Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3832
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Campbell , Emma
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Separating the Saints from the Boys: Sainthood and Masculinity in the Old French "Vie de Saint Alexis" [Based on an essay which obtained the R. H. Gapper Graduate Essay Prize in 2002 from the Society for French Studies (See www.sfs.ac.uk). Title note supplied by Feminae.].
  • Source: French Studies 57, 4 (October 2003): Pages 447 - 462.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Anthropology Gifts- Theory of Hagiography Literature- Verse Masculinity in Literature Vie de Saint Alexis, Old French Poem
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 12
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  • Abstract: This article considers how the analysis of medieval French saints' lives might contribute to current discussions concerning the study of gender and identity in literary texts. Basing her discussion on the Vie de Saint Alexis, Campbell uses anthropological theories of the gift and its relationship to gender to explore how the masculinity of the Saint is construed in relation to networks of gift exchange, arguing that the parallel terrestrial and celestial economies represented in the poem provide alternative contexts within which this identity is to be read. The article considers, firstly, the evolution of the masculine identity associated with the Saint and the relationship that this gender category bears to the secular and spiritual gender systems represented in the poem. This examination of the Saint's masculinity focuses on how conflicts between worldly and spiritual exchange are used to negotiate a new masculine type that ultimately supersedes secular gender categories. Secondly, this construction of masculinity and its importance as a narrative device are explored in terms of the formulation of response to the Saint. To conclude, the article suggests how viewing gender identity in this way — as part of systems of exchange as opposed to a category independent of these networks — might modify the way gender is discussed in connection with medieval (and non-medieval) literature. [Reproduced from the author's website: http://fs.oxfordjournals.org/content/57/4/447.abstract]
  • Author's Affiliation: King's College, London
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2003.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00161128
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