Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Loving Subject: Desire, Eloquence and Power in Romanesque France

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

The Loving Subject: Desire, Eloquence and Power in Romanesque France

Article excerpt

Gerald A. Bond, The Loving Subject: Desire, Eloquence and Power in Romanesque France (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1995). 276 pp. ISBN 0-8 122-3322-0. L3695

Gerald A. Bond's latest book is another addition to the Middle Ages series produced by the University of Pennsylvania Press. Bond sees this book as contributing to the history of Western subjectivity, purporting to present us with a new view of the private secular self in French elite culture around the turn of the twelfth century. He believes he has uncovered (or `disclosed) a cultural movement in which the figures of the lady and the lover in the context of the secular courts, and the figures of clerk and poet-prophet in the context of the schools, come increasingly to the fore. He bases this theory on an examination of one scene on the Bayeux Tapestry, together with certain of the Latin poems of Baudri of Bourgueil (this chapter is a reworking of two of Bond's previously published articles) and Marbod of Rennes, the Occitan lyrics of William of Poitiers, and the figure of Adela of Blois, who did not herself compose literary texts but was the subject of a number of panegyrics. Apart from the five chapters focusing on these different aspects of eleventh-century society and culture, the book also contains a forty-page appendix of text and translations. These, supported by learned footnotes giving evidence of the author's wide reading in medieval literature and modern criticism, lead Bond to the conclusion that at this period there developed a use of the 'persona' in the presentation of the individual which rendered the subject more complex and unstable than before. …

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