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
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