Representing Medieval Genders and Sexualities in Europe: Construction, Transformation, and Subversion, 600–1530

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on how the representation of woman's identity became a principal site of hermeneutic interest for certain writers in the late medieval quenelle des femmes, the trend for literary defences of women which began, in large part, with the writings of Christine de Pizan and continued into the sixteenth century. Thomas Laqueur contended that a one-sex model dominated in the pre-modern era, positing identity in kind but difference in degree between male and female. Christine appears to be trying to disrupt this matrix of coherent binaries, engaging with its terminology in order to effect from within a critique of this culturally pre-determined binary thinking and its manifestation in language. The language of physical movement demonstrates that the marital ideal promoted by Franc Vouloir is not chaste chivalric love, the supposed clerical ideal, but consummated conjugal desire.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRepresenting Medieval Genders and Sexualities in Europe
Subtitle of host publicationConstruction, Transformation, and Subversion, 600–1530
EditorsElizabeth L'Estrange, Alison More
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISBN (Electronic)9781315605470
ISBN (Print)9781409409878
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 7 Dec 2011

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