Marie de France’s Bisclavret: What the Werewolf Will and Will Not Wear
one of the themes explored in 12th century courtly narrative … the individual’s recognition of a need for self-fulfillment and his or her struggle for the freedom to satisfy that need. The tension between the personal quest … and one’s social obligations was a recurring theme of courtly literature …
KeywordsWild Beast Human Form Proper Noun Love Story Possessive Noun
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- 1.Mane de France wrote somewhere in England and/or the north of France, presumably for the English court of Henry II (r. 1154–1189). We believe her to be a woman primarily on the basis of the feminine name she uses to introduce her work: “Oëz, seignurs, ke dit Marie [Listen, my lords, to what Marie says]” (author’s translation) (Guigemar line 3). [Marie de France, The Lais of Marie de France (Durham: The Labyrinth Press, 1982)]. Sometime between 1160 and 1178 she composed 12 “lais,” or short, perhaps originally sung “ditties” that each narrate a romantic tale. The Old French Lais, which, with her translation of King Alfred’s English version of Aesop’s Fables, comprise her major claim to fame, draw on Celtic legends of heroism. Because of their extreme brevity, averaging 478 lines, the Lais invite close scrutiny of detail.Google Scholar
- 2.Elizabeth Wayland Barber, Women’s Work The First 20,000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times (New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 1994).Google Scholar
- 8.“‘The power elicited by the rite of homage is born out of the extremely intimate nature of the physical contact of the unequal participants…The sense of touch, around which homage is centered, is the most sensitive form of personal communication” (Gloria Thomas Gilmore, “Conflicting Codes of Conduct: Marie de France’s Equitan,” Utah Foreign Language Review 2 (1990): 102.Google Scholar