1st Edition

Literary Hybrids Indeterminacy in Medieval & Modern French Narrative

By Erika E. Hess Copyright 2004
    220 Pages
    by Routledge

    224 Pages
    by Routledge

    Much like the fantastic marginalia of medieval illuminated manuscripts, medieval and modern hybrid characters-including werewolves, serpent women, and wild men-function as a frame, critiquing the discourses that run through their texts. In Literary Hybrids, Erika Hess provides a close reading of one such hybrid-the female cross-dresser in thirteenth-century French romance-examining the interplay between physical and narrative ambiguity. Hess argues that the hybrid figure in medieval and contemporary French literature challenges the traditionally accepted natural order, upsets rational thinking, and underscores a concern with totalizing discourses or perspectives.

    Acknowledgments Chapter 1. Introduction: Narrative Apertures and Physical Hybridism-The Questioning of Authoritative Meaning The Origins of the Medieval Marvelous Philosophical Negation and the Monstrous The Demotion of the Monster and Its Contemporary Resurgence Methodology and Theoretical Concerns Four Hybrid Types Chapter 2. Passing for True: Gender As Performance in Le Roman De Silence and L'enfant De Sable The Construction of Gender The Law of the Father Inscription: Naming and Clothing Adolescence: The Challenge to a Dual Gender Identity Passing Staging Representation Chapter 3. Parallel Ambiguities: Narrative and Generic The Reader's Double Perspective Linguistic and Narrative Ambiguities in the Roman de Silence Linguistic and Narrative Ambiguities in L'Enfant de sable Chapter 4. The Ultimate Challenge to the Primacy of the Sexed Body The Unveiling The Cultural Creation of Gender The Possibility of a Body Constructed by Performance The Cultural Construction of Sex Feminism and the (Anti-)Essentialism Debates Multiple Readers/Multiple Readings Sexual-Generic Ambiguity and Narrative Openendedness Chapter 5. Conclusion: The Hybrid As Frame The Hybrid Figure: A Challenge to the Natural Order The Literary Hybrid As Cultural Metaphor Notes Bibliography


    Erika E. Hess received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages from the University of Oregon in 2000. She currently teaches French at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.