Morehead State University

Poster Title

Archetypal Women: Representations of the Feminine in French Medieval Literature

Institution

Morehead State University

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine some of the different feminine archetypes of the French Middle Ages through three critical lenses; intertextuality, psychology, and feminism. First, a comparison of the Biblical Eve with that of her character in the medieval drama Le Jeu d’Adam (anonymous) will reveal specific rhetorical practices applied to the reading and development of Eve’s character that are used to portray her in an increasingly negative light. Second, the study will focus upon Mary as she is portrayed as Violent Virgin in the 13th century dramatic text Le Miracle de Théophile by Rutebeuf. Her role in the play will be examined in terms of the psychology of parenting, as well as in terms of language, action, and dramatic reproduction of certain visual and architectural portrayals of the Theophilus legend extant in church carvings and windows from the same period in Northern France. Third and finally, the role of the quest in Le Chevalier au Lion by Chrétien de Troyes will be re-examined using feminist criticism to extrapolate a personal feminine quest from the more typically studied masculine quest for redemption.

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Archetypal Women: Representations of the Feminine in French Medieval Literature

The purpose of this study is to examine some of the different feminine archetypes of the French Middle Ages through three critical lenses; intertextuality, psychology, and feminism. First, a comparison of the Biblical Eve with that of her character in the medieval drama Le Jeu d’Adam (anonymous) will reveal specific rhetorical practices applied to the reading and development of Eve’s character that are used to portray her in an increasingly negative light. Second, the study will focus upon Mary as she is portrayed as Violent Virgin in the 13th century dramatic text Le Miracle de Théophile by Rutebeuf. Her role in the play will be examined in terms of the psychology of parenting, as well as in terms of language, action, and dramatic reproduction of certain visual and architectural portrayals of the Theophilus legend extant in church carvings and windows from the same period in Northern France. Third and finally, the role of the quest in Le Chevalier au Lion by Chrétien de Troyes will be re-examined using feminist criticism to extrapolate a personal feminine quest from the more typically studied masculine quest for redemption.