Et li estrange et li prive: Privacy and community in the works of Marie de France and Chretien de Troyes. Christine Schellenberg Thuau

ISBN: 9781109081091

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216 pages


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Et li estrange et li prive: Privacy and community in the works of Marie de France and Chretien de Troyes.  by  Christine Schellenberg Thuau

Et li estrange et li prive: Privacy and community in the works of Marie de France and Chretien de Troyes. by Christine Schellenberg Thuau
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This project is a broadly-focused examination of how we might approach studying privacy in medieval French literature. It is a commonplace of privacy studies to suggest that privacy---particularly personal and familial privacy---is an invention ofMoreThis project is a broadly-focused examination of how we might approach studying privacy in medieval French literature. It is a commonplace of privacy studies to suggest that privacy---particularly personal and familial privacy---is an invention of the (early) modern period whose appearance can be dated and localized to a specific era and milieu.

My own approach is to suggest, on the contrary, that it was various modes of privacy which constituted the norm of social existence during the medieval period, and that if anything was invented or rediscovered during those centuries it was instead the concept of the public. My main foci in terms of literary criticism are Marie de Frances Lais and Chretien de Troyes romances, but I preface discussion of these works with a interior space took place after the millennium which inform the depictions of privacy found in these texts of the later twelfth century.

In the chapters devoted to the Lais and the romances, I look both at the authors explicit evocation of privacy through use of the term prive and its cognates, and at how Marie and Chretien address the problem of privacy indirectly via thematic considerations of secrecy, conspiracy, community and introspection. The concluding chapter explores briefly how a nascent mode of personal privacy which is often characterized as problematic in Maries and Chretiens works came to be mediated in late medieval French society through complex social rituals and codes governing not only direct social intercourse, but also reading, writing and devotional practices.

I look here at various passages from two texts written around the turn of the fifteenth century (Christine de Pizans Livre du duc des vrais amans and the Mesnagier de Paris) as well as at the history of the Book of Hours, a contemporary cultural object which both enabled and mediated personal privacy in a way that recalls the aesthetic of publication which dominates the conclusions of many of Maries Lais.



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