Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index

  • Record Number: 41968
  • Author(s)/Creator(s):
  • Contributor(s): Mounawar Abbouchi, ed. and trans.
  • Title: Yde and Olive
  • Source: Medieval Feminist Forum: A Journal of Gender and Sexuality 53, 4 ( 2018): Pages 1 - 131. Available open access from Medieval Institute Publications on Western Michigan University's ScholarWorks websitehttps://scholarworks.wmich.edu/mff/vol53/iss4/1/
  • Description: I finally thought myself safe in Rome,
    But now I find myself again betrayed,
    For the king’s daughter has fallen in love with me;
    I do not know how I can escape this.
    If I tell them that I am really a woman,
    They will tear me to pieces. (ll.895-900)

    Yde and Olive is the third sequel to the famous 13th-century chanson de geste, or French epic, Huon de Bordeaux. It tells the story of Huon's granddaughter, Yde, who is driven out of her home of Aragon by her lecherous father and disguises herself as a man. She eventually becomes a knight and finds herself betrothed to the daughter of the Roman Emperor, Olive. Yde's story is part of a long-standing tradition of cross-dressing female knights though, exceptionally, it ends in a gender transformation. Yde and Olive's relationship also stands as a rare example of same-sex marriage in medieval literature. Through the text, Yde, along with the reader, is forced to grapple with ideas of gender, identity, and belonging.

    The text is contained in a 13th-14th century manuscript that also features other major episodes in the cycle of sequels to Huon de Bordeaux. This publication presents a side-by-side edition and translation of the Old French text meant to make it accessible to students and medieval enthusiasts alike.— [Description provided by the author]

  • Article Type: Edition of Text; Translation
  • Subject (See Also): Androgyny Chanson d'Yde et Olive, Romance Chansons de Geste, Literary Genre Gender Homosexuality in Literature Lesbians Love in Literature Sexuality
  • Award Note: Feminae Translation of the Month, February 2020
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 13
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  • Year of Publication: 2018.
  • Language: English; Old French
  • ISSN/ISBN: 15368742 (print); 21516073 (online)