Bloodless Genealogies of the French Middle Ages:
Translatio, Kinship, and Metaphor

Zrinka Stahuljak

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"Working between the military world of epic and the courtly world of Arthurian romance, Bloodless Genealogies is a brilliant and fascinating study of classical romance and of the relation of family structure to language, literature, and history in the crucial formative period of consolidation for the Angevin empire and the Renaissance of the 12th century."--R. Howard Bloch, Yale University

Zrinka Stahuljak reevaluates, in Old French literature and art, two concepts fundamental for the medieval period: genealogy and translatio. She argues that literary criticism has inherited the definition of genealogy developed by historians, wherein genealogy is defined as a bloodline linking fathers and sons from generation to generation. Similarly, she maintains, literary criticism has interpreted medieval translatio, a concept fundamental for understanding all forms of intellectual and political transmission in the Middle Ages, as a genealogy. Through an analysis of the romances of antiquity, Arthurian prose romances, the Charlemagne window at Chartres, and the iconography of the Tree of Jesse, covering the period between 1150 and 1250, she challenges both these notions at the core of medieval scholarship.

Because she addresses such basic concepts of medieval literature and culture that transcend national and linguistic boundaries, Stahuljak’s study, drawing on literary, historical, and visual sources, has implications well beyond French medieval studies. Her examination of canonical texts and traditional, long-held notions of how genealogy works in literature and of the medieval theory of translation will provide interesting, fresh analysis and methodology for the classroom and a significant contribution to our understanding of the relationship of linguistics, history, and anthropology in the 12th century.

Zrinka Stahuljak is assistant professor of French at UCLA and the author of articles on medieval historiography and translation and on contemporary translation theory.

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…a rich source of thought-provoking material. Modern Language Review

…the author's approach to the historicity of metaphor is original, certainly intrguing, and worthy of serious attention. Medium Aevum

"A closely-argued and stimulating study that will provide food for thought for scholars both within and outside the field of medieval French." Bulletin of International Medieval Research

"Casts interesting new light on some important texts from the Old French canon." Modern Philology

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