Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3826
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Gaunt , Simon.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: The look of love: the gender of the gaze in troubadour lyric
  • Source: Seeing Gender: Perspectives on Medieval Gender and Sexuality. Gender and Medieval Studies Conference, King's College, London, January 4-6, 2002.. 2002.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Conference Paper Abstract
  • Subject (See Also): Gaze Gender in Literature Literature- Verse Love in Literature Troubadours
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 12
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  • Abstract: This paper seeks to address one of the questions on the conference’s agenda: is the gaze in medieval images and texts gendered? In an earlier paper (in JMEMS), I examined in passing the gaze in Bernart de Ventadorn’s lyrics. I argued that although previous critics had focused on the lover’s fantasy of looking at his lady, they had not given sufficient attention to how this was extended into a fantasy of being looked at. The masculine subject of the gaze is thus transformed into the object of the feminine Other’s gaze, which is then constitutive of his subjectivity. In this paper, I wish to extend this Lacanian reading of the gaze in troubadour lyric by considering: (a) the use and gendering of senhals (code names) such as ‘Bel Vezer’ (Fair Vision) and ‘Bel Esgart’ (Fair Glance); (b) the motif of falling in love with a lady one has not seen or of being able to ‘see’ an absent lady; (c) the common association of the gaze with subjection and (dis)empowerment. What happens when the gaze itself becomes the object of desire and how does this effect the sex-gender system of troubadour poetry? [Reproduced by permission of the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference Organizers].
  • Author's Affiliation: King's College, London
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
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