The Arrow of Love: Optics, Gender, and Subjectivity in Medieval Love Poetry


"The Arrow of Love examines visual encounters in medieval lyrics, exploring the ways in which poets employed contemporary optical theory both to revitalize classic topoi, such as Cupid's arrow, and to construct and develop subjectivities and gender roles. In the unconfessed or unrequited love that is so frequently the focus of medieval lyrics, an exchange of glances is often the primary contact between the lover and the beloved. As medieval poets sought new ways to describe visual interactions, many turned to the rapidly growing field of optical theory, which offered not only an array of images and metaphors but also models for the perceiving subject that could be adapted to poetic use. In particular, optical imagery and paradigms afforded poets a new approach to the roles of the languishing male and his powerful beloved." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Lewisburg, PA
Publication year:
  • 2003


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