Harvey, Ruth Elizabeth (1986)
Aspects of the poetic treatment of love and female figures in the works of the troubadour Marcabru.
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Since the poems of Marcabru contain criticisms of twelfth-century aristocratic society, an attempt has been made initially to determine, as far as this is possible, his place in and relationship to that society. Marcabru's representation of female figures is considered in the light of the contrast he establishes between true and false love, itself an aspect of an ideological and poetic conflict with contemporary troubadours concerning the nature of love and its expression in lyric poetry. This theme of the dichotomy of love pervades Marcabru's works. The means by which it finds expression are explored through consideration of the vocabulary, images and sources on which the troubadour draws in order to convey approbation of finamors and condemnation of false love. Several of the studies focus on individual poems (PC 293, 31; 44; 25; 26; 15), of particular interest for the striking and detailed depictions of love and women which they contain: in analysing these songs in detail, reference is made to other songs where these elucidate particular ideas or images, and consideration is given to elements deriving from learned Christian orthodoxy and especially its misogynist tradition. Examination of apparently unorthodox uses of courtly terminology and lyric commonplaces suggests that these also are employed by Marcabru to convey his consistently radical view. Dejeanne's edition of Marcabru's works has been taken as a basis for this investigation, and attention is also paid to proposed corrections to this edition, recent partial re-editions and to the manuscript readings. In all cases account has been taken of previous interpretations and of the development of critical opinion concerning Marcabru's works. These studies are intended to complement existing work by attempting to elucidate the conception of love of this complex and influential troubadour through an investigation of his treatment of a number of representative female figures.
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Institution: University of London, Royal Holloway College (United Kingdom).