Gender, Writing, and Performance: Men Defending Women in Late Medieval France (1440-1538)

Hardcover | March 12, 2008

byHelen J. Swift

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This book explores the poetics of literary defences of women written by men in late-medieval and early-modern France. It fills an important lacuna in studies of this polemic in imaginative literature by bridging the gap between Christine de Pizan and a later generation of women writers andmale, Neo-Platonist writers who have recently all received due critical attention. Whereas male-authored defences composed between 1440 and 1538 have previously been dismissed as 'insincere' or 'mere intellectual games', Swift formulates reading strategies to overcome such critical stumbling blocksand engage with the particular rhetorical and historical contexts of these works. Edited and as yet unedited texts by Martin Le Franc, Jacques Milet, Pierre Michault, and Jean Bouchet-catalogues of women, allegorical narratives, and debate poems-are brought together and analysed in detail for thefirst time in order to explore, for example, how such works address the misogynistic spectre of Jean de Meun's Roman de la rose.The book seeks to understand the contemporary popularity of the case for women (la querelle des femmes) as literary subject matter. It investigates the publication history across this period, from manuscript to print, of Le Franc's Le Champion des dames. Swift further aims to show how these textshold interest for modern audiences. A nexus of theoretical concerns centred on performance - Judith Butler's gender performativity, Derrida's re-working of Austin's linguistic performativity through spectrality, and dramatic performance - is enlisted to articulate the interpretative engagementexpected by querelle writers of their audience. The reading strategies proposed foster a nuanced and enriched perspective on the question of a male author's 'sincerity' when writing in defence of women.

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This book explores the poetics of literary defences of women written by men in late-medieval and early-modern France. It fills an important lacuna in studies of this polemic in imaginative literature by bridging the gap between Christine de Pizan and a later generation of women writers andmale, Neo-Platonist writers who have recently a...

Helen J. Swift is Fellow and Tutor in Medieval French at St Hilda's College, Oxford. Her research interests straddle the late medieval and early modern periods, looking at the poetics of vernacular literature between 1350 and 1550. She is currently working on a monograph-length study, iUnderstanding Imagination in Medieval French Lite...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.8 inPublished:March 12, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199232237

ISBN - 13:9780199232239

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Haunting Text and Paratext: Performing Intertextuality in querelle Debates2. Performing Conflict: The Drama of Debate3. Representing Women in the iquerelle des femmes/iConclusion: A New Shelf-Life?Appendix 1: Chronologies of querelle des femmes Texts;Appendix 2: Lists of Manuscripts, Incunables, and Early Printed EditionsList of Works cited