Desire by Gender and Genre in Trouvère Song

Desire by Gender and Genre in Trouvère Song

Helen Dell





Unspoken desire in trouvère song.
This study brings the songs of the trouvères to an encounter with Lacanian psychoanalytic theories of signification, sexual difference and unconscious desire. In trouvère song desire functions as a means of generic and "genderic" differentiation. The trouvères distinguished between sexual need or lust and desire, the latter usually confined to the masculine voice in high style. Less exalted persons, in whose company women were already implicitly included, appear as incapable of desire in the fin'amors register. Critics have treated the issue of desire as represented in the courtly chanson but, because criticism has followed the trouvères' distinction between desire and need, discussion of desire has been limited to songs in the courtly register rather than across the system of genres.
Desire in Lacan's sense, that is unconscious desire, is present in all genres and voices and this book unearths the unspoken desires of trouvère song by an attention to the characteristic means by which subjects subvert their demands in different genres.

HELEN DELL is a research fellow in English Literary Studies in the School of Culture and Communication, University of Melbourne.

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July 2008
254 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
ISBN: 9781843841647
Format: Hardback
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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Kaleidoscope of différance
The Song System I: An Unstable Hierachy: the Unmarked Masculine
The Song System II: The Ignoble Words of Eve: Femininity in the System
Desire by Gender and Genre I: Low Lusts and High Desires, pastourelle and chanson
Desire by Gender and Genre II: Ignoble Desires of the Triumphalist chanson d' ami
Chronotypes of Desire I: Case-study of a malmariée: Feminine Space/ Times
Chronotypes of Desire II: The Contained and Containing Heart: Masculine Space/Times
Desiring Differently: The chanson in the Feminine Voice
Afterthoughts: `"[T]hat's not it" and "that's still not it"'


Remarkable not only for its comprehensiveness, treating songs of the high style and the low, men's songs and women's, but also for the fresh insights that it affords. SPECULUM
Will prove of value particularly to scholars of medieval lyric, for whom it promises to be an inspiration for ongoing debate. FRENCH REVIEW
A welcome and thought-provoking addition to the work that has been written on the feminine trouvères. FRENCH STUDIES
[A] carefully constructed book and a welcome publication. PARERGON
Dell's study provides a meticulous look at a very specific element of the Trouvère songs, heavily weighed with complex Lacanian psychoanalytic theory, which frames the work. OENACH 1.1

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