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Medieval literature contains many figures caught at the interface between life and death – the dead return to place demands on the living, while the living foresee, organize or desire their own deaths. Jane Gilbert's original study examines the ways in which certain medieval literary texts, both English and French, use these ‘living dead' to think about existential, ethical and political issues. In doing so, she shows powerful connections between works otherwise seen as quite disparate, including Chaucer's Book of the Duchess and Legend of Good Women, the Chanson de Roland and the poems of Francois Villon. Written for researchers and advanced students of medieval French and English literature, this book provides original, provocative interpretations of canonical medieval texts in the light of influential modern theories, especially Lacanian psychoanalysis, presented in an accessible and lively way.Read more
- Proposes original interpretations of canonical literary works from Chaucer to Francois Villon
- Explains and contextualizes important modern theories, especially Lacanian psychoanalysis, using them to read medieval works
- Makes explicit, original and stimulating connections between the Middle Ages and modern thinking, and between English and French tradition in this edgy area
Reviews & endorsements
"In this rich and illuminating study of medieval French and English texts, Jane Gilbert sets out to demonstrate the significance and literary uses of figures caught between life and death."
Emma Campbell, Medium Aevum
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- Date Published: March 2011
- format: Hardback
- isbn: 9781107003835
- length: 296 pages
- dimensions: 235 x 160 x 20 mm
- weight: 0.61kg
- availability: In stock
Table of Contents
Introduction: living death
1. Roland and the second death
2. The knight as thing: courtly love in the non-cyclic prose Lancelot
3. The Ubi Sunt? Topos in Middle French: sad stories of the death of kings
4. Ceci n'est pas une marguerite: anamorphosis in Pearl
5. Becoming woman in Chaucer: on ne naît pas femme, on le devient en mourant
Conclusion: living dead or dead-in-life?
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