Too Many Women: Reading Freud, Derrida, and Lancelot

  • Miranda Griffin
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Reading can be seen as a practice that invites and stages processes of visualization by the readers and characters of a text. This chapter will explore these processes as they are invited and staged by the Vulgate Cycle, especially by its longest component text, the Lancelot.1 I shall argue that the scrutiny enacted by such processes in this text does not necessarily lead to clarity of focus, but rather, that an insistence on visibility can result in con¬fusion, specifically, between various female characters: a confusion that is recurrently couched in visual terms. In the Vulgate Cycle, as I shall demon¬strate, women often function as blind spots, troubling a gaze that desires dis¬tinction and definition, but which ends up finding and producing fusion and confusion.


Blind Spot Female Character Thirteenth Century Beautiful Woman Rough Draft 
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  1. 2.
    Jacques Derrida, Résistances de la psychanalyse (Paris: Gallilée, 1996). Translations of this work are taken from Resistances of Psychoanalysis, trans. Peggy Kamuf, Pascale-Anne Brault, and Michael Naas (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1998).Google Scholar
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    Sigmund Freud, Die Traumdeutung, Studienausgabe, Band 2 (Frankfurt: Fischer, 1982), p. 130n.Google Scholar
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    Sigmund Freud, The Interpretation of Dreams, The Penguin Freud Library, ed. Angela Richards and Albert Dickson, 15 vols. (London: Penguin, 1976), 4:186n.Google Scholar
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    Ferdinand Lot, Étude sur le “Lancelot en prose” (Paris: Champion, 1918), p. 108.Google Scholar
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    See Grace Armstrong Savage, “Father and Son in the Queste del Saint Graal,” Romance Philology 31 (1977): 1–16.Google Scholar
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© Emma Campbell and Robert Mills 2004

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  • Miranda Griffin

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