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The Penn Press list for spring 2021 includes hardcover releases, first-time paperbacks, and ebook editions intended for scholars, students, and serious general readers worldwide. Click here to explore our forthcoming books, grouped by subject area.

The Loving Subject
Desire, Eloquence, and Power in Romanesque France

Gerald A. Bond

296 pages | 6 x 9 | 2 illus.
Ebook 2016 | ISBN 9781512800821 | Buy from De Gruyter $79.95 | €69.95 | £70.50
This book is available under special arrangement from our European publishing partner De Gruyter.
An Anniversary Collection volume

"The Loving Subject views the impetus for the emergence of high-medieval secular society as an intense ideological controversy over desire and eloquence within a struggle for power and authority. Particularly for that, for his blazing and persuasive arguments, and for his accomplished and polished prose, we owe Bond a debt of gratitude."—Speculum

"This book fills a definite need, not solely in opening up to the general scholarly public the Latin literature of late eleventh-century France but even more in presenting this literature within the context of a major new argument about developments that took place in that time and place that have had a lasting effect on Western culture. . . . [It] represents an enormous amount of research in an ill-mapped territory—and an even greater amount of deep thought about that territory."—Jan Ziolkowski, Harvard University.

Gerald Bond explores the rise of a new secular identity that took place in French elite culture at the turn of the twelfth century. While the period is widely recognized as pivotal, and much revisionary work has been done on it, Bond notes that in order to see the changes in the conception of the private secular self the focus must be shifted away from epics and saints' lives, the traditional targets of literary inquiry, to lyric, letters, and marginal texts and images.

Such texts and images can be found at regional courts reasonably independent of the weak and limited monarchy and at schools far removed from the traditional Christian curriculum, where a new and distinctly secular group contested inherited values of class, gender, and person and created distinct patterns and codes of dress, behavior, talk, and pleasure. Translating and using sources that for the most part have never been explored, Bond examines the Bayeux Tapestry and such figures as Marbod of Rennes, Baudri of Bourgueil, William of Poitiers, and Adela of Blois to frame a complex view of the contested reconception of the secular self and its value.

Gerald A. Bond is Emeritus Professor of French and German at the University of Rochester.

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