Madness in Medieval French Literature: Identities Found and Lost
Madness is a frequent theme in medieval French literature. It afflicts the two greatest heroes of the Arthurian world, Lancelot and Tristan, as well as numerous other knights and unlucky lovers in courtly tradition. It also appears in devotional literature, whether in the form of the 'holy fool' who impersonates madness as a kind of penance or in the motif of lunatics cured through the miraculous intervention of a saint. These texts manifest a wide range of attitudes towards madness, which may be associated with nobility and refinement of character, with chivalric or spiritual transcendence, with tragic illness and impairment, with comic ineptitude, or with sin and degradation. Tracing these various depictions allows for a study of how and why madness is used in different texts and different genres. This new book, from one of the leading critics in medieval studies, ties in with contemporary interest in the politics of identity, and literary constructions of identity. Thereare many studies of gender, sexuality, race and ethnicity, and class in medieval literature and society, but far fewer of madness. Yet madness is the ultimate 'queerness' or 'otherness', the limit of the human condition. Madness has been identified as an important topic in feminist criticism, but has been explored largely with regard to nineteenth- and twentieth-century studies. The cultural significance of madness in the Middle Ages is often misrepresented in contemporary discussions. SylviaHuot redresses that imbalance.
What people are saying - Write a review
We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.
Agriano Amadas et Ydoine Amadas's animal beast beauty behaviour bestial bien Bisclavret bodily body Camel character chivalric construction Cornwall courtly cuer cultural Daguenet defined derve desire embodiment estoit example excluded fait fantasy fear female feminine figure folie Froissart gender Guillaume Guinevere hero heterosexual holy homo sacer homosocial human ibid identified identity illness insane Ipomedon Iseut Jaqueline Jugement Navarre Kahedin killed king knight lady Lancelot Lanval literary living death Logres loss love for Iseut lover lunatic madman madness madperson male subject Mark masculine means medieval medieval French literature memory misogyny Morois mort narrative Navarre never object once onques Palamedes Perceforest performance person portrayed prose Tristan prowess qu'il relationship Robert le Diable role romance saint seen sense sexual shame similarly Sir Tristan social somnambulism somnambulist space staging status story subjecthood sublime suffering symbolic order texts Tintagel tion transgressive trauma violence werewolf woman women Ydoine's Ysaie Yvain