Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 5361
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  • Title: Por coi la pucele pleure: A Misogynistic Quest of the Holy Grail?
  • 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): Chretien de Troyes, Poet- Perceval ou le Conte du Graal Holy Grail Literature- Prose Literature- Verse Misogyny in Literature Queste del Saint Graal, Prose Romance Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: France
  • Century: 12-13
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  • Abstract: This paper will address the question of whether misogyny is inherent to twelfth and thirteenth-century French texts narrating the Quest of the Holy Grail – focusing on Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval and the anonymous prose romance La Queste del Saint Graal. In the prose Tristan, the Grail Knight Galahad can endure no feminine contact whatsoever – even a chaste encounter with his mother is deemed threatening to his goal. Yet the literary inception of the Quest, in Chrétien’s Perceval, had ascribed a central importance to feminine involvement, giving to women both the role of the Grail-bearer and that of reproving mentor to the Grail Knight. My enquiry will therefore track the evolving position assumed by women across the Grail texts, focusing especially on the thirteenth-century Queste, in which the chastity of the Grail Knight and the apparently innate iniquity of women are played out to the greatest extent. In order to investigate the visibility of a gender-bias in the Queste, I will 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 at work in the Queste, hinging on the erroneous predicate that a reduction of woman’s visibility in the narrative coincides with a diminishing of her import. [Reproduced by permission of the Gender and Medieval Studies Conference Organizers].
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  • Year of Publication: 2002.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: Not Available
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