Johnson 1993 Desir

Title Information

Author: Annette M. Johnson

Title: L'expression du désir sexuel dans le "Dit de la pastoure" de Christine de Pizan

Subtitle: -

Thesis: M.A. Thesis, McMaster University

Year: April 1993

Pages: vii + 111pp.

Language: French

Keywords: 15th Century | French History | Representations: Literature / Christine de Pizan

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Link: MacSphere (Free Access)

Additional Information


»This work explores the expression of female sexual desires in the pastourelle. As female sexuality remains to this day a "dark continent", it is necessary to turn to the Middle Ages, when the concept of love, and consequently of sexuality, that would dominate western civilization, was first established. The pastourelle was predominantly used by male poets, and thus Christine de Pizan's pastourelle provides a rare glimpse of the feminine perspective within the male discourse of the pastoral genre.
The first chapter examines the pastourelle as a literary genre. In the first part of this chapter, questions as to its origins and definition are set forth. The second part deals with the subject and themes expressed in this genre. The final part concerns the existence of the pastoral and how it distinguishes itself from the pastourelle.
In Chapters 2 and 3 I discuss Christine de Pizan's life and works as well as her feelings about the treatment of women in her society, and in particular about the tenuous position they held within the courtly system.
The fourth chapter raises the question of sexual violence present in 18% of the pastourelles as well as the potential for rape in all of the pastourelles. This element of sexual violence, or potential rape, remains a point of contention. Some scholars have interpreted it in terms of sexual aggression against women, with the poem itself constituting an act of aggression. Others see it as pure erotic fantasy that remains unfulfilled, thus rendering the pastourelle a poetic joke, with no reference to actual historic sexual violence. In this chapter, I examine both points of view.
The final chapter looks at how Christine de Pizan uses this literary genre in order to express her own ideas about female sexual desires and love. Unable to create an alternative to the male gender system, Christine's expression of sexual desires are paralleled by a feeling of anguish and anxiety. This chapter discusses the ambivalence in female sexual expression and its inevitable culmination in the desire to die.
Is the equivalence between sexual desire and the desire for death a tragic inevitability when a woman tries to express herself within a male gender system? Is it a sign of rnasochism? The present study does not claim to answer these questions, but merely to suggest that an ambivalence in female sexual expression in medieval I!yric exists and should be further researched if we wish to have a new understanding of female sexuality.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. 3)
  Remerciements (p. v)
  Introduction (p. 1)
  Chapitre 1: La pastourelle (p. 4)
    Origines et définitions de la pastourelle (p. 4)
    Thèmes (p. 11)
    La pastorale (p. 18)
  Chapitre 2: Christine de Pizan (p. 26)
    L'Amour chez Christine de Pizan (p. 30)
    Revendications de la Femme (p. 34)
    Sur l'enseignement, la politique et l'Histoire (p. 36)
    Le Travail de Christine de Pizan (p. 40)
  Chapitre 3: Perspectives de Christine de Pizan: La condition féminine (p. 43)
    Contraintes sociales (p. 43)
    La Courtoisie et ses contraintes (p. 47)
    Conseils de Christine de Pizan aux femmes: Conseils pratiques (p. 53)
    L'idéal de Christine de Pizan (p. 57)
  Chapitre 4: Le viol dans la pastourelle (p. 59)
  Chapitre 5: L'expression du désir sexual féminin (p. 70)
    Marote: bergère ou dame? (p. 74)
    La dualité chez Christine de Pizan (p. 80)
    Marote: Porte-Parole de Christine de Pizan (p. 83)
    L'expression du désir dans le "Dit de la Pastoure" Un amour idyllique (p. 85)
    L'expression du désire (p. 89)
    L'angoisse et l'anxiété dans l'expression du désir (p. 93)
  Conclusion (p. 105)
  Bibliographie (p. 109)

Wikipedia: Christine de Pizan

Added: November 22, 2014 – Last updated: November 22, 2014