Violent women and the blurring of gender in some medieval narratives

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter focuses on literary depictions of women's attempts to challenge the phallocentric patriarchal society and resist the masculine established order by displaying violent or even murderous behavior toward men in French medieval literature. I contend that such brutal scenes were often cloaked as comic narratives and were perceived by the readers as nothing more than fiction - literary events that would never be seen in reality. I discuss the blurred boundaries between masculine and feminine behavior as they are dealt with in the twelfth-century romance Cligès by Chrétien de Troyes, Fénice's fausse mort, Lai d'I- guanré, by Renaut, and the Hebrew Tale of Old Bearded Achbor by Yaakov Ben Elazar.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBlurred Boundaries and Deceptive Dichotomies in Pre-Modern Texts and Images
Subtitle of host publicationCulture, Society and Reception
Publisherde Gruyter
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9783111243894
ISBN (Print)9783111243566
StatePublished - 18 Dec 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston. All rights reserved.


  • Adultery
  • Cligès
  • Courtly love literature
  • Fausse mort
  • Fin'amor
  • Gender
  • Herodotus
  • Lysistrata
  • Sex strike


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