Living death in medieval French and English literature - Jane Gilbert 2011
Introduction: living death
1. Epicurus, ’Letter to Menoeceus’, p. 29.
2. Inwood, Hegel Dictionary, ’Death and Immortality’, pp. 71—4, and Heidegger Dictionary, ’Death and Dying’, pp. 45—6.
3. Inwood, Heidegger Dictionary, p. 45.
4. Geary, Living with the Dead, p. 1. The relationships linking the living and the dead are central to Binski, Medieval Death.
5. See also Davis's characterization of the medieval dead as ’a kind of “age group” to put alongside the children, the youth, the married, and the old’ (’Ghosts, Kin, and Progeny’, p. 92). I owe this reference to Prof. Elizabeth Edwards.
6. Geary, Living with the Dead, pp. 119—20.
7. Schmitt, ’Les revenants’, pp. 300—1 (quotation on p. 301).
8. Julian, ’Against the Galilaeans’, p. 415. I am grateful to Prof. Robert Bartlett for this reference.
9. Dei Segni, De miseria condicionis humane, I.22, p. 130, ’Of the Proximity of Death’.
10. New Catholic Encyclopedia, ’Death (in the Bible)’ and ’Death (Theology of)’.
11. Saward, Perfect Fools, pp. 6—7. On the approach to death of those who are sure of salvation, see Leclercq, ’La joie de mourir’.
12. Saward, Perfect Fools, p. 3. Saward notes that Sophocles uses mros to describe the madness of Antigone (Antigone, l. 469): ’The tragedian, like the apostle, also acknowledges the relativity of insanity and madness; he perceives that what looks like folly to one may be true wisdom to another’ (p. 5). In the Phoenician Women, Euripides’ Creon also uses the term mría of Antigone, who there moderates her demands to cleaning Polyneices’ corpse but insists on being allowed to leave Thebes with her exiled father.
13. See the trials recounted by the Artes moriendi which circulate widely with the advent of printing; for instance, Caxton, Here begynneth a lityll treatise.
14. Ariès, Images, p. 147; on earlier notions, see p. 143. For a different view on the earlier period, see McLaughlin, Consorting with Saints, especially chapter 5.
15. Le Goff could write in 1980 that ’la mort est à la mode’ (preface to Chiffoleau, La Comptabilité de l'au-delà, p. v). Of a very large bibliography not referenced elsewhere in these notes, see especially Huizinga, Waning; Ariès, Western Attitudes toward Death and Hour of Our Death; Boase, Death in the Middle Ages; Brown, Cult of the Saints; Vovelle, La Mort et l’Occident; Camille, Master of Death; Alexandre-Bidon, La Mort au Moyen Âge; and Schmitt, Ghosts in the Middle Ages. Also the following collections: La Mort au Moyen Âge; Braet and Verbeke (eds.), Death in the Middle Ages; Jane H. M. Taylor (ed.), Dies illa; and DuBruck and Gusick (eds.), Death and Dying in the Middle Ages. Mention must also be made of the substantial historical literature on medieval death published in German, which I regret I have been unable to consult first-hand.
16. Lefay-Toury, La Tentation du suicide; and (as Toury), Mort et fin'amor; Fradenburg, Sacrifice Your Love; Greene, Le Sujet et la mort; McCracken, Curse of Eve; and Gaunt, Martyrs to Love. Older works include Martineau-Génieys's literary-historical study, Le Thème de la mort; and DuBruck, Theme of Death.
17. Lochrie argues convincingly in Heterosyncrasies that modern concepts of statistical normativity cannot be read back into earlier periods; however, medieval literary texts constantly engage with various kinds of norm, which invite discussion.
18. The shared discursive field (not based on a model of influence and imitation) is emphasized especially in Salter, English and International; and by Butterfield, ’Froissart, Machaut, Chaucer’, ’French Culture and the Ricardian Court’, ’Chaucer's French Inheritance’, ’England and France’, and Familiar Enemy. Calin, French Tradition, though not widely referred to by scholars of Middle English, shows authoritatively how interconnected were French- and English-language literatures throughout the medieval period.
19. Kay, Courtly Contradictions; Huot, Madness.
20. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 291 (compare the translation in Ethics, p. 248).
21. Bloch, Etymologies and Genealogies, pp. 1—29; Kay, Political Fictions, pp. 16—18 (p. 18).
22. Entre-deux is also a French noun in common use, defined as ’espace délimité par deux choses’, ’espace de temps entre deux dates, deux événements’ or ’état intermédiaire entre deux extrêmes’ (Trésor de la langue française, ’entre-deux’: ’space delimited by two things’, ’expanse of time between two dates, two events’ or ’state intermediary between two extremes’).
23. Though Lacan does not always do so, I capitalize the Real to distinguish it from reality as the world of human constructions within which we live our lives.
24. Evans, Introductory Dictionary, p. 82; a clear account of Lacan's three registers, and of their relation to truth, is given in Bowie, Lacan, pp. 88—121.
25. On the development of Purgatory as a specific place, see especially Le Goff, Birth of Purgatory; and Vovelle, Les Âmes du purgatoire. The notion of purgatorial spaces and times within the Christian afterlife was widespread before the official doctrine was declared; see McLaughlin, Consorting with Saints. Le Goff's influential book needs to be read with reference to the controversy it provoked; McLaughlin gives a brief, helpful overview and bibliography, Consorting with Saints, pp. 17—19. On late medieval views, see especially Chiffoleau, La Comptabilité de l'au-delà.
26. See, for example, the discussions of cloistered ’career virgins’ in Wogan-Browne, Saints’ Lives. It is commonplace to note that an unworldly lifestyle was an important component in clerical authority after the very early Christian period.
27. Heidegger: ’When we fill the jug, the pouring that fills it flows into the empty jug. The emptiness, the void, is what does the vessel's holding. The empty space, this nothing of the jug, is what the jug is as the holding vessel…The vessel's thingness does not lie at all in the material of which it consists, but in the void that holds’ (’The Thing’, p. 169). The pot and potter are an ancient image, used notably in the Bible (e.g., Isaiah 45:9; Romans 9:20—1).
28. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 150 (Ethics, p. 125).
29. Ibid., p. 170 (p. 141).
30. Ibid., p. 161 (p. 135).
31. Ibid., p. 163 (compare the translation in Ethics, p. 136).
32. Lacan's discussions of art in Seminar VII dialogue with Heidegger's influential essay, ’The Origin of the Work of Art’; and his combination of ethics and aesthetics throughout the seminar is closely linked to Heidegger. See especially Lacoue-Labarthe, ’On Ethics’.
33. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 290 (compare the translation in Ethics, p. 248).
34. Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents, p. 134.
35. Crowell, ’Existentialism’.
36. Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics, II.3, p. 32: ’moral excellence is concerned with pleasures and pains; it is on account of the pleasure that we do bad things, and on account of the pain that we abstain from noble ones. Hence we ought to have been brought up in a particular way from our very youth, as Plato says, so as both to delight in and to be pained by the things that we ought; this is the right education.’
37. Thus Lacan interprets Civilization and Its Discontents in the light of speculations which Freud advances and immediately withdraws in Beyond the Pleasure Principle, p. 38: ’If we are to take it as a truth that knows no exception that everything living dies for internal reasons — becomes inorganic once again — then we shall be compelled to say that “the aim of all life is death” and, looking backwards, that “inanimate things existed before living ones”’ (emphases original). ’Seen in this light, the theoretical importance of the instincts of self-preservation, of self-assertion and of mastery greatly diminishes. They are component instincts whose function it is to assure that the organism shall follow its own path to death, and to ward off any possible ways of returning to inorganic existence other than those which are immanent in the organism itself…the organism wishes to die only in its own fashion. Thus these guardians of life, too, were originally the myrmidons of death. Hence arises the paradoxical situation that the living organism struggles most energetically against events (dangers, in fact) which might help it to attain its life's aim rapidly — by a kind of short-circuit. Such behaviour is, however, precisely what characterizes purely instinctual as contrasted with intelligent efforts’ (p. 39). According to Strachey, in editions before 1925 a footnote appeared affirming that ’A correction of this extreme view of the self-preservative instincts follows’ (ibid.). Freud then theorizes about the relations between the sexual instincts and self-preservation before closing with a ’critical reflection’ in which he both distances himself from and reasserts his prior conclusions (pp. 59—61).
38. ’Tant qu'il s'agit du bien, il n'y a pas de problème — le nôtre et celui de l'autre sont de la même étoffe. Saint Martin partage son manteau, et on en a fait une grande affaire, mais enfin, c'est une simple question d'approvisionnement, l’étoffe est faite de sa nature pour être écoulée, elle appartient à l'autre autant qu’à moi. Sans doute touchons-nous là un terme primitif, le besoin qu'il y a à satisfaire, car le mendiant est nu. Mais peut-être, au-delà du besoin de se vêtir, mendiait-il autre chose, que saint Martin le tue ou le baise’ (Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 219). Note the play on ethical, material and economic senses of le bien. (’As long as it's a question of the good, there's no problem; our own and our neighbor's are of the same material. Saint Martin shares his cloak, and a great deal is made of it. Yet it is after all a simple question of training; material is by its very nature made to be disposed of — it belongs to the other as much as it belongs to me. We are no doubt touching a primitive requirement in the need to be satisfied there, for the beggar is naked. But perhaps over and above that need to be clothed, he was begging for something else, namely, that Saint Martin either kill him or fuck him’, Ethics, p. 186.)
39. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 359 (Ethics, p. 311).
40. Ibid., p. 370 (p. 321).
41. Ibid., p. 305 (p. 263).
42. Ibid., p. 362 (compare the translation in Ethics, p. 314).
43. Ibid., p. 328 (p. 282).
44. Ibid., pp. 369—70 (pp. 320—1).
45. Eagleton, Trouble with Strangers, p. 147.
46. Quoted by Fraisse, Le Mythe d’Antigone, p. 153; ellipses are Fraisse's. The lines derive from ’Toujours de la grippe’, an imaginary dialogue with a doctor on the place of death in Christianity. Péguy compares the living death of damnation to Antigone's entombment.
47. Leonard, Athens in Paris.
48. For Žižek, Lacan permits a distinction between ’historicism’ and ’historicity’. The former is ideological and ’always “false”, a narrative of the victor who legitimizes his victory by presenting the previous development as the linear continuum leading to his own final triumph’. The latter, attending to repetition, reveals this supposed linear development to be in fact ’a series of ultimately failed attempts to deal with the same “unhistorical” traumatic kernel’ — in Marxism, class antagonism, which for Žižek lies in the Real (Enjoy Your Symptom, pp. 80—1).
49. This is the message of the final section of Lacan, L’Éthique, ’La dimension tragique de l'expérience psychanalytique’ (Ethics, ’The Tragic Dimension of Analytic Experience’). On ’beyond the second death’ as the central stance of the modern subject, see Žižek, ’Eclipse of Meaning’, pp. 226—8.
50. Butler, Antigone's Claim, p. 30.
51. My discussion is indebted throughout to three major works on philosophical and political thought about Antigone: Steiner, Antigones; Fraisse, Le Mythe d’Antigone; Leonard, Athens in Paris. There is a substantial bibliography on Antigone. For those interested in her role in psychoanalysis, the following stand out: Guyomard, La Jouissance du tragique; Sjöholm, Antigone Complex; and Zajko and Leonard (eds.), Laughing with Medusa. Also valuable are the five essays in the section, ’De L’Éthique: à propos d’Antigone’, in Avtonomova et al., Lacan avec les philosophes, pp. 19—66; these include Lacoue-Labarthe's ’On Ethics’.
52. Leonard, Athens in Paris, pp. 96—156.
53. Fraisse, Le Mythe d’Antigone, p. 93, my translation. Emphasis original.
54. Sophocles, Antigone, ll. 905—12. A brief account of the controversy over these lines is given by Leonard, Athens in Paris, pp. 117—18.
55. A contentious interpretation, given that she invokes a ’law’ in the lines preceding and following the above quotation; see further below.
56. Hegel, Phenomenology of Spirit, 594, p. 362. Compare Lacan's ascription to Antigone of ’le désir pur, le pur et simple désir de mort comme tel’ (L’Éthique, p. 329; ’pure desire, the pure and simple desire of death as such’, Ethics, p. 282).
57. Sophocles, Antigone, ll. 891—928.
58. In Glas, Derrida relates Antigone's fascination and éclat to her essential unrepresentability.
59. Žižek, Looking Awry, p. 172, n. 1 (emphasis original).
60. References to Antigone are scattered throughout Žižek's substantial oeuvre; some will be given below. However, I am here attempting to summarize a doctrine which explicitly resists systematization.
61. A very short introduction to the inheritances and revisions of Revolutionary history is Doyle, French Revolution, pp. 81—108.
62. Fraisse, Le Mythe d’Antigone, pp. 94—5. She quotes Georges Renard, Le Droit, l'ordre et la raison.
63. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 293 (Ethics, p. 250). On the reception of Anouilh's Antigone, see Fleming, ’Fascism on Stage’, in the interesting Zajko and Leonard (eds.), Laughing with Medusa.
64. Žižek, ’Introduction’, Virtue and Terror, p. xi.
65. Ibid., pp. xiv—xv.
66. Steiner, Antigones, pp. 297, 231—2.
67. Ibid., p. 231.
68. Butler, Antigone's Claim, p. 43.
69. Irigaray, ’The Eternal Irony of the Community’, in Speculum, pp. 214—26.
70. Irigaray, ’She before the King’, in To Be Two, pp. 77—84 (p. 77).
71. On the Enlightenment ethics of the imaginary represented by such as Hume and Adam Smith, see Eagleton, Trouble with Strangers, Part I.
72. Butler, Antigone's Claim, pp. 1—4. Butler's dissociation of Antigone from the maternal (e.g., pp. 22, 71—2) works less against Irigaray's position than in support of the latter's objection to the traditional blaming of all the play's troubles on the mother's desire.
73. Ibid., p. 66.
74. Ibid., p. 68. On pp. 67—9, Butler criticizes the brief discussion of Antigone on p. 46 of Žižek's Enjoy Your Symptom. Žižek's critique of Butler's Foucauldian model of change invokes Antigone (Ticklish Subject, pp. 263—4).
75. Butler, Antigone's Claim, p. 58.
76. Ibid., p. 72.
77. Compare Derrida's exploration of Antigone's absolute resistance to representation, in Glas.
78. Fraisse associates the Antigone of this tradition, which dominates until the German Hellenist movement, with respect for hierarchy and gentle feminine virtues (Le Mythe d’Antigone, p. 50). This figure's excessively zealous conception of her familial duties at times causes her to confront earthly authorities.
79. Lacan, Le Séminaire, livre XI, p. 49 (Four Fundamental Concepts, p. 49).
1. Roland and the second death
1. Among Christian readers, see Calin, Epic Quest; and Brault, most influentially in his edition, Song of Roland. Important warrior readings include Jones, Ethos; and Cook, Sense. Recent discussions of moral and strategic criticism, which also discuss whether or not the poem can be considered a tragedy, include van Emden, La Chanson de Roland; and Ailes, Absolutes and Relative Values.
2. Kay, ’Life of the Dead Body’, p. 94.
3. This view of the genre is criticized by Kay, ’Introduction’, in Political Fictions. Other significant critiques of chanson de geste ideology include Auerbach, Mimesis, chapter 5; Bloch, Etymologies and Genealogies; Haidu, Subject Medieval/Modern, and Subject of Violence; Keller, Autour de Roland; Kellogg, Medieval Artistry, chapter 1; and Alter, ’L’esprit antibourgeois’.
4. Information about texts and manuscripts is drawn from the indispensable La Chanson de Roland: The French Corpus, gen. ed. Duggan. Further references will be given in the form: Duggan vol. no., part and page number. I quote Duggan for all versions except Oxford, where I follow the classic La Chanson de Roland, ed. Segre, rev. edn, trans. Tyssens.
5. Duggan's edition localizes and dates the manuscripts as follows: Oxford (O), 1125—50, Anglo-Norman; Venice 4 (V4), early fourteenth century, Franco-Venetian; Venice 7 (V7) and Châteauroux (C) (a closely related pair), end of the thirteenth century, Franco-Venetian; Paris (P), 1265—90, Picard or Ardennais; Cambridge (T) shows traces of an older text in a western French dialect, greatly modernized by the scribe who copied it not much after 1431; Lyon (L), late thirteenth or early fourteenth century, Burgundian. Three fragments of rhymed Rolands also survive, with assonanced fragments within some rhymed texts.
6. Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, p. 38 (emphasis original). For a fuller discussion, see p. 224 below, n. 37.
7. Lacan, L’Éthique, pp. 249—50 (Ethics, pp. 210—11).
8. Ibid., pp. 250—1 (pp. 211—13).
9. Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, pp. 55—6.
10. Delpech-Ramey, ’Interview with Slavoj Žižek’, p. 33.
11. On the omnipresence of death in the poem, see Brault, ’Le thème de la Mort’; and Hemming, ’La mort dans la Chanson de Roland’. Also relevant is Le Gentil, ’Réflexions sur le thème de la mort’.
12. In translating, I have consulted and often followed Song of Roland, trans. Glyn Burgess.
13. As Bédier observes of Roland: ’On comprend…que sa défaite à Roncevaux n'est que la rançon de ses victories passées; que la condition de ses exploits fut toujours son “orgueil” et sa “folie”’ (Les Légendes épiques, vol. III, pp. 440—1).
14. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 305 (Ethics, pp. 262—3).
15. Ibid., p. 315 (p. 270).
16. Žižek, Sublime Object, p. 117.
17. Vitz comments that Roland in the course of the narrative gets everything that he wants, assuming that ’he had no desire to live a long life…One complication is that he died from sorrow at getting just what he thought he wanted’ (’Desire and Causality’, p. 186).
18. The literature on Roland's démesure is substantial. I treat it here as an example of Lacanian ethics, in contrast to what Lacan epitomizes as the Aristotelian virtue ethics of moderation, well-being and liveable norms.
19. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 249 (Ethics, p. 211). According to Bloch, ’[Roland] remains a terminal figure. Childless, a hero so thoroughly defined by the past that both he and his sword are excluded from the future, Roland embodies the fear that haunted France's feudal aristocracy — that is to say, the prospect of interruption’; ’Nor is La Chanson de Roland unique in the impossibility of its own future. The chanson de geste is a virtual home for the aged childless, just as the novel will become a school for orphans’ (Etymologies and Genealogies, pp. 105, 107).
20. Butler, Antigone's Claim, p. 22. See Introduction, above, pp. 23—5.
21. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 326 (Ethics, p. 280).
23. Kay considers the explosion of energy emanating from the dying both prospectively, in relation to a (not necessarily Christian) life to come, and retrospectively, death focusing ’the vigor and energy’ of the biography rehearsed at the point of death (’Life of the Dead Body’, p. 97).
24. Starobinski, ’L’immortalité mélancolique’, p. 247.
25. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 251 (Ethics, p. 212).
26. Ibid., p. 250 (p. 211).
27. Ibid., pp. 252—3 (pp. 213—24).
28. Huet, Mourning Glory. See also Robespierre's selected writings and Žižek's commentary on them, in Virtue and Terror.
29. Duggan, ’L’épisode d’Aude’; Kay, Political Fictions, pp. 209—11; Matlock, ’“Clear Visions”’.
30. On Ganelon in the rhymed Roland, see Brook, ’Ganelon's Path to Treachery’, and ’La traîtrise et la vengeance’; and Simpson, Fantasy, Identity and Misrecognition, chapter 1. On the legal background, see Mickel, Ganelon, Treason.
31. Kinoshita's analysis of these problematic similarities is stimulating, in ’“Pagans are wrong”’ (rev. in Medieval Boundaries, chapter 1). For Vance, contrastingly, ’the poet and his audience are so ideologically sure of themselves that the former can lavish feudal terms of praise on the Saracens to magnify their evil and not be misunderstood’ (Reading ’The Song of Roland’, p. 36).
32. Gaunt, Gender and Genre, chapter 1, and Re-Telling the Tale, pp. 118—26.
33. Rychner, La Chanson de geste, pp. 74—93.
34. Brook, ’Expressions of Faith’.
35. Compare, for the quoted passages, O, laisse 242.
36. Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, pp. 12—17.
37. Kellogg, Medieval Artistry, p. 19. Though disagreeing with Kellogg here, I am indebted to her economic and political analysis.
38. Segre, ’La première “scène du cor”’.
39. Kay analyses romance and chanson de geste as each other's ’political unconscious’, in Political Fictions. Manuscript L provides its Roland with a romance introduction.
40. Duggan, vol. III, 5.25—6.
41. On prequels and literary responses to the Roland, see especially James R. Simpson, ’Gifts of the Roland’. Many more examples are discussed by van Emden, ’Reception of Roland’, and ’La réception du personnage de Roland’.
42. I borrow my subheading from Žižek's corresponding title.
43. Kay, Courtly Contradictions, pp. 216—31.
44. Cohn, Pursuit of the Millennium, and McGinn's corrective, Visions of the End. McGinn in my view underplays the urgency to change and the violence of vision inherent in apocalyptic rhetoric.
45. Thus in the cathartic, tragic action of Sophocles’ Antigone, ’nous sommes purgés, purifiés de tout ce qui est de cet ordre-là. Cet ordre-là, nous pouvons d'ores et déjà le reconnaître — c'est, à proprement parler, la série de l'imaginaire. Et nous en sommes purgés par l'intermédiaire d'une image entre autres’ (Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 290; ’we are purged, purified of everything of that order. And that order, we can now immediately recognize, is properly speaking the order of the imaginary. And we are purged of it through the intervention of one image among others’, Ethics, p. 248).
46. Huet, Mourning Glory, especially chapters 2 and 3.
47. For Macey, contrastingly, ’Lacan displays no enthusiasm for being articulated with Marxism and has little of interest to say on that subject’ (Lacan in Contexts, especially pp. 15—21, quotation on p. 16).
48. Compare the invocation of ’La Douce France’ by Sarkozy's government in the grand debate on French national identity launched on 25 October 2009. The phrase recalls both the Roland and Charles Trenet's 1943 song.
49. William of Malmesbury, Gesta regum Anglorum, para. 242 (vol. I, pp. 454—5). On Gaston Paris and Raoul Mortier, see Duggan, ’Franco-German Conflict’. On the search for a national epic, see Andrew Taylor, ’Was There a Song of Roland?’ (revised in Textual Situations, chapter 2).
50. D. C. Douglas, ’Norman Conquest’. The Normans sailed under a papal banner. Mandach argues for sponsorship of Roland material throughout the Norman and Angevin empire, in Naissance et développement, vol. I: La Geste de Charlemagne et de Roland (1961), and vol. VI: Chanson de Roland: Transferts de mythe dans le monde occidental et oriental, especially ’Le commonwealth normand et le mythe de Charlemagne et de Roland’ (pp. 123—37).
51. Bartlett distinguishes the common use of the label ’Frank’ (Making of Europe, pp. 101—5) from more specific uses; see also Kinoshita, ’“Pagans are wrong”’.
52. Mandach, Naissance et développement, vol. I, pp. 57—8.
53. Cook discusses V4's language in the introduction to his edition in Duggan, vol. I, 2.17—25. On the diffusion of chansons de geste in Northern Italy, see Vitullo, Chivalric Epic. I owe this reference and the observations relating to Occitan lyric tradition to Prof. Simon Gaunt.
54. See especially Kinoshita, ’“Pagans are wrong”’. Kinoshita's argument that we see in O the solidification of religious and cultural opposition between Christians and pagans is challenged by the observation that later chansons de geste commonly show Christian—Saracen alliances, often against an internal Christian threat; see Kay, ’Le problème de l'ennemi’; and Jubb, ’Enemies in the Holy War’.
55. My analysis of the ideological currents of the later parts of O is indebted to Haidu, Subject Medieval/Modern, and Subject of Violence.
56. Žižek, Sublime Object, p. 116.
57. Haidu, Subject of Violence, p. 192.
58. I refer to Freud's myth of ’the beginning of so many things — of social organization, of moral restrictions and of religion’, Totem and Taboo, vol. IV (5), p. 142.
59. Recent debates over St Paul's writings explore the relevance for modern secular societies of Christian revolutionism; see especially Agamben, Time That Remains; Badiou, Saint Paul; Žižek, Puppet and Dwarf; and Odell-Scott (ed.), Reading Romans.
60. Morrissey, Charlemagne and France. Krynen writes on the importance of imperium to later medieval French kings’ moves towards absolutism, with an introductory chapter covering earlier Capetians (L’Empire du roi). Kermode highlights the connections between imperium and apocalypse (Sense of an Ending).
61. Haidu, Subject Medieval/Modern, pp. 60—5. Haidu offers a corrective to his earlier Subject of Violence, where he argued that the battle of Roncevaux represents the self-destruction of the barony and of feudalism as a regime (incarnated in Roland), to be replaced with a monarchism that he there had difficulty grounding in the contemporary ideological context.
62. ’It is knighthood, that social complex of strengths and weaknesses, that spells out the annihilation of the flower of knighthood in the Frankish rear guard’ (Haidu, Subject of Violence, p. 84).
63. See especially Suard, ’Les épopées de la révolte’.
64. On the cycle of chansons de geste into which the Paris manuscript inserts the Chanson de Roland, see Andrew Taylor, Textual Situations; Gaunt, Gender and Genre; James R. Simpson, Fantasy, Identity and Misrecognition; and Reejhon in Duggan, vol. III, 2.40—76. L is included with orthodox religious texts, emphasizing the Christian dimension. T was copied with the letter from Prester John (a fictional Christian monarch of the Indies) to the Roman emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Uebel, ’Imperial Fetishism’, analyses imperialist investments in this popular text.
2. The knight as thing: courtly love in the non-cyclic prose LANCELOT
1. La Mort le roi Artu, chapter 71, ll. 26—8.
2. ’Dead or alive, Lancelot and Galehot lack Galahad's ontological integration: they are men of the border, men covered with seams’ (Warren, History on the Edge, p. 201).
3. Kennedy, Lancelot and the Grail, especially chapter 3; and Lancelot do Lac, vol. II.
4. The full cycle comprises the Estoire del Graal, the prose Merlin, the prose Lancelot proper, and the much shorter Queste del saint Graal and Mort le roi Artu. It is usually considered to have been composed c. 1215—35, the Estoire and the Merlin being the latest compositions. Both textual and publishing histories are fiendishly complicated. Sommer's edition of the short version, Vulgate Version of the Arthurian Romances, has recently been superseded by the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade edition with modern French translation: the Livre du Graal, ed. Poirion. Although critical editions of the long versions of most branches exist, there is as yet no edition of the whole. The English translation of the French Vulgate and Post-Vulgate, Lancelot-Grail, ed. Lacy, is based on the long version. Alison Stones maintains an online list of editions within the Lancelot-Grail project (’The Lancelot-Grail Project: Text Editions’).
5. I refer the reader to the summary of the non-cyclic Lancelot in Kennedy, Lancelot and the Grail, pp. 5—9; for the cyclic version, to the summaries provided in vol. V of Lancelot-Grail, ed. Lacy. I use Kennedy's edition of the non-cyclic version, Lancelot do Lac, vol. I; references in my chapter to Lancelot (unless qualified) are to this text. For the cyclic (Vulgate) prose Lancelot, I use Lancelot, ed. Micha.
6. Kennedy's comparative reading of the versions from the point where they diverge until the death of Galehot remains authoritative (Lancelot and the Grail, pp. 253—72).
7. Micha argues that the non-cyclic version is later (’Les épisodes’); and see Kennedy's responses in ’Two Versions’, and Lancelot and the Grail.
8. Kennedy summarizes the complicated manuscript tradition, in Lancelot do Lac, vol. II, pp. 37—41.
9. Žižek, Looking Awry, p. 28.
10. Schultz's Courtly Love extensively defends the term against such modern alternatives as ’desire’ or ’heterosexuality’.
11. Cohen, ’Masoch/Lancelotism’; Krueger, Women Readers; (Lefay-)Toury, Mort et fin'amor, concentrates on troubadour and trouvère lyrics; on romances, see her La Tentation du suicide. Fradenburg, Sacrifice Your Love; Gaunt, Martyrs to Love; Huot, Madness; Kay, Courtly Contradictions. Kay's analysis is further developed in a series of important articles, notably ’Contradictions of Courtly Love’, ’Desire and Subjectivity’, and ’Courts, Clerks, and Courtly Love’. See also Jaeger, Ennobling Love.
12. Greene, ’The Knight, the Woman, and the Historian’, p. 51.
13. The association between artistic realism and bourgeois milieu is persistent though repeatedly discredited. On the complexities of the thirteenth-century roman réaliste, see Lejeune, ’Jean Renart et le roman réaliste’. On moral rewritings, see especially Brown-Grant, Gender, Morality and Desire.
14. Paris, ’Études’, p. 521.
15. Jaeger, Ennobling Love, p. 186; and see pp. 109—54.
16. Thomas, Tristan, Sneyd I, 317—36.
17. Paris, ’Études’, pp. 518—19.
18. Krueger, ’Questions of Gender’, provides an overview of recent thinking in relation to gender.
19. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 218 (Ethics, p. 185). See Evans, Introductory Dictionary, ’pleasure principle’.
20. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 83 (Ethics, p. 68).
21. Žižek, ’“No Sexual Relationship”’, pp. 209—10.
22. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 182 (Ethics, p. 152).
23. Spitzer, L’Amour lointain, pp. 1—2.
24. ’Lacan argues that the purpose of the drive (Triebziel) is not to reach a goal (a final destination) but to follow its aim (the way itself), which is to circle round the object (S11, 168)’ (Evans, Introductory Dictionary, p. 46).
25. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 175 (Ethics, p. 146).
26. Gaunt analyses male personae and characters talking about dying as a form of subject-assertion that generally replaces actual death (Martyrs to Love, chapter 5).
27. Spitzer, L’Amour lointain, p. 9.
28. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 182 (Ethics, p. 152).
29. Ibid., p. 175 (p. 146).
30. Ibid., p. 150 (p. 125).
31. Lewis, Allegory of Love, p. 12.
32. Ibid., p. 18.
33. Ibid., p. 29.
34. Ibid., pp. 16—17.
35. See especially Lacan, L’Éthique, pp. 191—4 (Ethics, pp. 161—4).
36. Lewis, Allegory of Love, p. 2.
37. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 208 (Ethics, p. 177).
38. Ibid., p. 223 (p. 189).
39. Ibid., especially pp. 211—23, 257—70 (pp. 179—90, 218—30).
40. Ibid., p. 223 (p. 190).
41. Ibid., p. 219 (p. 186).
42. Žižek, ’Real of Sexual Difference’, p. 347.
43. Kay, ’Desire and Subjectivity’, pp. 218—19.
44. All translations of Lancelot represent my adaptation of the translation of parts of the non-cyclic version: Lancelot of the Lake, trans. Corley.
45. Writing from a different critical perspective, Lazar analyses how, in Le Chevalier de la Charrette, Guinevere is the ’desired mediatrix’ between Lancelot as self-seeker and Lancelot as self-realizer, ’between the project of his being and the plenitude of his existence’ (’Lancelot et la “mulier mediatrix”’, p. 244). Lazar reserves for Love the title of ’absolute mediator’ (ibid.).
46. Lacan, L’Éthique, pp. 107—8 (Ethics, p. 89).
47. ’Masochism…is made to the measure of the victim: it is the victim (the servant in the masochistic relationship) who initiates a contract with the Master (woman), authorizing her to humiliate him in any way she considers appropriate (within the terms defined by the contract)…It is the servant, therefore, who writes the screenplay — that is, who actually pulls the strings and dictates the activity of the woman (dominatrix): he stages his own servitude’ (Žižek, ’Courtly Love’, pp. 91—2). See also Deleuze, Coldness and Cruelty.
48. Numerous critics consider Lancelot's chivalry in the cyclic prose romance to differ from Round Table norms because authentically marked by the Other's desire. See Suard, ’Lancelot et le chevalier enferré’; Plummer, ’Frenzy and Females’; and Longley, ’Guinevere as Lord’, and ’Lady of the Lake’.
49. Paris, ’Études’, p. 518.
50. Žižek, ’Courtly Love’, p. 90.
51. Chrétien de Troyes, Le Chevalier de la Charrette, l. 5654.
52. Paris, ’Études’, p. 518.
53. Guinevere's presentation is analysed by Krueger, ’Desire, Meaning, and the Female Reader’; Noble, ’Character of Guinevere’; and Bruckner, ’Interpreter's Dilemma’.
54. Žižek, ’Courtly Love’, p. 90.
55. Hanning, Individual, especially pp. 53—60.
56. Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger. Carroll, ’Savage Bind’, contextualizes Douglas's work as a response to Lévi-Strauss's celebrated essay on myth.
57. Kay, Courtly Contradictions, chapter 2.
58. Saward, Perfect Fools, notes repeatedly that Catholic tradition distinguishes between laudable folly for God's sake and sinful folly in other contexts.
59. Kay, Courtly Contradictions, pp. 81—8; Gaunt, Martyrs to Love, chapter 4. Kay allows both a ’high’ and a ’low’ reading of Lancelot.
60. Bruckner, ’Interpreter's Dilemma’, p. 73.
61. Kennedy, ’Failure’. See also Rockwell, ’“Je ne suiz mi soffisanz”’.
62. Spitzer, L’Amour lointain, p. 27.
63. Cohen, ’Masoch/Lancelotism’. Contrast Žižek, for whom courtly masochism reinforces patriarchal power structures (’Courtly Love’, pp. 108—9).
64. Jaeger's judgement on the Charrette in my view fits the non-cyclic prose romance better: ’Lancelot overcome[s] shame, but not by the double operation of exalting/debasing — but rather a progress from debasement to exaltation’ (Ennobling Love, p. 138).
65. Longley, ’Lady of the Lake’; Flori, ’L’épée de Lancelot’.
66. On the shifting value of Lancelot's name, see especially Kennedy, ’Re-Writing and Re-Reading’. On the re-troping of Lancelot's love in different versions, see Dover, ’From Non-Cyclic to Cyclic Lancelot’.
67. Elizabeth Edwards, ’Place of Women’, p. 48.
68. Kay, ’Adultery and Killing’. On the ethical value of death in the Mort Artu, see especially Greene, Le Sujet et la mort.
69. Kennedy, Lancelot and the Grail, especially pp. 10—48. She considers (p. 256) that the equivalent episodes in the cyclic version place less emphasis on the identity theme.
70. Žižek, ’“No Sexual Relationship”’, p. 243.
71. Hence the insistence on the mirror's role as limit, ’ce que l'on ne peut franchir’ (Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 181; ’that which cannot be crossed’ [alternatively, ’that through which one cannot go’], Ethics, p. 151), organizing the inaccessibility of the object.
72. Kennedy, ’Figure of Lancelot’. If, however, Tristan is construed as an ethical hero (Gaunt, Martyrs to Love, pp. 104—18), then such references or their absence take on a different significance.
73. Paris, ’Études’, p. 519.
74. Frappier, ’Le personnage de Galehaut’, pp. 553—4. Ménard discusses Galehot's name, origins and titles (’Galehaut, prince conquérant’, pp. 263—5).
75. On giants in medieval literature, see especially Baumgartner, ’Géants et chevaliers’; and Cohen, Of Giants.
76. On the chanson de geste giant Fierabras, see Ailes, ’Faith in Fierabras’. On the desires of Palamedes, the gigantic Saracen knight in the prose Tristan, see Huot, Madness, chapter 4.
77. Huot provides a post-colonial analysis of Galehot's half-human, half-giant character (’Love, Race, and Gender’). See also Warren, History on the Edge, pp. 171—221. On giant appetites, see Crofts, ’Perverse and Contrary Deeds’. According to Hyatte, Galehot illustrates the ethical paradox in which, virtue being represented by the mean, to excel is also to transgress (Arts of Friendship, p. 106).
78. As Guinevere comments, ’mais il ne me requiert nule rien’ (p. 347; ’but he does not ask me for anything’). ’This “nothing”, of course, is the unmistakable index of true love: [the lover] is not to be satisfied with any positive content or act (going to bed with him, for example) by means of which [the beloved] could reciprocate his love. What he wants her to offer in return is the very “nothingness” in her, what is “in her more than herself” — not something she possesses but precisely what she does not have, the return of love itself’ (Žižek, ’“No Sexual Relationship”’, p. 239). Much the same may be said of Galehot's modest requests of Lancelot.
79. Stäblein, ’L’art de la métamorphose’.
80. Huot argues that Galehot in both the prose Lancelot and the prose Tristan splits the eponymous heroes into chivalric paradigm and adulterer (’Love, Race, and Gender’, p. 384). It could also be argued that he connects and even reconciles, though in tension, the two identities.
81. Zeikowitz, Homoeroticism and Chivalry, chapter 4, especially pp. 72—7; Schultz, Courtly Love, p. 80.
82. A series of pieces by Hyatte considers these parallels in detail: ’Recoding Ideal Male Friendship’, Arts of Friendship, especially pp. 102—21, ’Praise and Subversion’, ’Dream-Engendering Dreams’, and ’Reading Affective Companionship’. See also Dover, ’Galehot and Lancelot’; and Mieszkowski, ’Queering of Late Medieval Literature’.
83. ’Plus vos ai ge anmé que terriene anor’ (p. 329; ’I have loved you more than worldly honour’). Both Galehot (p. 325) and Guinevere (p. 609) reject shame in loving Lancelot. Note also p. 324 (Lancelot will never be shamed by Galehot). Hyatte discusses the logic of inversion, folly to wisdom, in relation to Galehot (Arts of Friendship, pp. 118—20).
84. Paris and Lacan offer equally plausible explanations: Galehot's fear for his beloved's safety combines with fear of attaining his desire. This distinguishes Galehot's situation from that of those male characters in medieval texts who cement a friendship with another male by the gift of a female; Chaucer's Pandarus being perhaps the most famous example. The fundamental similarity between these instances and cases where two men struggle over a woman, as in Chaucer's Knight's Tale, is advanced by Girard, Deceit, Desire, and the Novel, chapter 1. For queer developments, see Sedgwick's ground-breaking Between Men. Medievalist appropriations are too numerous to detail.
85. According to Lacan, ’C’est pour autant qu'est soutenu le plaisir de désirer, c'est-à-dire, en toute rigueur, le plaisir d’éprouver un déplaisir, que nous pouvons parler de la valorisation sexuelle des états préliminaires de l'acte de l'amour’ (Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 182; ’It is only insofar as the pleasure of desiring, or, more precisely, the pleasure of experiencing unpleasure, is sustained that we can speak of the sexual valorization of the preliminary stages of the act of love’, Ethics, p. 152). Compare Spitzer's view of the troubadour paradoxe amoureux (L’Amour lointain).
86. Roubaud, ’Galehaut et l’éros mélancolique’.
87. Ménard, ’Galehaut, prince conquérant’, shows in detail how Galehot's career is overshadowed by death, a point emphasized by Roubaud.
88. In the cyclic versions Galehot is not finally expelled but buried in Lancelot's fortress of Joyous Guard, where Lancelot will ultimately join him.
89. Klosowska (Roberts), Queer Love, p. 144. On chivalry, friendship and homoeroticism, see notably Gaunt, Gender and Genre, chapters 1 and 2; Burgwinkle, Sodomy, Masculinity, and Law; Huot, Madness, chapter 4; the works by Hyatte referred to in note 82, above; Zeikowitz, Homoeroticism and Chivalry; Bray, Friend; Jaeger, Ennobling Love; and Burns, Courtly Love Undressed, chapters 4 and 5. The oft-cited conclusion to Marchello-Nizia, ’Amour courtois’, namely that courtly heterosexual relations express the suppressed homosexual love between husband and lover, simplifies her subtler exploration of the theme.
90. The notion of monologic masculinity is related to the chanson de geste by Gaunt, Gender and Genre, chapter 1.
91. The most influential expositors of courtly love as an expression of male—male social and political relations are Duby, Mâle Moyen Âge; Köhler, L’Aventure chevaleresque; and Frappier, Amour courtois et Table Ronde. Though they remain influential, these scholars’ minimizing of female agency has been overturned in recent years by, for instance, Greene, ’The Knight, the Woman, and the Historian’; Evergates (ed.), Aristocratic Women in Medieval France; Cheyette, Ermengard of Narbonne; and Bouchard, Those of my Blood.
92. Rubin, ’Thinking Sex’, pp. 307, 308. Schultz renews Rubin's plea and documents how critics have confused the two (Courtly Love, chapter 4, especially p. 60).
93. Warner, ’Thoreau's Bottom’, p. 65 (quoted by Bersani, Homos, p. 4). See also Warner, ’Homo-Narcissism’.
94. On this notion of ’antagonism’, which derives from the work of Laclau and Mouffe, see Žižek, ’Spectre of Ideology’.
95. Butler, ’Arguing with the Real’, in Bodies That Matter, pp. 187—222; and her contributions to Butler, Laclau and Žižek, Contingency, Hegemony, Universality. Copjec defends the utility of Lacan's formulations on gender and sexuality to a feminist cultural critique (Read My Desire).
96. There is nevertheless queer potential in feminizing either or both of the heroes. Burns draws out the feminizing effect of Lancelot's dress, in ’Refashioning Courtly Love’, and Courtly Love Undressed, especially chapter 4. Gaunt develops a Lacanian reading of Galehot's role as troubling third in the Lancelot—Guinevere relationship (Martyrs to Love, pp. 191—204).
97. See the condensed analysis of critical treatments of Galehot's sexuality in Gaunt, Martyrs to Love, p. 192, n. 28. I use ’gay’ here for its political valency.
98. Schultz, ’Heterosexuality as a Threat’, and Courtly Love, especially chapters 4, 5 and 6. Further possibilities are opened up by Lochrie, Heterosyncrasies; and Burger, Chaucer's Queer Nation. See also Burgwinkle, ’Queer Theory and the Middle Ages’.
99. Bersani, Homos, p. 1.
100. Žižek, ’Between Symbolic Fiction and Fantasmatic Spectre’.
101. Bersani, Homos; Edelman, No Future; Butler, Antigone's Claim. However, MacCannell, Regime of the Brother, offers a dystopian reading of relations under the banner of equality and fraternity.
102. Huot discusses the colonial aspects of Galehot's treatment (’Love, Race, and Gender’).
103. Lacan developed the concept of the objet (petit) a, ’any object which sets desire in motion’ (Evans, Introductory Dictionary, p. 125), during the early 1960s. For a discussion of courtly romance in terms of objet a, see Griffin, Object and Cause. The objet a has clear links with the Thing, a term which almost disappears from Lacan's work after Seminar VII (Evans, Introductory Dictionary, p. 205). I have preferred the analytical concept of the Thing as foregrounding the abject dimension, crucial to Lancelot's vilains/vaillanz (worst/best) characterization, and to my interests in this book generally.
104. ’L’une e l'altre pur mei se dolt, / E jo m'en duil pur duble Ysolt’ (Thomas, Tristan, Sneyd I, 471—2; ’Both the one and the other suffer because of me, and I suffer from double Ysolt’).
105. Sunderland explores how the production of a Lancelot cycle, with its need for Lancelot to remain alive, affects heroic ethics (Old French Narrative Cycles, pp. 78—88). Greene analyses subjectivity (for characters and reader) as a function of the fear of death in the Mort Artu (Le Sujet et la mort, especially pp. 139—82). For Greene, the Mort Artu, ’being a romance of death still to come or having already come, teaches its characters and listeners what anxiety is rather than what death is. It tells them not, “Think on Death”, but “Think on Thinking”’ (p. 147).
106. Guinevere is also described as Lancelot's ’compaigne’ by the Lady of the Lake after the consummation (p. 557). Hyatte notes that Arthur, Guinevere and Galehot compete less for Lancelot's affection than for his companionship or company (Arts of Friendship, p. 105).
107. In reference to Galehot's dream of Lancelot as a leopard, see the following comment: ’In a celebrated passage, the author of the Song of Lewes compared Edward [I] to a leopard. On the one hand, he was a leo, a brave lion, proud and fierce. On the other hand, he was a pard, inconstant and unreliable, making promises when he was in a tight corner, and then forgetting them’ (Prestwich, Edward I, p. 25). I owe this reference to Dr Shelagh Sneddon.
108. Žižek, ’Eclipse of Meaning’, p. 209.
109. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 170 (Ethics, p. 141).
110. Kennedy considers that the cyclic Lancelot enhances Galehot's prominence, but subordinates it to the central tragedy (Lancelot and the Grail, pp. 257—8). Her discussion suggests that the cyclic Galehot becomes a double as much of Arthur as of Lancelot.
111. Gauvain's vision of an exclusive relationship here does not correspond to his famously free amorous behaviour and to his many close male friendships in this and other French texts. It could perhaps explain that behaviour.
112. Baumgartner discusses the epitaph on Galehot and Lancelot's joint grave, which combines their names with Galahad's, in ’Lancelot et la Joyeuse Garde’.
113. See Žižek's commentary on the lady in courtly love as an ’exemplary case’ of the ’male logic of exception’ (the ’not-all’): ’In the figure of the lady, this inaccessible absolute other, woman as sexual object, reaches existence. There woman exists, yet at the price of being posited as an inaccessible thing. Sexualized, she is transformed into an object that precisely insofar as it gives body to sexuality as such renders the masculine subject impotent’ (’Connections of the Freudian Field’, p. 74). The wounded Gauvain's adoption of this figure as fantasy position suggests, in my view, a more complex rendering of the ’not-all’ within the masculine domain than Žižek posits, with correspondingly more complicated configurations of gender and sexuality.
114. Chênerie, ’L’aventure du chevalier enferré’, analyses the interrelated themes of wounding and of giants.
115. A different reading of the gender indeterminacies of this scene is given by Burns, ’Which Queen?’. See also Greene, Le Sujet et la mort, on Gauvain, Arthur and Lancelot in the Mort Artu as respectively ego, id and superego; she summarizes each's differently mediated desire on p. 160.
116. Plummer, ’Frenzy and Females’.
117. Evans, Introductory Dictionary, p. 181.
3. The UBI SUNT topos in middle french: sad stories of the death of kings
1. Ariès summarizes his cultural history in Hour of Our Death, pp. 602—14.
2. Deguileville, Le Pèlerinage de vie humaine, ll. 13491—502. On the different redactions, see the entry on Deguileville in the Dictionnaire des lettres françaises: Le moyen âge.
3. Saward, Perfect Fools, pp. 6—7.
4. Liborio, ’Contributi’; Gilson, ’De la Bible à François Villon’. My considerations on death and subjectivity in this chapter are indebted to Greene's study of the Mort Artu (Le Sujet et la mort).
5. Heger, ’La Ballade et le Chant Royal’.
6. Le Chastoiement d'un père à son fils, Appendix C, ll. 2080—1.
7. Bronfen explains: ’Horror at the sight of death turns into satisfaction, since the survivor is not himself dead’ (Over Her Dead Body, p. 65). For Bronfen, ’the corpse is feminine, the survivor masculine’ (ibid.), a view which will become significant later in the present chapter.
8. On the gender of subject and object, the locus classicus is of course Beauvoir, Second Sex, and the argument is influentially developed in a phenomenological context by Irigaray (see especially Ethics).
9. See especially Foucault, ’Right of Death and Power over Life’, in The History of Sexuality, vol. I, pp. 133—59. Mills discusses sovereignty in Villon's work in the light of Agamben's writings (’Sovereignty and Bare Life’). Agamben's model combines sovereignty with biopolitics, to which Foucault contrasted it. For a critique, see Prozorov, Foucault, Freedom and Sovereignty, chapter 5.
10. On collective memory, see especially Connerton's classic essay, How Societies Remember. On individual memory, I refer especially to the phenomenological accounts by Casey, Remembering; and Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting.
11. Guenée, Un Meurtre, p. 206.
12. Laurie, ’Eustache Deschamps’. Historical contextualization of Deschamps's major themes is provided in Boudet and Millet (eds.), Eustache Deschamps en son temps. Becker, Eustache Deschamps, provides an overview of recent criticism.
13. Huizinga, Waning, p. 169.
14. See especially Laidlaw, ’L’innovation métrique’.
15. Kendrick, ’La poésie pastorale’; Lacassagne, ’Rhétorique et politique’.
16. Sobczyk, ’La place du Moi’.
17. Deschamps, uvres complètes, vol. VIII. Laurie (’Eustache Deschamps’, pp. 51—2, n. 80) dismisses Raynaud's suggestion (uvres complètes, vol. XI, pp. 43—4) that Ballade 1457 reflects on the death of the duke of Anjou in September 1384, without assigning it another date.
18. Sofler as an intransitive verb can mean ’gust’, as of wind; ’breathe deeply, pant’; or ’whisper’.
19. Under the heading ’Saracen’, Deschamps elsewhere includes Muslims such as Saladin or the Turks, as in the ’Miroir de Mariage’ (uvres complètes, vol. IX, ll. 11,339—71), and also classical antique figures, as when he refers to the distribution of the Nine Worthies as ’Trois Sarrasin, trois Juif, trois Crestien’ (Ballade 93).
20. Martineau-Génieys, among others, considers that resistance to death characterizes Deschamps's poetic character (Le Thème de la mort, pp. 142—3).
21. Deschamps frequently puns on Vertus in Champagne, his home.
22. Davies compares various definitions of Western civilization, in Europe, pp. 19—31.
23. Corresponding to Kermode's account of the aevum, a ’kind of eternity within a non-eternal world’, in Sense of an Ending, pp. 67—89 (p. 74).
24. Huizinga, Waning, p. 135.
25. Nora, ’From Lieux de mémoire to Realms of Memory’, p. xvii.
26. Nora, ’Between Memory and History’, p. 7.
27. Poirion, Le Poète et le Prince, p. 587.
28. Ricoeur, Memory, History, Forgetting, p. 36.
29. As Deschamps's chanson royale 368, another ubi sunt poem, puts it: ’Bienfait s'en va o l'ame, et le renom / Si demourra exemple a la lignée’ (ll. 33—4; ’Good deeds go with the soul, and the renown stays as an example to the line’).
30. Changing views of the court in late medieval France are discussed in Lemaire, Les Visions de la vie de cour.
31. Krynen details the increasing professionalization of the kingly role in the late Middle Ages (Idéal du prince).
32. The structure of argument in late medieval ballades and the internal structure of the stanzas are analysed by Poirion, Le Poète et le Prince, pp. 374—91.
33. Ibid., p. 368.
34. On the late medieval political subject, see Guenée, Un Meurtre, pp. 42—5. See also the analyses in Haidu, Subject Medieval/Modern, and Subject of Violence.
35. See Krynen, Idéal du prince; Quillet, Charles V, le roi lettre; Guenée, ’Le vœu de Charles VI’; and Delisle's classic study, Recherches sur la librairie de Charles V. Lemaire, Les Visions de la vie de cour, outlines the changing ideas of the court under late medieval French kings.
36. Interesting light is thrown on the copyist's workshop by Tesnière, ’Les manuscrits copiés par Raoul Tainguy’.
37. The crisis of authority in France under Charles VI has been widely analysed, for instance by Guenée, Un Meurtre. On ideological changes, see especially his La Folie de Charles VI.
38. Lacan, Le Séminaire, livre IV, pp. 209—14.
39. Gluckman, ’Frailty in Authority’, pp. 27—8.
40. Poirion, Le Poète et le Prince, pp. 373—4.
41. Mühletahler analyses the equivocally critical and ludic positioning of Deschamps's ballades (’Aux limites de la satire’).
42. Sobczyk, ’La place du Moi’, notes the assertive as well as hesitant aspects of Deschamps's self-presentation.
43. Barthes, ’To Write: An Intransitive Verb?’, p. 143. I have not found the discussion following the paper (pp. 145—56) published in French. I do not have space to go into the ramifications of the different English renderings of ’Je suis mort’, nor of the tenses in French.
44. Ibid., pp. 155—6.
45. Ibid., p. 156.
46. In the 1966 debate, Derrida draws on Hyppolite's earlier intervention: ’I wonder if the pacte de la parole, a “complicity of speech”, that you mention at the end of your talk, is wholly maintained in writing. Or, when one writes, doesn't interlocution undergo a sort of transformation, so that writing often becomes a phantasm of interlocution?’ (ibid., p. 146). Hyppolite focuses on how speech and writing imply different interpersonal situations between originator and addressee, even where these are superficially similar. It should be noted that Barthes's text refers to a ’pacte de parole’ (ibid., p. 144) or ’pact of language’ and not only of ’speech’.
47. Ibid., p. 156.
48. Derrida, Speech, p. 54.
50. Ibid., p. 54, n. 4.
51. Starobinski is discussing the haunting of modern literary activity by notions of immortality: ’This manner of dying to oneself is at the same time a way to seek refuge from death by passing over to its side. The desired immortality is concealed beneath mourning weeds’ (’L’immortalité mélancolique’, p. 248).
52. Rabaté, Future of Theory, p. 44.
53. Derrida, in Barthes, ’To Write: An Intransitive Verb?’, p. 155. Barthes's essay is ’Textual Analysis’; I have occasionally silently emended Bennington's text to give a more literal rendition of the original. Derrida and Barthes refer to Baudelaire's translation of Poe; Barthes cites the edition Histoires extraordinaires (Paris: Poche, 1969), pp. 329—45. I quote Poe's text as given in Bennington's translation of Barthes.
54. Barthes, ’Textual Analysis’, p. 153.
56. Joynes's scholarly and entertaining collection, Medieval Ghost Stories, contains numerous examples.
57. Barthes, ’Textual Analysis’, p. 153 (translation adapted). The reference to grammatical examples sketches a link to Barthes's own 1966 use of ’je suis mort’. Much of this debate takes place under the aegis of the lapsus or the aside.
59. Barthes, ’Analyse textuelle’, p. 45.
60. Barthes, ’Textual Analysis’, p. 150.
61. Ibid., p. 142.
62. Dates are taken from Freeman, Villain's Tale. On mock wills, see Cerquiglini-Toulet, L’Écriture testamentaire; Rossman, François Villon; and Regalado, ’Villon's Legacy’. For an extensive study of real wills and the associated mentality of the late Middle Ages, see Chiffoleau, La Comptabilité de l'au-delà.
63. Villon, Le Testament Villon, vol. I, ll. 753—60. All references to the Testament are to this edition unless otherwise specified.
64. The titles, of course, originate in Marot's 1533 edition. On the technique of lyric insertion in the Testament, see Huot, ’From Life to Art’.
65. On death as a contemporary poetic theme, see especially Siciliano, ’La Mort’, pp. 227—79 of François Villon. Martineau-Génieys argues, against Siciliano, that the theme of death was in decline, that of mourning on the rise when Villon was writing (Le Thème de la mort, pp. 157—89).
66. Geremek, Margins of Society.
67. Some unexceptionably courtly lyrics survive from Villon's approaches to great nobles in the late 1450s; see Le Lais Villon et les poèmes variés.
68. A representative assessment is Siciliano's, in François Villon, p. 274.
69. Poe, ’Philosophy of Composition’ (1846), p. 19.
70. Translations of Villon are adapted from Poems, (ed. and) trans. Kinnell.
71. Old age for Villon represents the ’présence de la mort dans la vie’, the old person being ’incapable de susciter l'attention et a fortiori l'amour’, according to Dufournet in ’Deux poètes du moyen âge’, p. 164.
72. On the transformations to be wrought by adopting active-voice theories in sociological study, and more widely on associated notions of agency, see Mary Douglas, ’Passive Voice Theories’.
73. Freud, ’Fetishism’ (1927). My analysis is indebted to Bronfen, Over Her Dead Body, especially pp. 95—109.
74. Siciliano, François Villon, p. 273.
75. Ibid., p. 272.
76. Ibid., p. 273.
77. Spitzer, ’Étude ahistorique’, pp. 10, 9.
78. Ibid., p. 10.
79. Kristeva, Desire in Language, especially ’From One Identity to an Other’, pp. 124—47, and ’The Novel as Polylogue’, pp. 159—209.
80. On time, see Kada-Benoïst, ’Le phénomène de désagrégation’.
81. Jane H. M. Taylor, ’La poétique de l'incohérence’, p. 45; see also her Poetry of François Villon.
82. On Archipïadés, see the still valuable notes in Thuasne's edition of Villon, uvres.
83. For instance, Siciliano, François Villon, p. 272. On naming strategies in the Testament, see especially Cholakian, ’(Un)naming Process’.
84. Draskau, Quest for Equivalence, especially pp. 246—66. Readings of the refrain focus on controversy over the prosaic or poetic connotations of antan; for a recent review, see Freeman, ’Snows of Yester-Year’.
85. I am indebted to Johnson's deconstruction of the verse/prose binary in ’Poetry and Its Double’.
86. Martineau-Génieys, Le Thème de la mort, p. 169.
87. Kuhn (Mus) links the natural themes to fertility and to an idealized femininity, in La Poétique de François Villon, chapter 4. On sirens, see Elizabeth Eva Leach, ’“The Little Pipe Sings Sweetly”’.
88. Rychner and Henry discuss the variant ’Berte au grant pié’, in Testament, vol. II, s.v. l. 347 (p. 55). See also Ménard, ’“Berthe au grant pié”’.
89. Spitzer, ’Étude ahistorique’, p. 13.
90. Craig Taylor (trans. and annotated), Joan of Arc, p. 349. On Joan and Antigone, see Žižek, ’Interlude: The Feminine Excess’; and Fraisse, Le Mythe d’Antigone, pp. 47—50.
91. See the discussion of secondary burial in Chapter 5, below.
92. Irigaray, ’The Mechanics of Fluids’, in This Sex, pp. 106—18, and ’Volume-Fluidity’, in Speculum, pp. 227—40. Martineau-Génieys, however, refers the ladies to a dry, white, symbolically useful and ornamental form of the macabre; compare Chaucer's Book of the Duchess, Chapter 5, below. Martineau-Génieys notes that Villon, like Deschamps, does not follow the contemporary literary fashion for decomposition (Le Thème de la mort, pp. 168—70).
93. Regalado, ’Effet de réel, effet du réel’.
94. Fox, ’Note’.
95. Rychner and Henry give Jean III, in error.
96. Kantorowicz's familiar theory of the king's two bodies can be refined on. Jean Gerson theorized that the king has three lives. As described by Guenée, Un Meurtre, p. 25: ’His spiritual life is that of his soul. Like any man, he lives with a natural or corporal life when his soul and his body are united in a single person. But he has, as king, a third life, that Gerson calls “public” or “civil and universal” or “civil and political” or “civil and mystical”. That life is “everlasting”, it will have no end; it “endures in this kingdom by legitimate succession through the royal line, without a definite term or as if eternally”.’
97. Other than sources mentioned elsewhere in these notes, my information derives from the Dictionnaire de biographie française.
98. Cropp, ’La “Ballade des seigneurs”’, p. 236. Cropp's reading is contested. For Freeman, the lords are like the ladies, haloed ’stuff of fable’ (Villain's Tale, p. 162). Contrastingly, Frappier is dismissive of the lords’ reputations (’Les trois Ballades du temps jadis’).
99. Nora, ’Between Memory and History’, p. 2.
100. Weiner, Trobrianders, p. 164.
101. Ibid., p. 163.
102. Morrissey, Charlemagne and France; Spiegel, Romancing the Past and ’Reditus Regni’; Beaune, Birth of an Ideology.
103. Dufournet, ’Une ballade méconnue de Villon’, pp. 42—3.
104. Notably Frappier, ’Les trois Ballades du temps jadis’.
105. Kada-Benoïst, ’Le phénomène de désagrégation’; Jane H. M. Taylor, ’La poétique de l'incohérence’.
106. Nora, ’Between Memory and History’, p. 1.
107. See especially Cerquiglini-Toulet, Color of Melancholy; and Camille, Master of Death. On Huizinga's complex legacy, see Gumbrecht, ’Intertextuality and Autumn’; and Shaw, ’Huizinga's Timelessness’.
108. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 150 (Ethics, p. 125).
109. This generally accompanied a move to prose, and often also to print. For instance, Philippe de Vigneulles's prosification of Garin le Loherain, published in Metz in 1515 and no longer extant, began: ’L’histoire est de grant excellence et merveilleux faitz d'armes, laquelle se lisoit du tout au livre et n'estoit pas quasi plus memoire d'icelle par ce que moult de gens n'entendoient plus bien le langage’ (’The story, which was there to be read in full in the book, relates great excellence and marvellous feats of arms. There was almost no more memory of it, because many people could not well understand the language’). Quoted by Ménard, ’“Berthe au grant pié”’, pp. 123—4.
110. The most extensive exploration is Varty, ’Villon's Three Ballades’. Jane Taylor relates the illustrations at the Cimetière des Innocents to Villon's interweaving of real and fictional worlds (’Metonymy, Montage, and Death’). Her wide-ranging ’Un miroer salutaire’ argues that cultural ideas about mirrors would have predisposed medieval audiences to accept the Danse macabre message of ’la mort de soi’ over affirmative disidentification. On the Danse macabre in medieval culture, see Delumeau, Le Péché et la peur, especially pp. 44—97; and Clark, Dance of Death.
111. Batany argues for the social conservatism of the Danse macabre (’Les “Danses Macabres”’).
112. For Frappier, it is ’the same insolent, disaggregating rhythm’ that we find elsewhere in Villon's work (’Les trois Ballades du temps jadis’, p. 341).
113. Varty, ’Villon's Three Ballades’, p. 91.
114. On this effect, see Vitz, Crossroad of Intentions. I would explain in similar terms and as a rhetorical effect the phenomena of audience inclusion and exclusion ingeniously analysed by Fein, François Villon and His Reader. Compare the rhetorical analysis of Occitan lyric in Gaunt, Troubadours and Irony.
115. See Hunt's discussion of this line, in Villon's Last Will, pp. 20—1.
116. Bowie, Lacan, p. 120.
117. Contrastingly, Huot argues that the Testament subtracts the poetic persona from life and death to give him immortality in the symbolic (’From Life to Art’, p. 36), a position that I associate with Deschamps.
118. For an example of the plural, see Deschamps, Ballade 93; of the singular, Deschamps, Ballade 94 (both in uvres complètes, vol. I).
119. Barthes, ’Textual Analysis’, p. 152. The same phrase — unsurprisingly, given its echoes of Chateaubriand — is used by Méla, ’“Je, Françoys Villon…”’, p. 777. Méla's reading emphasizes the persistence of the symbolic.
120. Barthes, ’Textual Analysis’, p. 150 (adapted).
4. Ceci n'est pas une marguerite: anamorphosis in PEARL
1. Pearl, ed. Gordon. Further references are to this edition unless otherwise specified.
2. Schmitt, Ghosts in the Middle Ages, and ’Les revenants’. As Žižek puts it: ’The return of the living dead…materializes a certain symbolic debt persisting beyond physical expiration’ (Looking Awry, p. 23).
3. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 181 (Ethics, p. 151).
4. However, Kline argues that the Jeweller comes to appreciate the Maiden as a real child (’Female Childhoods’, p. 15).
5. For a selection of relevant material, see Appendix 1 in Usk, Testament of Love, pp. 415—22. In hagiography, saints’ bodies are commonly compared to jewels.
6. Ariès, Images, p. 37. The Pearl-Maiden's physical appearance corresponds to the ’resurrection body’ as distinct from the mortal, corrupt flesh or earthly body (Bynum, Resurrection of the Body).
7. I adopt the interpretation of ’fede’ in line 29 from Pearl, ed. Stanbury.
8. Pearl's images of seed and jewel have attracted the attention of numerous critics. Bynum compares their histories as images of resurrection (’Introduction: Seed Images, Ancient and Modern’, in Resurrection of the Body, pp. 1—17).
9. Bogdanos, Image of the Ineffable, pp. 19—30.
10. Žižek, ’“No Sexual Relationship”’, p. 230.
11. Žižek, Looking Awry, p. 20.
12. Eagleton, Trouble with Strangers, p. 153. On the relations between Christianity and the Real, see also ibid., pp. 287—94 and Conclusion.
13. Cargill and Schlauch give a detailed account of the court's cultural interchanges, in ’The Pearl and Its Jeweler’. The Cheshire connection is argued in several places by Bennett: see especially ’Court of Richard II’, and ’Historical Background’. For an overview, see Andrew, ’Theories of Authorship’.
14. But see Wimsatt, Allegory and Mirror, pp. 124—5.
15. My discussion is indebted especially to Nouvet, ’Distinctive Signature’; Huot, ’Daisy and Laurel’; and Travis, ’Chaucer's Heliotropes’. See also Lowes's seminal articles on the Prologue to the Legend of Good Women: ’French Marguerite Poems’, and ’Chronological Relations’. More generally, and among very many articles, the classic references to Chaucer's relation to French-language works are Muscatine, Chaucer and the French Tradition; Palmer (ed.), Chaucer's French Contemporaries; and three books by Wimsatt, French Contemporaries, French Love-Poets and Marguerite Poetry.
16. Cerquiglini(-Toulet), ’Le Dit’; Spearing, Medieval Dream-Poetry; Phillips, ’Dream Poems’, and ’Chaucer and Dream Poetry’; Lynch, High Medieval Dream Vision; Russell, English Dream Vision, especially pp. 159—74. For further links with debate and dialogue, see Kruger, ’Dialogue, Debate, and Dream Vision’.
17. Notions of the stain and the screen, for instance, are elaborated in the later work. The relevant section is ’Du regard comme objet petit a’, in Le Séminaire, livre XI, pp. 63—109 (Four Fundamental Concepts, pp. 65—119).
18. The book has since been reissued several times in expanded and revised forms. I use the edition available to Lacan. On Holbein's ’Ambassadors’, see especially pp. 56—70.
19. Lacan, in Le Séminaire, livre XI, develops the idea of the anamorphotic stain to express the paradoxically dependent and exclusionary relation of the subject to the field of collectively constituted reality. Žižek glosses in relation to the subject, notably in Tarrying with the Negative, pp. 65—71. See also Feldstein, Fink and Jaanus (eds.), Reading Seminar XI.
20. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 318 (Ethics, p. 273).
21. Ibid., p. 161 (p. 135). See p. 11, above.
22. Ariès, Images, p. 193 (Figure 288). The double-sided painting, in Gripsholm Castle, Sweden, is illustrated (and the Charles I side demonstrated with a cylindrical mirror) in Philippovich, Kuriositäten/Antiquitäten, Figures 6—8 (pp. 9—11). It can be seen online, without the mirror correction: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_I._Anamorphosis.jpg, and http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Charles_II._Anamorphosis.jpg (accessed 21 December 2009).
23. Gombrich, Art and Illusion, p. 5; quoted by Besserman, ’Idea of the Green Knight’, p. 228.
24. Julian, ’Against the Galilaeans’, p. 417.
25. The classic account of defamiliarization is Spearing, ’Gawain’-Poet, pp. 96—170.
26. ’The power represented by the pearl is not one which can triumph only through the exclusion and denial of ugliness and death but one which contains and transforms them’ (Field, ’Heavenly Jerusalem’, p. 15). The image of the wounded yet spotless Lamb brings this theme to a climax.
27. Wailes, Medieval Allegories, pp. 137—44; Wailes's own words and those of Gregory are quoted from p. 143.
28. See Chapter 1, above.
29. I follow Bowers, who relates the vineyard parable to labour concerns (’Politics of Pearl’, expanded in Politics of Pearl). I am not concerned with Bowers's argument that the Maiden figures Queen Anne. Fletcher in his recent critique of Bowers makes valuable points about the poem's universalizing theological reach but, in arguing against ideology in poetry, overlooks Christianity's ideological and historical aspects (’Limits of History’). I am indebted also to Watkins's discussion of individualism, ’“Sengeley in Synglere”’.
30. On earthly and heavenly notions of justice, see Horgan, ’Justice in the Pearl’.
31. Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meun, Roman de la Rose, vol. II, ll. 10496—648.
32. Pearl actualizes the mystical dimensions of the Thing, on which Lacan insists, for instance in L’Éthique, pp. 77—8 (Ethics, pp. 62—3).
33. Aucassin et Nicolette, XII.25—8.
34. The technical word for daisy in botanical and medical manuals was ’(petite) consaude’, a term having a specialist, technical register.
35. Machaut, ’Dit de la marguerite’, dated by Fourrier to 1363—4.
36. Froissart, ’Le Dit de la marguerite’, in ’Dits’ et ’Débats’, pp. 147—53 (ll. 1—8). Fourrier dates the poem to 1364. To distinguish it from Machaut's dit, I use ’Flor’ for Froissart's poem as a short form of its older title, ’Le Dittié de la flour de la margherite’, as found in uvres de Froissart: Poésies, vol. II, pp. 209—15.
37. ’It’ referring to the daisy could in each case be translated by ’her’, emphasizing the gynomorphic connotations borne by the flower in all the French works. This ambiguity can be rendered in English by shifting between neuter/nonhuman and feminine/human pronouns and terms, as the Pearl-poet does. His English thereby loses the smooth sliding across an ambiguous field that the French texts perfect, instead intensifying the abrupt hermeneutic, shifting characteristic of these and other courtly works; these aesthetics are equally, though differently effective. I have varied my translations according as I feel the texts shifting emphasis, but the unchosen term should ideally also be borne in mind.
38. See, for instance, Froissart's Pastourelle XVII, in Lyric Poems, pp. 185—7. Among marguerite poems, the most directly challenging to court values is Deschamps's ’Lai de Franchise’ (or Fourth Lay, uvres complètes, vol. II, pp. 203—14), which restrictions of space compel me to omit.
39. On the connotations and circulation of pearls in the fourteenth century, see Riddy, ’Jewels in Pearl’; and Barr, ’“The Jeweller's Tale”’.
40. Machaut, ’Marguerite’, ll. 25—6. The same claim is made in the ballade by Egidius quoted by Wilkins in his ’Review of Wimsatt, Marguerite Poetry’. Wilkins gives four examples of marguerites in short lyrics.
41. Froissart, Le Joli Buisson de Jonece (hereafter Joli Buisson), ll. 3208—41. The Joli Buisson, where Cepheüs is mentioned by Venus, does not include the coda relating the genesis of the marguerite, which is found in Froissart's Pastourelle XVII, ll. 57—66, and in ’Flor’, ll. 68—82. On the probability that this myth is invented by Froissart, see Kelly, ’Les inventions ovidiennes’.
42. Froissart, ’Flor’, l. 97.
43. Ibid., ll. 187—8.
44. Machaut, ’Le Dit de la fleur de lis et de la marguerite’, hereafter ’Lys’, ll. 291, 322. Wimsatt argues for a date of 1369 (Marguerite Poetry, pp. 54—7).
45. On different interpretations of this parable, in particular the question of whether the wares sold by the parable's jeweller are to be interpreted as lesser goods or as evils, see Wailes, Medieval Allegories.
46. See especially Cerquiglini-Toulet, Color of Melancholy.
47. On the novelty effect of Chaucer's use of English, see Cannon, Making of Chaucer's English. A less pithy rendering of the gleaning topos occurs in the Prologue to Usk, Testament of Love, ll. 60—90. On the topos, see Martin, ’Chaucer's Ruth’; and Cerquiglini-Toulet, Color of Melancholy, chapter 4.
48. Chaucer, Legend of Good Women, G.61—5.
49. Zeeman, ’Lover-Poet’.
50. Duby, Knight, Lady and Priest. On the courtly ethic of dying for love, see the works cited in Chapter 2, note 11, above.
51. See Chapter 5, below, for further discussion of mourning and marital politics in the Book of the Duchess.
52. Froissart, Joli Buisson, l. 5198. The prayers to St Margaret are mentioned at lines 1106—12. Venus explains the narrator's lack of inspiration by the assertion that, in his case, ’Frois a esté li ars maint an / De mon chier fil, dont moult le carge’ (ll. 931—2; ’My dear son's art has been cold many a year, for which I blame him’). On Pearl and the saint, see Earl, ’Saint Margaret’.
53. Usk too uses the ’dissemination’ topos (Testament of Love, Prologue, ll. 5—7).
54. See Chapter 3, above, p. 111.
55. Huot, ’Daisy and Laurel’, p. 251.
56. Machaut, ’Lys’, ll. 275—304.
57. Bynum, Holy Feast, and Fragmentation and Redemption. Bynum's rejection of the likelihood of queer desires and acts in medieval representations is critiqued by Mills, Suspended Animation, pp. 178—80.
58. There is a large literature on saintly gender and sexuality; see in particular Gaunt, Gender and Genre, chapter 4; Wogan-Browne, Saints’ Lives; Salih, Versions of Virginity; and Mills, Suspended Animation. On queer desire in the Rose, see especially Gaunt, ’Improper Allegory’; Raskolnikov, ’Between Men, Mourning’; and Klosowska (Roberts), Queer Love, chapter 2.
59. On sodomy as desire for one who is, categorically, simultaneously too similar and too different, see Gilbert, ’Gender and Sexual Transgression’; and Spearing, ’Purity and Danger’, in Readings, pp. 173—94. On difference and desire in Pearl, see Stanbury, ’Feminist Masterplots’; Bullon-Fernandez, ’Byonde þe Water’; and Cox, ’Pearl's “Precios Pere”’.
60. On Pearl's ’aristocratized theology’, see Watson, ’Vernacular Theologian’.
61. Field, ’Heavenly Jerusalem’.
62. Whatever its causes, the late medieval turn to quantification was a phenomenon on a European scale, whose influence in the domain of piety is analysed notably by Chiffoleau, La Comptabilité de l'au-delà.
63. Nouvet, ’Distinctive Signature’, views the sun in these poems as a figure for the poet. I follow Huot, ’Daisy and Laurel’, in reading it as the patron.
64. Machaut, ’Marguerite’, ll. 44—8.
65. On likeness as a trope of the divine, see Javelet, Image et ressemblance.
66. Field, ’Heavenly Jerusalem’.
67. Cannon, ’Form’, pp. 187—9.
68. Spearing, ’The Gawain-Poet's Sense of an Ending’, in Readings, pp. 195—215 (p. 208).
69. On literary treatments of unsymbolizable loss, see Watts, ’Inexpressibility’; Aers, ’Self Mourning’; and Stanbury ’Feminist Masterplots’.
70. Note the slippage here between ’drive’ and ’desire’; see Introduction, above, p. 21.
71. Eagleton, Trouble with Strangers, p. 182.
72. Ibid., pp. 322, 323—4.
5. Becoming woman in chaucer: on ne naît pas femme, on le devient en mourant
1. All references to works by Chaucer are to The Riverside Chaucer. The Book is generally dated between 1368 and 1376. Of the two versions of the Legend's Prologue, F is at present generally accepted to be earlier, although there remains disagreement. Riverside dates F to 1386—8, G (which appears only in the earliest surviving manuscript) to 1394—6; some of the legends may have been written earlier.
2. Beauvoir, Le Deuxième Sexe, vol. II, p. 13 (Second Sex, trans. Parshley, p. 295; trans. Borde and Malovany-Chevallier, p. 293). The difference between the translations is trenchantly explained by Moi, ’Adulteress Wife’, para 25 of 43.
3. Hertz, ’Contribution’, p. 52.
4. Ibid., pp. 37, 36.
5. Ibid., p. 36.
6. Ibid., p. 52.
7. Ibid., pp. 79—80.
8. Ibid., p. 82.
9. Ibid., p. 77.
10. Hertz's essay just predates van Gennep's today better-known general theory of transitional rituals, Rites of Passage, which appeared in 1908. For a different discussion of female death in relation to rites of passage, liminality and second death, see Bronfen, Over Her Dead Body, pp. 197—201.
11. For instance, in the introduction to their edited volume, Bloch and Parry understand ritual to serve the dominant authority (Death and the Regeneration of Life, pp. 1—44).
12. Kelly and Kaplan, ’History, Structure, and Ritual’, p. 140.
13. My reading is indebted to Butterfield, ’Lyric and Elegy’; Ellmann, ’Blanche’; Fradenburg, ’“Voice Memorial”’, and ’“My Worldes Blisse”’; Hardman, ’Memorial Monument’; Margherita, ’Originary Fantasies’; and Schibanoff, ’Courtliness and Heterosexual Poetics in the Book of the Duchess’, in Chaucer's Queer Poetics, pp. 65—97.
14. Hertz, ’Contribution’, pp. 37—53.
15. Ibid., p. 51.
16. Gaunt, Martyrs to Love, chapter 5, observes that women die for love while men talk of dying as a means of finding a place within the symbolic. Alcyone and the Man are further differentiated by their respective legendary/distant past and ’real-life’/modern status.
17. Disputes over the role of the ’king’ are irrelevant for my purposes.
18. Ellmann, ’Blanche’; Travis, ’White’.
19. On commemoration and forgetting, see Forty's introduction to Forty and Küchler (eds.), Art of Forgetting, pp. 1—19. An example of the commemoration by obliteration described by Forty is the destruction of the palace of Sheene ordered by Richard II after Anne's death — replicated (if the G Prologue is later than the F) by the elision from the Legend's text of Sheene and of Anne, as noted by Wallace, Chaucerian Polity, p. 373.
20. Compare Kantorowicz's account of royal funerary effigies in the late Middle Ages (King's Two Bodies, pp. 419—37). On elite funerals, see especially Binski, Medieval Death. Stanford, ’Held in “Perpetual” Memory’, introduces the processes involved.
21. Hardman, ’Memorial Monument’, p. 209; Phillips, ’Fortune and the Lady’.
22. Hardman, ’Memorial Monument’, p. 209.
23. Hertz, ’Contribution’, pp. 41—8.
24. Ibid., p. 43.
25. ’[S]exuality is…opposed to fertility. It is associated with flesh, decomposition and women, while true ancestral fertility is a mystical process symbolized by the tomb and the (male) bones’ (Bloch and Parry, Death and the Regeneration of Life, p. 21).
26. Hertz, ’Contribution’, pp. 78—80.
27. ’[A]s against the dispersed, contingent, and multiple existences of actual women, mythical thought opposes the Eternal Feminine, unique and changeless. If the definition provided for this concept is contradicted by the behaviour of flesh-and-blood women, it is the latter who are wrong: we are told not that Femininity is a false entity, but that the women concerned are not feminine’ (Beauvoir, Second Sex, trans. Parshley, vol. I, part III, chapter 3, p. 283). Beauvoir insists that the Eternal Feminine, like all idealizations of women, is twinned with a feared and loathed alternative.
28. Referring to the anniversary services which Gaunt ordered for Blanche, Ellmann suggests that the act of burial ’demanded repetition every year’ (’Blanche’, p. 103). Compare the double tomb which Gaunt had built for himself and Blanche in 1374—5 (Hardman, ’Memorial Monument’, p. 206).
29. Compare the different treatments of Roland's death, Chapter 1, above.
30. More recent anthropologists insist on the contestatory and transformative potential within ritual; see Kelly and Kaplan, ’History, Structure, and Ritual’.
31. On the Legend as palinode, see Percival, Legendary Good Women, especially pp. 151—70; and as marguerite poem, pp. 23—42. Apart from the sources mentioned in Chapter 4, n. 15, above, an important discussion of Chaucer's relation to marguerite writing is Rowe, Through Nature to Eternity, especially pp. 15—46.
32. Against the common view that the sources cited in G by the god of Love are antifeminist, see Phillips, ’Register, Politics’, p. 114.
33. Spurgeon's evidence suggests that the Legend was never one of Chaucer's more popular works (Chaucer Criticism and Allusion, vol. I, especially the table on p. lxxix). Collette summarizes some interesting recent attempts to recuperate the work, in Collette (ed.), Context and Reception, pp. vii—xii.
34. On Medea in the Legend, see Minnis, Shorter Poems, pp. 371—8; Percival, Legendary Good Women, pp. 203—20; and McDonald, ’Doubts about Medea’. See also the much broader study by Morse, Medieval Medea; Chaucer is discussed on pp. 224—30.
35. On the mythographic tradition, see Wetherbee, Chaucer and the Poets, pp. 141—3; and Kolve, ’From Cleopatra to Alceste’, pp. 171—4. Chance uses mythographic material to argue for Alceste's strength as a descender into hell (’“A Wonder Thing”’).
36. Cerquiglini-Toulet discusses the coffer used by late medieval poets to express the painful sense that ’they followed after more illustrious predecessors’ (Color of Melancholy, pp. 58—64, quotation p. 54). She links it to the presentation of the patron actively co-operating in the text: ’Storing poems in a coffer plays on the notions of deferral and delegation; poetry operates at a distance rather than directly, in the poet's presence’ (p. 59). Boitani discusses Chaucer's ’dream-books and book-dreams’, in ’Old Books’ (p. 60).
37. Sanok, ’Reading Hagiographically’, p. 332, n. 25.
38. Robert R. Edwards analyses the differences between the treatments of Alceste in F and in G in the light of contemporary politics (’Ricardian Dreamwork’). Coleman returns to the argument about women's importance in the literary culture surrounding Richard's court (’“A bok for king Richardes sake”’, and ’The Flower, the Leaf, and Philippa of Lancaster’).
39. The tendency of Chaucer critics to downplay female cultural authority in order to save the poet's virile dignity is critiqued by Andrew Taylor, ’Anne of Bohemia’.
40. For James (W.) Simpson, ’Ethics and Interpretation’, the god is a figure for exploitative male desire; however, a long literary history establishes the god as an ambiguous patron for either sex.
41. Green links the legends to Chaucer's wider interest in the gendering of trouth (’Chaucer's Victimized Women’).
42. Other of Chaucer's poems extant in substantially different versions are not generally printed as separate texts. See, for example, Troilus and Criseyde, ed. Windeatt, pp. 36—54. I owe this point to Prof. Ardis Butterfield. For a creative critical exploitation of the difficulties of establishing a text, see Quinn, ’Performance, Performativity, and Presentation’.
43. Compulsion and loss of self-control are differently figured in the abdication of authorial authority to the legends’ commissioners. I stress that I am not concerned with whether Chaucer was fully in control of the processes I am analysing, or with his conscious political and ethical position.
44. In Master of Death, Camille undertakes a comparable project in relation to the work of the illuminator Pierre Remiet but in fact emphasizes small but significant variations, resulting in — in this respect — a more traditional analysis. Quinn points out that the Legend would seem much less monologic ’and therefore monotonous’ in its original medieval manuscript and reading-performance contexts (’Performance, Performativity, and Presentation’, p. 13). Aside from Quinn's, interesting recent articles on court debate context include McDonald, ’Games Medieval Women Play’; and Boffey, ’“Twenty Thousand More”’. Note also that some manuscripts produce their own patterned effects, such as the sequence of female complaints into which mansucript Ff, the Findern Anthology, inserts the legend of Thisbe; see McDonald, ’Ladies at Court’, pp. 36—9.
45. Freud, Beyond the Pleasure Principle, p. 22.
46. Dinshaw relates the phrase to the Legend (Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, p. 77). For further discussion of Poe's dictum, gender and lyricism, see Chapter 3, above.
47. On the philosophical and ethical problems of suicide in Old French romance, see Lefay-Toury, La Tentation du suicide, especially pp. 35—57 on Dido. Schmitt, ’Le suicide au Moyen Âge’, analyses suicide as social disintegration and as withdrawal into private isolation.
48. The Legend borrows the framework of martyrology to produce actively resistant and politically radical deaths but removes the Christian content, thus doubly exploiting the pagan setting. These aspects of the text have attracted considerable attention, notably from Kiser, Telling Classical Tales; and Percival, Legendary Good Women.
49. The rapprochement is made as part of a different argument by Fradenburg, ’Loving Thy Neighbor: The Legend of Good Women’, in Sacrifice Your Love, pp. 176—98 (pp. 195—6).
50. Lacan, L’Éthique, p. 238 (Ethics, p. 202, adapted).
52. Ibid., p. 304 (p. 262).
53. Gaunt, Martyrs to Love, chapter 5. See my Chapter 2, above, for further discussion.
54. I disagree with Fradenburg's analysis (Sacrifice Your Love) of Alceste as partially sublime, although I share her view of the figure's aggression.
55. Mann, Geoffrey Chaucer, p. 44.
56. Bloch and Parry, Death and the Regeneration of Life, p. 17.
57. Numerous critics note the text's departures from the apparent ideological message. For instance, some of the heroines ’are primarily or partly victims of themselves’ (Cowen, ’Structure and Tone’, p. 433); ’Lucrece dies for her high principles of wifely fidelity rather than for her actual husband’ (Minnis, Shorter Poems, p. 436).
58. Minnis, Shorter Poems, p. 406.
59. Dinshaw refers to readerly boredom with the Legend as a form of defence against it but aligns that boredom with the poem's ’soothing and reassuring’ use of repetition (Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, p. 86). In Chapter 1 above, pp. 48—51, I distinguish between soothing and disturbing forms of repetition.
60. Phyllis ’warns Demophon that she will make of her dead body a sign of her “trouthe” to him’ (Dinshaw, Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, p. 83).
61. I borrow my terms from Schibanoff, Chaucer's Queer Poetics, pp. 15—23. Schibanoff's interpretation of Aristotle should be read with the critique by Schultz, Courtly Love, pp. 53—4.
62. The Middle English Dictionary gives the refrain as an example of sense 2 (b). The lines following the ballade in F (272—5), which support this reading, are absent from G.
63. See Fradenburg's brilliant analysis of the aggression of disteinen (Sacrifice Your Love, especially pp. 192—3).
64. Dinshaw, Chaucer's Sexual Poetics, p. 75.
65. ’[P]oetically disfigured’ by their single scenario, the legends distort notions of narrative and trouthe (Eleanor W. Leach, ’Morwe of May’, p. 305).
66. Žižek, Looking Awry, p. 12 (emphasis original). I discuss anamorphosis in relation to dream vision literature in Chapter 4.
67. Žižek defends and reworks de Man's thesis of interpretation as ’a violent act of disfiguring the interpreted text’ based on close reading but opposed to ’historical archaeology’: ’it is through the very “pullback” from direct experience of “reality” to the textual mechanisms that we are brought closer to the traumatic kernel of some Real “repressed” in a constitutive way by so-called “reality” itself’ (Plague of Fantasies, pp. 95—6).
68. Kelly and Kaplan, ’History, Structure, and Ritual’, p. 135.
69. Butler, Antigone's Claim, p. 22.
Conclusion: living dead or dead-in-life?
1. Gaunt, Martyrs to Love, chapter 5. See also the extended discussion in Machaut's Jugement du roy de Navarre.
2. Žižek, Plague of Fantasies, p. 89, cited in Huot, Madness, p. 137.
3. On norms of masculinity in the Chanson de Roland and in Roland criticism, see Kay, Political Fictions, especially pp. 25—30. Kay's book revises the marginalized position that criticism has awarded to women in the chanson de geste genre.
4. On the point de capiton (’quilting point’, ’anchoring point’), see Lacan, Le Séminaire, livre III, pp. 293—306 (Seminar, Book III, pp. 258—70), and ’Subversion du sujet’.
5. Žižek, For They Know Not, p. 29.
6. Žižek, Tarrying with the Negative, p. 149.
7. Machaut, Le Jugement du roy de Behaigne, ll. 1672—784. The Jugement du roy de Navarre returns to this problematic to emphasize its gendered dimension.
8. L’Éthique, p. 370 (Ethics, p. 321). ’Je ne les distingue pas comme deux espèces humaines — en chacun de nous, il y a la voie tracée pour un héros, et c'est justement comme homme du commun qu'il l'accomplit’ (ibid., p. 368; ’I do not distinguish between them as if they were two different human species. In each of us the path of the hero is traced, and it is precisely as an ordinary man that one follows it to the end’, Ethics, p. 319). Creon rather than Antigone is the model for human life.