Place and Movement in the Old French Chanson de Toile

Old French chansons de toile make repeated use of the motif of an enclosed woman dreaming of her escape into a love-match. By examining twelfth- and thirteenth-century theories of place and movement, notably the developments on the concept of the receptacle and of the void, it is possible to suggest new ways of reading these songs as lively explorations of a hackneyed motif. This approach in turn allows the songs to be studied for their reflection of learned culture, rather than as more or less authentic representations of a thirteenth-century court version of women's song.