The Invention of Literary Subjectivity (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)

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9780801859670: The Invention of Literary Subjectivity (Parallax: Re-visions of Culture and Society)

In the course of the thirteenth century, writers in France discovered literary subjectivity. It was not the introspection of philosophy, or the confession of a soul, or the vanity of a memoir. Rather, the subjectivity they disclosed was the play between personality and the page. The discovery allowed differences of individual opinion and perspective which, when expressed through literary means, raised issues of history, of truth and evidence, and ultimately, of authority. The "I" of thirteenth-century literature became an arena of invention, exploration, and expansion, as a simple literary convention developed into an array of new genres open to still newer ideas and to the enhanced recognition of precedents in the classics of Greece and Rome.

In The Invention of Literary Subjectivity, Michel Zink examines these developments by looking anew at the French Arthurian tradition and the Roman de la Rose. He traces the rise of subjectivity in the lyrics of the French medieval period and examines both biographies and histories written by Abelard, Raymond Lulle, and Joinville. Between the realms of allegory and the claims of royal privilege, between the spiritual inheritance of scriptures and the secular appeal of epics and songs, Zink observes, a literature emerged that delighted in expressing personality and points of view.

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About the Author:

Michel Zink holds the chair of Literatures of Medieval France at the Collège de France. He was professor of medieval French literature at the University of Toulouse and at the Sorbonne, and he has been a visiting professor at at universities throughout the United States and Europe, including the University of Constance, the Johns Hopkins University, the University of California, Berkeley, and at Yale University. David Sices is a translator who lives in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Language Notes:

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French

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