The Feminist Encyclopedia of French Literature

By Eva Martin Sartori; Colette H. Winn et al. | Go to book overview
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forming a nucleus, which probably promoted their authorial self-consciousness, the trobairitz's role as writers was acknowledged at large in society by their inclusion in the semiofficial vidas, of which one hundred have been preserved. This acknowledgment, coupled with the absence of self-deprecation about their writing (although they do typically deprecate the unrequited love which they suffer), suggests that these women writing in the langue d'oc did not encounter the same obstacles--that is, suspicion of their auctoritas, isolation from other women authors, and the physical and financial limitations noted above--as did their northern French counterparts writing in dialects of the langue d'oïl. Indeed, the survival in Occitania of Roman law, which allowed southern French women to inherit wealth and thus attain a greater degree of economic and legal independence, as well as the looser economic and political organization, with fewer large cities, more generalized impoverishment, less rigid class distinctions, and greater emphasis on kinship rather than feudal ties may all have contributed to creating the special conditions in which these poetesses thrived.

Grace M. Armstrong

Comm. in Epist. ad Ephes. III, 5, quoted in Warner M., Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary ( New York, 1976), 73.


Secondary Texts

Duby, Georges, et al., eds. Femmes et histoire. Paris: Plon, 1993.

Erler, M., and M., Kowaleski, eds. Women and Power in the Middle Ages. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1988.

Foulet, A., and K. Uitti. D. "The Prologue to the Lais of Marie de France: A Reconsideration." Romance Philology 35 ( 1981- 1982): 242-249.

Freeman, M. "Marie de France's Poetics of Silence: The Implications of a Feminine Translatio." PMLA 99 ( 1984): 860-883.

Gaunt, S. Gender and Genre in Medieval French Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Krueger, R. L. Women Readers and the Ideology of Gender in Old French Verse Romance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

McNamara, J., and J. E. Halborg, eds. and trans. Sainted Women of the Dark Ages. Durham: Duke University Press, 1992.

Paden, W. D., ed. The Voice of the Trobairitz: Perspectives on the Women Troubadours. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989.

Petroff, E. A. Medieval Women's Visionary Literature. New York: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Riché, P. Education et culture dans l'Occident médiéval. London: Variorum Reprints, 1993.

Shahar, S. The Fourth Estate: A History of Women in the Middle Ages. London: Methuen, 1983.


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