“The collected essays . . . take voice as the starting point for a series of lively interrogations of the construction of gender in medieval culture. . . . This volume seamlessly draws connections between literature and song and provides a wonderful example of how new perspectives on medieval material . . . can be found with the application of contemporary critical tools.”—Early Music America
“This is a volume that speaks as much for our current time and preoccupations as for the medieval works examined: it leans as heavily on the notion of disruption as the prevailing culture in the business world and the arts.”—Medieval Review
“With its integration of current philosophies of voice, feminist criticism, and queer theory, this collection offers nuanced readings at every turn. The essays acknowledge the classical and ecclesiastical underpinnings of medieval misogyny while insightfully demonstrating how various genres and voices reflected—while undermining—conventional medieval European positions on women.”—Christopher Callahan, cotranslator of Thibaut de Champagne’s Les Chansons, textes et melodies
This volume brings together literary and musical compositions of medieval France, including the Occitanian region, identifying the use of voice in these works as a way of articulating gendered identities. The contributors to this volume argue that because medieval texts were often read or sung aloud, voice is central for understanding the performance, transmission, and reception of work from the period across a wide variety of genres.
These essays offer close readings of narrative and lyric poetry, chivalric romance, sermons, letters, political writing, motets, troubadour and trouvère lyric, crusade songs, love songs, and debate songs. Through literary, musical, and historiographical analyses, contributors highlight the voicing of gendered perspectives, expressions of sexuality, and power dynamics. The volume includes feminist readings, investigations of masculinity, queer theory, and intersectional approaches. The contributors interpret literary or musical works by Chrétien de Troyes, Aimeric de Peguilhan, Hue de la Ferté, the Chastelain de Couci, Jacques de Vitry, Christine de Pizan, Anne de Graville, Alain Chartier, and Giovanni Boccaccio, among others.
Gender and Voice in Medieval French Literature and Song offers a valuable interdisciplinary approach and contributes to the history of women’s voices in the Middle Ages and Early Modern periods. It illuminates the critical role of voice in negotiating culture, celebrating and innovating traditions, advancing personal and political projects, and defining the literary and musical developments that shaped medieval France.
Rachel May Golden, associate professor of musicology at the University of Tennessee, is the author of Mapping Medieval Identities in Occitanian Crusade Song. Katherine Kong, independent scholar and former associate professor of French at the University of Tennessee, is the author of Lettering the Self in Medieval and Early Modern France.
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