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Performing Women in the Middle Ages : Sex, Gender, and the Medieval Iberian Lyric - Denise K. Filios

Performing Women in the Middle Ages

Sex, Gender, and the Medieval Iberian Lyric

Hardcover Published: 8th March 2005
ISBN: 9781403967305
Number Of Pages: 262

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Unruly women constantly speak out in lyric poetry, their voices brought to life in the bodies of female singers, dancers, and instrumentalists. Performing Women is the first book-length study of female performers in Galician-Portuguese and Castilian comic-satiric poetry. Filios reconstructs medieval women's oral performances by bringing modern ethnographic work and performance theory to bear on literary and historical evidence. Filios explores how women's performances (and men's impersonations of women) contributed to the construction of the court, the marketplace, and the countryside as cultural spaces defined by certain acts, discourses, and conflicts. She argues that poetic portraits of sexually aggressive courtesans, bread sellers, and mountain women allowed elite men to portray their own sexuality as transgressive and to adopt temporarily a female identity, enabling them to speak and act as a degraded other. While these portraits may be misogynistic, they also demonstrate that poets appreciated marginalized women's characters, placing speeches overtly critical of dominant power structures in their mouths and constructing imaginary communities around them. Men wrote these characters, women appropriated them, ironically performing as themselves. By situating medieval lyric poems in their dialogic performance context, this study demonstrates the centrality female performers in poetic spectacles.

"This book is a magisterial synthesis and a major step forward for work on lyric poetry in Iberia and across medieval Europe...A wonderfully fresh and bracing contribution to medieval studies."-George D. Greenia, College of William and Mary, editor of La coronica

"Performing Women provides a bold, new contribution to our appreciation of Medieval Spanish lyric poetry. Drawing on models of gender and performance theory, Denise Filios explores a wide variety of ways in which women are figured in comic-obscene and comic-erotic texts. This is an important study that both illuminates individual texts and reconstructs for the modern reader a wealth of cultural contexts that are essential to our understanding of this influential poetic form." - Marina Brownlee, Princeton University

"I will certainly place the book on my department's graduate reading list and suggest that students read it with close attention. All in all it is a strong, ambitious first book that opens up new approaches to understanding the way the medieval lyric functioned and was constructed in society." - E. Michael Gerli, University of Virginia

Introduction : female voices in the medieval lyricp. 1
Performing women in medieval Iberian poetic spectacles : history and theoryp. 9
Soldadeiras' deviant performances and poets' counterposes : courtly play in the Cantigas d'escarnho e de mal dizerp. 33
Negotiating worth and selling sex : Panaderas as marketplace oratorsp. 83
Monstrosity in the mountains, courtesy at court : contesting space in poems on Serranasp. 129
Conclusion : playing with identity in lyric performancesp. 179
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9781403967305
ISBN-10: 140396730X
Series: The New Middle Ages
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 262
Published: 8th March 2005
Publisher: Palgrave USA
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.5 x 15.5  x 1.96
Weight (kg): 0.56
Edition Number: 1