Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 5358
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  • Title: Por coi la pucele pleure: The Feminine Enigma of the Grail Quest
  • Source: Neophilologus 87, 4 (October 2003): Pages 517 - 527.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Arthurian Literature Gender in Literature Holy Grail Literature- Prose Literature- Verse Perceval's Sister (Literary Figure) Queste del Saint Graal, Prose Romance Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 12-13
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  • Abstract: This essay will address the ambiguous inscription of a feminine presence in twelfth and thirteenth-century French texts narrating the Quest of the Holy Grail, focusing in particular on the anonymous prose romance "La Queste del Saint Graal" (ca. 1220). My enquiry will track the evolving position assumed by women across the Grail texts, from Chrétien’s "Perceval" (ca. 1181) through to the prose "Tristan" (ca. 1250), and proceed with an analysis of the figure of Perceval’s sister in the "Queste." In order to investigate the narrative treatment of gender-bias in the "Queste," I will seek to reassess the notion of redemption, which will illuminate the ambiguous position occupied by women in this text. A simultaneous inscription and erasure of feminine presence is operational in the "Queste," hinging on the erroneous predicate that a reduction of woman’s visibility within the narrative frame coincides with a diminishing of her import. I ultimately seek to argue that woman represents the constitutive outside of the Quest, the very exclusion which represents its fundamental condition of possibility. [Reproduced by permission of Kluwer at ]
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  • Year of Publication: 2003.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00282677
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