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Literary Criticism Medieval

Medieval Woman's Song

Cross-Cultural Approaches

edited by Anne L. Klinck & Ann Marie Rasmussen

series edited by Ruth Mazo Karras

University of Pennsylvania Press, Inc.
Initial publish date
Oct 2001
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2001
    List Price
    $65.00 USD

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The number of surviving medieval secular poems attributed to named female authors is small, some of the best known being those of the trobairitz the female troubadours of southern France. However, there is a large body of poetry that constructs a particular textual femininity through the use of the female voice. Some of these poems are by men and a few by women (including the trobairitz); many are anonymous, and often the gender of the poet is unresolvable. A "woman's song" in this sense can be defined as a female-voice poem on the subject of love, typically characterized by simple language, sexual candor, and apparent artlessness.
The chapters in Medieval Woman's Song bring together scholars in a range of disciplines to examine how both men and women contributed to this art form. Without eschewing consideration of authorship, the collection deliberately overturns the long-standing scholarly practice of treating as separate and distinct entities female-voice lyrics composed by men and those composed by women. What is at stake here is less the voice of women themselves than its cultural and generic construction.

About the authors

Anne L. Klinck has recently retired from the University of New Brunswick, where she taught medieval literature and English language. Her previous books include The Old English Elegies: A Critical Edition and Genre Study and An Anthology of Ancient and Medieval Woman's Song.

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