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Desire by Gender and Genre in Trouvere Song (Hardback)

Imprint: Boydell & Brewer
Pages: 254
ISBN: 9781843841647
Published: 17th July 2008
Casemate UK Academic



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This study brings the songs of the trouveres to an encounter with Lacanian psychoanalytic theories of signification, sexual difference and unconscious desire. In trouvere song desire functions as a means of generic and 'genderic' differentiation. The trouveres distinguished between sexual need or lust and desire, the latter usually confined to the masculine voice in high style. Less exalted persons, in whose company women were already implicitly included, appear as incapable of desire in the fin'amors register.Critics have treated the issue of desire as represented in the courtly chanson but, because criticism has followed the trouveres' distinction between desire and need, discussion of desire has been limited to songs in the courtly register rather than across the system of genres. Desire in Lacan's sense, that is unconscious desire, is present in all genres and voices and this book unearths the unspoken desires of trouvere song by an attention to the characteristic means by which subjects subvert their demands in different genres.

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