, April, 1977, pp. 130-45.
[In the following essay, Ireland divides the story line of "Lanval" into four "stages" while demonstrating the lai's connections with later Arthurian romances.]
In perhaps the best book to date on Marie de France, Emanuel Mickel, Jr. has done much to clarify for the more peripheral reader the complex issues surrounding the medieval lai [Marie de France, 1974]. According to Professor Mickel's résumé of the scholarship, not only does the relationship between Marie's narrative lais and earlier Breton sources remain critically enigmatic, but also there continues to be widespread disagreement whether in fact Marie called her own works lais. Moreover, generic definitions of the lais based on content somehow miss the mark in describing the breadth of her narrative poems, and those based on external features blur still further the already vague distinctions between conte, aventure, roman, fabliau, and lai. What Professor Mickel does seem to establish quite clearly is that Marie consciously created highly original, imaginative, and diverse narrative poems from folk material, probably without an accurate understanding of the nature of that original material, and that her poems have a sophisticated internal unity, the central...
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SOURCE: "Desire and Interpretation: Marie de France's 'Chievrefoil'," in Yale French Studies, No. 58, 1979, pp. 182-89.
[In the following essay, Fitz uses deconstructionist theory to reveal the "truth" in the lai "Chievrefoil."]
The Lais of Marie de France are rimed narratives that tell how, why, where and by whom apparently obscure lyric poems, also called lais, were composed. In these narratives the personages themselves tell, sometimes write, read and in two instances ("Chaitivel" and "Chievrefoil") make lays of their own adventures. (In the ten other texts these lays are said to have been made by anonymous, ancient Bretons.) In other words, these narratives show personages whose actions are protoliterary in that they constitute the object of the exegetical activity Marie performs.
Marie's intention is to tell the truth of these lays, as declared for example in the initial verses of "Chievrefoil":
Asez me plest e bien le voil,
Del lai qu'hum nume Chievrefoil,
Que la verité vus en cunt
Pur quei fu fez, cornent e dunt.
[It pleases me and gladly I want to tell you the truth of the lay called Chievrefoil, why it was made, how and where.]
In the initial and final verses of each of the eleven other texts...
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SOURCE: "Marie de France As Naturalist," in Romance Notes, Vol. XXI, No. 2, Winter, 1980, pp. 248-53.
[In the following essay, Harrison suggests that in her lais and fables, Marie is not interested in plant and animal lore except insofar as it can be used to symbolize or reflect upon human behavior.]
Although Marie de France is certainly the author of courtly works infused with great sensitivity and perception about the human psyche, she frequently resorts to flora and fauna of diverse form and type to advance the intrigue, to instruct a character or the reader, to serve as symbol, and to amuse or ornament. Even the most casual reader must note that the Ysopet is, first of all, a collection in which 85% of the stories are animal centered, while five of the twelve lais are named either for a plant (honeysuckle), for a bird (nightingale), or for a character related to a plant (ash tree) or to animals (werewolf, Yonec son of a hawk-knight). How serious a naturalist is Marie de France?
Four of the lais are without animal or plant life ("Chaitivel," "Les Deus Amanz," "Equitan," and "Lanval") although mention is made of hunting in "Equitan" and Lanval does once lie in the meadow grass, hands behind his head, of a fine summer's day. "Le Fresne" provides an example of an undeveloped reference, a plant form chosen for its own sake or at random. This is no Druid tree...
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SOURCE: "Text and Readers in Marie de France's Lais," in Romanic Review, Vol. LXXI, No. 3, May, 1980, pp. 244-64.
[In the following essay, Sturges contends that readers of Marie's Lais are obliged by the structure of the Lais themselves to interpret the words and to become immersed in the stories as attempts at meaning, not as depictions of reality.]
Although criticism in recent years of the Lais of Marie de France has done much to enhance the understanding of each of her individual tales, little attention has been devoted to the common themes and structures which unite them. Judith Rice Rothschild in her study Narrative Technique in the Lais of Marie de France  has pointed out a number of themes reappearing in several tales; she believes that these common themes point toward an "artistic unity for the ensemble." To Rothschild's list of themes I would like to add the theme of interpretation. Many of the lais present figures who act as readers or interpreters analogous to the reader of the Lais themselves. Since the interpreting figures within the lais are invariably lovers, a further analogy, between the activities of love and of reading, is also suggested. Some of the lais pose problems raised by these analogies, while others suggest solutions.
Marie's book, considered as a whole, presents the reader with a variety of...
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SOURCE: "Chivalry and Prowess in the Lais of Marie de France," in French Studies, Vol. XXXVII, No. 2, April, 1983, pp. 129-42.
[In the following essay, Burgess observes that most of the characters in Marie's Lais belong to the upper classes, and thus issues of loyalty, service, and expertise in battle and hunting predominate.]
The world of Marie de France's Lais is fundamentally one of chevaliers and their ladies. There are 126 examples of the term cheval(i)er in the twelve poems and only seven of vassal, five of which occur in "Lanval." Almost all the male characters whose attitudes and activities Marie clearly supports are described as chevaliers: Guigemar and his father, the seneschal in "Equitan," Gurun in "Le Fresne," Bisclavret, Lanval, Muldumarec and his son Yonec, the lover in "Laüstic," Milun and his son, the four lovers in "Chaitivel," and Eliduc. A notable exception is the lover in the "Deus Amanz," who is called an enfant (3, 241), a damisel (49, 143, 168, 188), a danzel (73, 126), and a vallet (68, 117, 159). Although the son of a count (50) and manifestly capable of exceptional physical effort, he does not live long enough to be knighted. In "Chevrefoil" Tristram is not referred to specifically as a knight, but Marie here is relying on a well-known story for the framework of her tale. The conflict between...
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SOURCE: "Thematic Irony in Marie France's 'Guigemar'," in French Forum, Vol. 13, No. 1, January, 1988, pp. 5-16.
[In the following essay, Brumlik shows how "Guigemar" is different from conventional love lais.]
The opening lines of Marie's "Guigemar" expand upon the hero's place in a serious "this-worldly" world of feudal and family solidarity and dependence (27-56). The links in the chain of dependence begin at the top with King Hoilas and move down, first to Oridial, a good and trusted knight and lord of Liun, and then to his wife and children, a son and a daughter, Guigemar and Noguent.
In a period intermittently troubled by wars in Brittany, Guigemar is cherished at home until he leaves to serve his king and be dubbed by him. Then he leaves the court to establish a reputation for himself in Flanders, where, Marie tells us, there is always a war going on (52). In a romance type of tale such as this appears to be, one might expect Guigemar to find both adventure and love upon leaving home, returning to his family and seigneur only to marry. However, our expectations are not realized. Guigemar surprises us, not by his refusal to love (57-68), which merely announces to the reader that this situation will be reversed, but by coming home, once his reputa tion as a soldier is made, to see his family and his seigneur (69-75). These 30-odd lines of introduction do not exist...
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SOURCE: "'Eliduc' and the Iconography of Love," in Mediaeval Studies, Vol. 54, 1992, pp. 274-85.
[In the following essay, Coolidge argues that through its use of such symbols as a weasel and a bed before an altar, "Eliduc" becomes Marie de France's ultimate assessment of sexual and charitable love.]
Although many early critics of Marie de France's Lais focused attention on her sources, her identity, and her handling of "courtly love," more recent critics have recognized the Lais' artistic integrity, narrative structure, and subtle handling of love. In two studies on the Lais, Emanuel Mickel argues persuasively that the progression of the first three lais—"Guigemar," "Equitan," and "Le Fresne"—introduce the three types of love seen throughout the collection: love begun in passion and ennobled through fidelity, love flawed by selfish desires and lack of restraint, and selfless love which is able to transcend the suffering that obstructs its fulfillment. ["A Reconsideration of the Lais of Marie de France," Speculum, Vol. 46, 1971; Marie de France, 1974]. After introducing these types of love. Marie continues in the rest of the collection to anatomize love on many levels: love between lovers, between parent and child, between neighbors and fellow men, love of self and personal esteem, and finally love for God. Because it concludes the collection and synthesizes types,...
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SOURCE: "Transferral, Transformation, and the Act of Reading in Marie de France's 'Bisclavret'," in Romance Quarterly, Vol. 39, No. 4, November, 1992, pp. 399-410.
[In the following essay, Gertz uses reader response theory to explain the changes in our reactions that occur as we read "Bisclavret. "]
Marie de France's twelfth-century lai "Bisclavret" invites its audiences to become immersed in its world, as Marie's disarmingly simple narrative style conveys complex, fantastic matter. Her framing of supernatural material in the standard plot of the betrayed husband creates a sense of encountering the familiar long before reaching the conclusion, partly because so little of the marvelous occupies the narrative presentation (as opposed to the material) of this merveille. Rather than heightening the strangeness or even the horror so obviously a potential focus of a werewolf story, Marie ironically insists on creating a very normal, human beast.
Eliciting standard expectations from this merveille about a Knight doomed to a werewolf existence at the hands of his Lady creates a strange need for balance. Critical responses to the lai, for example, often focus on the supernatural, rehearsing the sources that inform the greater context of lycanthropy in order to extrapolate significance in Marie's use of the supernatural Bisclavret. This tendency toward imbalance is...
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SOURCE: "The Inscription of a New Audience: Marie de France's Espurgatoire Saint Patriz," in Romance Languages Annual, Vol. V, 1993, pp. 57-62.
[In the following essay, Leonard argues that through her Espurgatoire Saint Patriz, Marie offered up the story of Saint Patrick to a wider audience, translating it as she did into French from Latin and embellishing upon the story to make it accessible to people living and working outside of monasteries.]
In her least-studied work, the Espurgatoire Saint Patriz, Marie de France is involved in the translation of one form of language into another. In the Lais, the poet transformed the orally transmitted Celtic lay into written French verse. In the Fables, Marie claims to have translated King Alfred's Aesopic fables from English into Romance. The Espurgatoire undergoes similar treatment as the Lais and Fables in that it is transformed through translation by Marie. The literary circumstances surrounding the production of the Espurgatoire, however, stand in contrast to those of the Lais and the Fables. First, the Latin text of the Tractatus de Purgatorio Sancti Patricii, written by an English Cistercian monk known as Henry of Saltrey, survives in many manuscripts, testifying to the various stages of its development, and therefore can be compared closely with Marie's translation of it....
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SOURCE: "Ordeals, Privacy, and the Lais of Marie de France," in The Journal of Medieval and Renaissance Studies, Vol. 24, No. 1, Winter, 1994, pp. 1-31.
[In the following essay, Bowers defines the medieval method of judgment by ordeal and asserts that Marie's Lais critiques the era's shift from trial by ordeal to "more efficient" ways of violating people's privacy and personal freedom.]
Marie de France wrote during the period c. 1170-90 when England was in transition from a feudal society toward a state-nation under Henry II. It was an era when the Church was also redefining its regulatory power over the laity under a series of strong popes culminating with Innocent III. Dealing exclusively with the secret relations between men and women—typically a clandestine love affair in some secluded place—Marie's lais brought into sharp definition one of the human values most at stake in these pervasive restructurings of society: personal privacy. Christianity had flourished in the enclosures of monasteries and episcopal courts, and feudalism encouraged a privatization of social life in the lord's familia as the core political unit. Yet privacy in the modern sense was a true anomaly in these intimate, granular communities except in the sense of "collective privacy" sustained by all members of an extended household. Since any activity that a man and woman needed to keep private could...
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SOURCE: "Cherchez la Femme: Feminist Criticism and Marie de France's 'Lai de Lanval'," in Romance Notes, Vol. XXXIV, No. 3, Spring, 1994, pp. 263-73.
[In the following essay, Kinoshita argues that in the lai "Lanval," the title character's ultimate rejection of chivalric society is an expression of Marie de France's feminism.]
In any discussion of woman's voice in medieval French literature, the works of Marie de France are a natural point of departure. The putative author of a collection of fables, the hagiographic Espurgatoire Seint Patriz and the celebrated Lais, she is among the earliest attested female poets in the Romance vernacular; together with Christine de Pizan at the other end of the Middle Ages, she has been the focus of numerous feminist rereadings. But just what does it mean to speak of the "female voice" of an author who exists as little more than a name? In this paper, I will review three different critical analyses of what constitutes the "femininity" of the Lais of Marie de France. Then, in a brief reading of the "Lai de Lanval," I will argue the importance of taking Marie's representation of medieval feudal and familial relations into account in any attempt to assess the feminist implications of her work. My critical wager is to seek the medieval "woman's voice" neither in the style of the text nor in the way in which female protagonists negotiate a path...
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Boland, Margaret. "Noses and Robes, Curses and Charms in Marie de France." Tamkang Journal 30 (January 1991): 267-76.
Examines the combined cultural role of folklore and organized religion in the interpretation of the lais of Marie de France.
Brightenback, Kristine. "Remarks on the 'Prologue' to Marie de France's Lais." Romance Philology XXX, No. 1 (August 1976): 168-77.
Asserts that the "Prologue" to the Lais provides important information concerning Marie's reliance on and adaptation of classical mythology.
Brook, Leslie C. "A Note on the Ending of 'Eliduc.'" French Studies Bulletin 32 (Autumn 1989): 14-16.
Discusses the possibility that the story of the lovers in "Eliduc" "echoes" the letters written by medieval lovers Abelard and Heloise.
Bullock-Davies, Constance. "The Form of the Breton Lay." Medium Aevum XLII No. 1 (1973): 18-31.
Speculates on the style, level of difficulty, and the popularity of the Breton lay—a genre upon which Marie de France based her own Lais.
Burgess, Glynn S. "On the Interpretation of 'La stic,' v. 50." French Studies Bulletin 42 (Spring 1992): 10-12.
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