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Women of the Twelfth Century, Volume 1

Eleanor of Aquitaine and Six Others

Translated by Jean Birrell
In this volume, Georges Duby examines the lives of prominent twelfth-century French women as well as popular female literary figures of that time. Focusing on medieval notions of women and love, Duby looks for the ideological motivations for the representation of the female sex. He analyzes the ways in which women’s biographies were written and how female characters were treated in fable and legend, pointing to the social and political forces at work in these representations.

The historical personages include Eleanor of Aquitaine whose several marriages brought her wealth and autonomy; the virtuous Héloïse; and the visionary recluse Juette. Duby also studies the literary figures of St. Marie-Madeleine, a composite figure who personified the essential female traits of frailty, ardent love, and evangelicalism; Iseut, literary beloved of Tristan; and two other emblematic figures, Dorée d’Amour and Phénix—women who became ladies through chivalrous love.

Provocative, informative, and entertaining, this book offers new insight on courtly love and the representations of women under medieval patriarchy.

110 pages | 50 halftones | 5-3/4 x 7-5/8 | © 1997

History: European History

Medieval Studies

Women's Studies

Table of Contents

1. Eleanor
2. Mary Magdalen
3. Héloïse
4. Iseult
5. Juette
6. Soredamors and Fenice

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