, Volume 89, Issue 3, pp 329–341 | Cite as

Hard Lessons in Rutebeuf’s Lives of Mary of Egypt and Elizabeth of hungary

  • Maureen Gillespie Dawson


While Rutebeuf’s Lives of Mary of Egypt (1262) and Elizabeth of Hungary (1264-5) depict diverging paradigms of religious conversion, his frequent use of the words endureir, dureir, and dur, underscores the commonality of the saints’ metamorphoses. Both Mary and Elizabeth become exemplary penitents; both embrace radical models of lay religiosity. The saints’ conversions are practically inimitable and paradoxically undesirable for medieval audiences. Rutebeuf transforms his saintly subjects into objects: hard lessons and relics. His hagiographic poems negotiate between the desire for spiritual renewal and the conservative tendencies of the medieval church. The poems themselves seem calcified; their exempla of extraordinary holiness ultimately advocate a softer conversion for audiences.


Radical Model Comparative Literature Historical Linguistic Religious Conversion Conservative Tendency 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of French and ItalianUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA

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