In this volume, Georges Duby examines the lives of prominent twelfth-century French women as well as popular female literary figures of that time. Focusing on medieval notions of women and love, Duby looks for the ideological motivations for the representation of the female sex. He analyzes the ways in which women's biographies were written and how female characters were treated in fable and legend, pointing to the social and political forces at work in these representations.
The historical personages include Eleanor of Aquitaine whose several marriages brought her wealth and autonomy; the virtuous Héloïse; and the visionary recluse Juette. Duby also studies the literary figures of St. Marie-Madeleine, a composite figure who personified the essential female traits of frailty, ardent love, and evangelicalism; Iseut, literary beloved of Tristan; and two other emblematic figures, Dorée d'Amour and Phénix—women who became ladies through chivalrous love.
Provocative, informative, and entertaining, this book offers new insight on courtly love and the representations of women under medieval patriarchy.
Reflects on women as they were portrayed in 12th-century French writing. In addition to Eleanor, considers Mary Magdalene, H<'e>lo<:i>se, Iseult, Juette, and Soredamors and Fenice. The late Duby was a member of the French Academy and wrote extensively on the Middle Ages. cle, H<'e>lo<:i>se, Ali<'e>nor, Iseut, et quelques autres/>, from which the current volume was translated, was published in 1995 by <'E>ditions Gallimard. No index or bibliography. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.