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Marie de France and the Poetics of Memory

Logan E. Whalen

Publication Year: 2011

Marie de France and the Poetics of Memory presents the first exhaustive treatment of the rhetorical use of description and memory in all the narrative works of the late 12th-century poet, Marie de France--the first woman to compose literary texts in French.

Published by: The Catholic University of America Press

Title Page, Copyright Page, Dedication

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pp. vii

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pp. ix-xii

This book would not exist without the generous assistance of many people to whom I wish to express my deepest appreciation. First, I wish to thank Keith Busby, whose close reading of early drafts of the manuscript and whose many suggestions, especially...

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pp. 1-7

Marie de France wrote during an auspicious period in the history of French literature. Few literary texts in the vernacular appear before 1150; in the second half of the century works in French are abundant. Between the Serments de Strasbourg in 842...

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1. Marie de France’s Rhetorical Foundation

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pp. 9-33

Twelfth-century France witnessed an unprecedented production of literary texts written in the French vernacular. Like other major authors who wrote in French during this linguistically transitional epoch, such as Wace, Benoît de Sainte-Maure, and Chrétien...

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2. The Prologues and the Epilogues

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pp. 35-60

To avoid possible confusion, the fifty-six-line prologue that precedes Marie de France’s Lais in the Harley 978 manuscript of the British Library is often referred to in contemporary critical discourse as the “General Prologue,” which distinguishes it from...

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3. The Lais

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pp. 61-101

As noted in chapter 2, Harley 978 in the British Library, London, is the only manuscript containing all twelve of Marie de France’s lais.1 Guigemar’s position as the first lai in the collection, preceded only by the General Prologue, strategically emphasizes...

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4. The Fables

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pp. 103-135

The thirteenth and fourteenth centuries saw a pronounced increase in the number of manuscripts containing Isopets, or collections of Aesopic fables from the Greek Phaedrean tradition that were accessible to medieval French authors through Latin adaptations...

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5. The Espurgatoire seint Patriz and La vie seinte Audree

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pp. 137-173

Marie de France’s Lais and Fables reveal a poetics of memory through vocabulary that implicitly or explicitly evokes this aspect of literary topical invention, and through a plan of detailed descriptions that render objects and events visible to the imagination,...

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pp. 175-179

Marie de France’s use of descriptio and her concern with memory reveal a proficient training in the medieval arts of poetry and prose. Descriptio and memoria, two essential elements of topical invention, entered medieval instruction in literary composition...

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Appendix A. Priscian’s Institutiones grammaticae and Praeexercitamina

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pp. 181-183

The following passages are taken from Heinrich Keil, ed. Grammatici Latini, 8 vols. (Leipzig, 1855–80; reprint, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1961). Martin Hertz has edited the Institutiones grammaticae in this collection, vols. 2 and 3, and Keil has edited the Opera minora (including...

Appendix B. Table of Extant Medieval Manuscripts of Marie de France’s Isopet

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pp. 184-185


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pp. 187-198


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pp. 199-208

E-ISBN-13: 9780813217055
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813215099

Page Count: 223
Publication Year: 2011