Added: June 4, 2016 – Last updated: June 4, 2016


Author: Clarissa M. Harris

Title: Rape Narratives, Courtly Critique, and the Pedagogy of Sexual Negotiation in the Middle English Pastourelle

Subtitle: -

Journal: Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Volume: 46

Issue: 2

Year: May 2016

Pages: 263-287

ISSN: 1082-9636 – Find a Library: WordCat | eISSN: 1527-8263 – Find a Library: WordCat

Language: English

Keywords: Medieval History | European History: English History | Representations: Literary Texts


Link: Duke University Press (Restricted Access)


Author: Clarissa Harris, Department of English, Temple University

Abstract: »This essay focuses on Middle English pastourelles, a popular but understudied medieval lyric genre centrally concerned with women's experiences of the threat of sexual violence. This genre offers contemporary audiences a rich and valuable resource for understanding medieval ideas about rape and resistance. The pastourelles closely echo the language of courtly love lyrics and thus function as a critique of courtly ideology, for they expose its violent denial of women's erotic subjectivity. Some pastourelles feature antirape pedagogical methods familiar to modern educators, including peer education models and the use of risk avoidance discourse. The genre's narrative diversity and pedagogical possibilities are particularly evident in a unit of three pastourelles copied in the early sixteenth-century Welles Anthology along with male-voiced poems of courtly love and misogynist vitriol and female-voiced erotic lyrics, demonstrating how the pastourelle can reinforce certain rape myths, authorize women's desire, and challenge courtly paradigms.« (Source: Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies)

Wikipedia: History of Europe: History of England | Literature: English literature / Middle English literature