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The Medieval Poet as Voyeur

The Medieval Poet as Voyeur

$103.00 (C)

  • Date Published: February 1993
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521410946

$ 103.00 (C)
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About the Authors
  • While love is private, and in medieval literature especially is seen as demanding secrecy, to tell stories about it is to make it public. Looking, often accompanied by listening, is the means by which love is brought into the public realm and by which legal evidence of adulterous love can be obtained. Medieval romances contain many scenes in which secret watchers and listeners play leading roles, and in which the problematic relation of sight to truth is a central theme. The effect of such scenes is to place the poem's audience as secret watchers and listeners; and in later medieval narratives, as the role of the storyteller comes to be realized, the poet too sees himself in the undignified role of a voyeur. A. C. Spearing's book explores these and related themes, first in relation to medieval and modern theories and instances of looking, and then through a series of readings of romances and first-person narratives, including works by Beroul, Gottfried von Strassburg, Chrétien de Troyes, Marie de France, Chaucer, Lydgate, Douglas, Dunbar, and Skelton. Its focus on looking also leads to the recovery of some less well-known works such as Partonope of Blois and The Squire of Low Degree. The general approach is psychoanalytic, but the reading of specific medieval texts always has primacy, and this in turn makes possible a running critique of current conceptions of the gaze in relation to power and gender.

    • New book by one of the leading scholars of medieval literature (many times published by Cambridge)
    • Provides new readings of medieval narratives in the light of modern psychoanalytic theory, with references to the work of Freud, Lacon and others
    • Shows how love (a private act) is transformed when brought, through the offices of a voyeuristic third-party (the reader/viewer), into the public sphere (where it may be used, for example, as legal evidence)
    • Engages with works by the best-known medieval authors as well as introducing lesser-known works
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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 1993
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521410946
    • length: 332 pages
    • dimensions: 239 x 160 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.66kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Preface
    1. Theories of killing
    2. Examples of looking
    3. The Tristan story
    4. Chrétian de Troyes
    5. The Lanval story
    6. Troilus and Criseyde and 'The Manciple's Tale'
    7. Partonope of Blois
    8. 'The Knight's Tale' and 'The Merchant's Tale'
    9. The Squyr of Lowe Degre
    10. The Romaunt of the Rose
    11. The Parliament of Fowls and A Complaynt of a Loveres Lyfe
    12. The Palice of Honour and The Golden Targe
    13. The Tretis of the Twa Mariit Wemen and the Wedo
    14. Phyllyp Sparowe
    Notes
    Bibliography
    Index.

  • Author

    A. C. Spearing

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