Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 3881
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Bialystok , Sandra.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Men Who Are Friends, and the Women Who Deceive Them: Cross-Gender Communication in the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles
  • 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): Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, Story Collection Cuckolds in Literature Literature- Prose Male Friendship in Literature Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 15
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  • Abstract: Little work has been done on the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, a collection of one hundred stories written in approximately 1462 in Philippe le Bon’s court. In the first half of the twentieth century, scholars worked on the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles, but only to the extent of writing histories of the Nouvelle genre. This paper attempts to bring this collection of bawdy stories to the forefront of late medieval French studies by re-examining the nouvelles from the perspective of linguistic and gender theory. Using Eve Kosofky Sedgwick’s theory of homosocial desire and Raymond Gibb’s notion of double pragmatic implicature, this paper concentrates on how men and women attempt to resolve ‘erotic triangles’ through linguistic communication. Although adultery is common to the Nouvelles, this analysis focuses on instances where a woman’s spouse or primary lover discovers that he has been cuckolded. Invariably, the post facto exchange between the cuckold and the lover ends in an understanding between men. While these peaceable resolutions encourage male friendship, at the same time they alienate women from the newly formed male bonds. Women are excluded from these friendships through language: men communicate using double implicature so as to convey one truth to the public and another implicit message to his male peer concerning the affair. However, women usually have the faculty to understand implicature, and through their own use of implicature, they attempt to undermine the newly formed male friendships. As such, cross-gender communication works on many levels, and while some cannot comprehend it, others strive to master it. [Reproduced by permissions of the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference Organizers].
  • Author's Affiliation: Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
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