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Medieval Woman's Song
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Medieval Woman's Song
Cross-Cultural Approaches

Edited by Anne L. Klinck and Ann Marie Rasmussen

288 pages | 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
Cloth 2001 | ISBN 9780812236248 | $65.00s | Outside the Americas £52.00
Ebook editions are available from selected online vendors
A volume in the Middle Ages Series
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"Klinck and Rasmussen are to be commended for bringing scholars from different languages and disciplines together to discuss a topic of interest to all—women's song. . . . The book will be a useful resource for scholars who want an overview of the period, its various languages, genres, and voices."—Speculum

"Will be of use to all students of medieval literature and feminist theory for its freshness, range, and exemplary use of interdisciplinary methods to illuminate and important part of the medieval literary tradition."—Comitatus

The number of surviving medieval secular poems attributed to named female authors is small, some of the best known being those of the trobairitz the female troubadours of southern France. However, there is a large body of poetry that constructs a particular textual femininity through the use of the female voice. Some of these poems are by men and a few by women (including the trobairitz); many are anonymous, and often the gender of the poet is unresolvable. A "woman's song" in this sense can be defined as a female-voice poem on the subject of love, typically characterized by simple language, sexual candor, and apparent artlessness.

The chapters in Medieval Woman's Song bring together scholars in a range of disciplines to examine how both men and women contributed to this art form. Without eschewing consideration of authorship, the collection deliberately overturns the long-standing scholarly practice of treating as separate and distinct entities female-voice lyrics composed by men and those composed by women. What is at stake here is less the voice of women themselves than its cultural and generic construction.

Anne L. Klinck is Professor Emerita of English at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. She is the author of The Old English Elegies: A Critical Edition and Genre Study.

Ann Marie Rasmussen is Professor of Germanic Languages at Duke University. She is the author of Mothers and Daughters in Medieval German Literature.

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