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The Medieval French Pastourelle TraditionPoetic Motivations and Generic Transformations$
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Geri L. Smith

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813033365

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813033365.001.0001

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The Medieval French Pastourelle

The Medieval French Pastourelle

(p.17) Chapter 1 The Medieval French Pastourelle
The Medieval French Pastourelle Tradition

Geri L. Smith

University Press of Florida

This chapter presents an overview of the thirteenth-century French pastourelle's principal structuring elements and subject matter, touching upon the genre's apparent preoccupations and possible socioliterary raison d'être. At the heart of the critical questions surrounding the pastourelle is its volatile mingling of humor, violence, and sex, built on the intersection of gender and class difference. Such elements as the interplay of physicality, speech, and silence feed into the pastourelle's central theme, which is, ultimately, the theme of power. This chapter also considers ways in which the pastourelle hints at certain paradoxes in the courtly love code and lyric discourse, and how it may convey overarching anxieties stemming from changes afoot in French society during this period. It considers the pastourelle in light of evolving literary systems and changing cultural circumstances, audience ideology, intergeneric influences, and intertextuality.

Keywords:   Medieval French, pastourelle, courtly love, power, humor, violence, sex, audience ideology, gender, class difference

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