Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Amour Au Miroir: Les Fables Du Fantasme Ou la Voie Lyrique Du Roman Medieval

Academic journal article Medium Aevum

Amour Au Miroir: Les Fables Du Fantasme Ou la Voie Lyrique Du Roman Medieval

Article excerpt

Milena Mikhailova-Makarius, Amour au miroir: Les Fables du fantasme ou la voie lyrique du roman medieval, Publications Romanes et Françaises 266 (Geneva: Droz, 2016). 280 pp. ISBN 978-2-600-01898-2. €45.50.

This very interesting book examines what might at first seem like well-trodden ground. Milena Mikhailova-Makarius traces the figure of the 'phantasm' in courtly love poetry, with particular attention to the mythological exempla of Narcissus, Pygmalion, and Pyramus and Thisbe. Beginning with detailed studies of the twelfth-century Lai de Narcisse and Pyrame et Thisbé, she proceeds to offer close readings of a series of loosely related texts: the Roman de la Rose (principally that of Guillaume de Lorris, but with some consideration of Jean de Meun as well), Jean Renart's Lai de l'Ombre, Robert de Blois's Floris et Lyriopé, and Guillaume de Machaut's Voir dit, with additional attention to Galeran de Bretagne and the dits of Jean Froissart. The final chapter traces the use of similar motifs and constructions in the modern German novel Gradiva, as a way of demonstrating the enduring qualities of these dimensions of medieval love psychology and literary subjectivity. Along the way she considers the ways in which the inaccessible - or non-existent? - object of desire is figured through the systematic use of doubling, reflections, projection onto substitute objects of stone or water, artistic representation, and sheer fantasy. As she shows, each author in turn constructs novel or unexpected configurations of these motifs. In this way, each anew seeks ways of allowing the lover to bridge the gap between fantasy and reality, and establish contact with an actual, living 'other' who nonetheless corresponds to the original imaginary object; or alternatively, brings out the fatal obstacles in such a process, which may become identified with homoeroticism, incest, idolatry, and self-delusion.

At their basis, these ideas are familiar ones to scholars of courtly literature. …

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