Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index


  • Record Number: 8635
  • Author(s)/Creator(s): Amer , Sahar.
  • Contributor(s):
  • Title: Marie de France Rewrites Genesis: The Image of Woman in Marie de France's Fables
  • Source: Neophilologus 81, 4 (October 1997): Pages 489 - 499.
  • Description:
  • Article Type: Journal Article
  • Subject (See Also): Fall of Humankind Literature- Verse Marie de France, Poet- Fables Speech Women Authors Women in Literature
  • Geographic Area: British Isles;France
  • Century: 12
  • Related Resources:
  • Primary Evidence:
  • Illustrations:
  • Table:
  • Abstract: This paper examines the representation of woman in Marie de France's Esope. In fable 53, Marie subverts the traditional negative symbolism of woman in medieval literature by questioning the very basis of this representation, that is by re-writing the episode of the Temptation. This fable highlights, through the absence of woman in a scene strongly reminiscent of Original Sin, the arbitrariness of (male) moralists's condemnations. An examination of several other fables of the Esope further indicates that Marie describes woman in multiple, often contradictory ways, thereby defying her consistently negative and fixed depiction in much of the didactic literature of the time. Marie demonstrates that the univocal symbolism associated with woman is in fact the result of a power struggle, in which men silence women for fear of their voice, and of the polyvocality that would ensue if women were allowed to speak. By blaming woman for the Fall, male preachers thus perform a linguistic castration which upholds their own (male) voice as unique, authoritative and unchallenged. As she liberates woman from the role imputed to her in Original Sin, Marie de France also liberates her own work from potential rejection and thus marks the emergence and affirmation of the female voice. [Reproduced from the journal page on the Springer Link website: https://link.springer.com/.]

  • Author's Affiliation: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Conference Info: - , -
  • Year of Publication: 1997.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN/ISBN: 00282677
  • Material/Technique :
  • Rights: