Arthurian Romance and Gender: Selected Proceedings of the XVIIth International Arthurian Congress

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Friedrich Wolfzettel
Rodopi, 1995 - 295 pages
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These selected proceedings of the XVIIth International Arthurian Congress (21 to 30 July, 1993 at Bonn) are a major contribution to problems connected with the semiotics of sex, gender and gender roles in Arthurian romance and more generally in medieval narrative. With regard to this particular topic, the proceedings provide a first comprehensive discussion, covering virtually the whole range of medieval Arthurian romance from the Chronicles and the 'classical' period onto verse and prose romances in the XIIIth, XIVth, and XVth centuries, including Malory, and examining the most important works of the mainstreams of French, German, and English literatures. The variety of methods - philological, historical and sociological criticism, anthropological, psychoanalytical, semiotic and linguistic approaches - brought to bear on the texts indicate the growing importance of femininity in the narrative framework as well as a growing awareness of femininity as opposed to the chivalric, masculine set of values. In this perspective, Arthurian romance may be said to be due and revolve around the problem of the sexes or more precisely,gender studies help to define genre studies. Moreover, in pointing out - successful or thwarted - tendencies towards a reassessment of femininity, the studies of this volume may contribute to a better understanding of the civilizing process of the medieval world.

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