This is the first of the essays I’ve read in Gender Transgressions: Crossing the Normative Barrier in Old French Literature–and I love it. Unfortunately, what makes the article so great is what makes it irrelevant to my thesis project: it is an alternate reading of the canonic text the Roman de la Rose, positing that the central romance of the work occurs between two male figures rather than between a male and female figure. The argument is made chiefly by decoding the undoubtedly coded language used in the work, chiefly words like rose (literally “rose” but possible code for “penis”) and baiser (literally “kiss” but possible code for “sex” or “fuck”) and citing instances that attest to a deep love between the two allegorical male characters. The argument is presented very well, but the fact remains that sexuality and gender are two distinct concepts that I will need to keep separate in my mind. There was a clear benefit to the article, though, in that it challenged the automatic gendered assumptions people make that affect their conception of how a story is supposed to grow. This was more in reference to heteronormativity and European conceptions of gender roles in romance, but it was helpful nonetheless.
Published by transmedievalist
I am a student at a small liberal arts college on the East Coast of the United States, working on a thesis combining studies in the fields of French Studies, Medieval Studies, Gender Studies, and Music. I am non-binary and identify as a member of the trans+ community. I prefer to be called T in English and Thé in French--my pronouns are they/them/theirs. When I'm not researching, I enjoy singing in choirs (both medieval music and not), running, knitting, and teaching small children. Questions about this? Feel free to ask! View all posts by transmedievalist