Marie de France: A Critical Companion

Marie de France: A Critical Companion

Sharon Kinoshita, Peggy McCracken

Personal eBook




This new companion to the works of Marie de France offers fresh insights into the standard critical debates.
Marie de France is the author of some of the most influential and important works to survive from the middle ages; arguably best-known for her Lais, she also translated Aesop's Fables (the Ysopë), and wrote the Espurgatoire seint Patriz (St Patrick's Purgatory), based on a Latin text. The aim of this Companion is both to provide information on what can be gleaned of her life, and on her poetry, and to rethink standard questions of interpretation, through topics with special relevance to medieval literature and culture. The variety of perspectives used highlights both the unity of Marie's oeuvre and the distinctiveness of the individual texts.
After situating her writings in their Anglo-Norman political, linguistic, and literary context, this volume considers her treatment of questions of literary composition in relation to the circulation, transmission, and interpretation of her works. Her social and historical engagements are illuminated by the prominence of feudal vocabulary, while her representation of movement across different geographical and imaginary spaces opens a window on plot construction. Repetition and variation are considered as a narrative technique within Marie's work, and as a cultural practice linking her texts to a network of twelfth-century textual traditions. The Conclusion, on the posterity of her oeuvre, combines a consideration of manuscript context with the ways in which later authors rewrote Marie's works.

Sharon Kinoshita is Professor of Literature, University of California, Santa Cruz; Peggy McCracken is Professor of French, Women's Studies, and Comparative Literature, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.


240 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9781843843016, April 2012
Paperback, 9781843843733, April 2014
Personal eBook, 9781782043607, April 2012
Library eBook
BISAC LIT004150, LIT011000, LIT004290
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Table of Contents

Introduction: The World of Marie de France
Communication, Transmission, and Interpretation: Literary History
Courtly Love and Feudal Society: Historical Context
Movement and Mobility: Plot
Bodies and Embodiment: Characters
Repetition and the Art of Variation: Narrative Techniques
Posterity: The Afterlives of Marie's Works
Further Reading


(This) volume is well written and informative throughout and succeeds in its stated aim (...) of catering for the needs of the student, the scholar, and the general reader. FRENCH STUDIES

Kinoshita and McCracken challenge readers to rethink their understanding of Marie de France and her works based on cultural, social, and political concerns of the period in which she lived and it is for this reason that their book should be read not only by students, but also by specialists in the field. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW

Highly Recommended. CHOICE

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