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Gilbert, Jane, 1964-
Living death in medieval French and English literature / Jane Gilbert
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, c2011
book jacket
Location Call Number Status
 4th Floor  PR275.D43 G56 2011    AVAILABLE
Subject(s) English literature -- Middle English, 1100-1500 -- History and criticism
French literature -- To 1500 -- History and criticism
Death in literature
Dead in literature
Death -- Political aspects
Death -- Moral and ethical aspects
Existentialism in literature
Ethics in literature
Physical Description viii, 283 p. ; 24 cm
Note Includes bibliographical references (p. 253-278) and index
Contents Introduction: living death -- 1. Roland and the second death -- 2. The knight as thing: courtly love in the non-cyclic prose Lancelot -- 3. The Ubi Sunt topos in Middle French: sad stories of the death of kings -- 4. Ceci n'est pas une marguerite: anamorphosis in Pearl -- 5. Becoming woman in Chaucer: on ne naƮt pas femme, on le devient en mourant -- Conclusion: living dead or dead-in-life?
Summary "Medieval literature contains many figures caught at the interface between life and death - the dead return to place demands on the living, while the living foresee, organize or desire their own deaths. Jane Gilbert's original study examines the ways in which certain medieval literary texts, both English and French, use these 'living dead' to think about existential, ethical and political issues. In doing so, she shows powerful connections between works otherwise seen as quite disparate, including Chaucer's Book of the Duchess and Legend of Good Women, the Chanson de Roland and the poems of Francois Villon. Written for researchers and advanced students of medieval French and English literature, this book provides original, provocative interpretations of canonical medieval texts in the light of influential modern theories, especially Lacanian psychoanalysis, presented in an accessible and lively way"-- Provided by publisher
"This book is about the ways in which certain medieval literary texts use death, dying and the dead to think about problems relating to life - problems political, social, ethical, philosophical or existential. More specifically, it is about the dynamic interface between life and death and about figures caught at that interface, hence 'living death'. There are ghosts and revenants who, although dead, actively speak and will, disturbing the properly living. And there are those who while alive exist under a deathly shadow that forecloses their engagement with life and isolates them from their fellows. Vampires, ghosts and zombies are currently fashionable in popular culture; in literary criticism, tropes of the interstitial, the intermediary or the 'third' are in vogue. What I have attempted to do in this book is to use some of the latter - in particular, Lacan's notion of l'entre-deux-morts - to think through some medieval examples of phenomena related to the former: dead who return to place demands on the living; living who foresee, organize or desire their own deaths"-- Provided by publisher
Series Cambridge studies in medieval literature ; 84

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