The number of surviving medieval secular poems attributed to named female authors is small, some of the best known being those of the trobairitz the female troubadours of southern France. However, there is a large body of poetry that constructs a particular textual femininity through the use of the female voice. Some of these poems are by men and a few by women (including the trobairitz); many are anonymous, and often the gender of the poet is unresolvable. A "woman's song" in this sense can be defined as a female-voice poem on the subject of love, typically characterized by simple language, sexual candor, and apparent artlessness.
The chapters in Medieval Woman's Song bring together scholars in a range of disciplines to examine how both men and women contributed to this art form. Without eschewing consideration of authorship, the collection deliberately overturns the long-standing scholarly practice of treating as separate and distinct entities female-voice lyrics composed by men and those composed by women. What is at stake here is less the voice of women themselves than its cultural and generic construction.
List of Abbreviations Introduction —Anne L. Klinck Chapter 1 Sappho and Her Daughters: Some Parallels Between Ancient and Medieval Woman's Song —Anne L. Klinck Chapter 2 Ides geomrode giddum: The Old English Female Lament —Pat Belanoff Chapter 3 Women's Performance of the Lyric Before 1500 —Susan Boynton Chapter 4 Ca no soe joglaresa: Women and Music in Medieval Spain's Three Cultures —Judith R. Cohen Chapter 5 Feminine Voices in the Galician-Portuguese cantigas de amigo —Esther Corral Chapter 6 Sewing like a Girl: Working Women in the chansons de toile —E. Jane Burns Chapter 7 Fictions of the Female Voice: The Women Troubadours —Matilda Tomaryn Bruckner Chapter 8 The Conception of Female Roles in the Woman's Song of Reinmar and the Comtessa de Dia —Ingrid Kasten Chapter 9 Reason and the Female Voice in Walther von der Vogelweide's Poetry —Ann Marie Rasmussen Chapter 10 Ventriloquisms: When Maidens Speak in English Songs, c. 1300-1550Judith M. Bennett
Notes List of Contributors Index Acknowledgments
Anne L. Klinck is Professor Emerita of English at the University of New Brunswick, Canada. She is the author of The Old English Elegies: A Critical Edition and Genre Study. Ann Marie Rasmussen is Professor of Germanic Languages at Duke University. She is the author of Mothers and Daughters in Medieval German Literature.
"Klinck and Rasmussen are to be commended for bringing scholars from different languages and disciplines together to discuss a topic of interest to all-women's song. . . . The book will be a useful resource for scholars who want an overview of the period, its various languages, genres, and voices."—Speculum
"Will be of use to all students of medieval literature and feminist theory for its freshness, range, and exemplary use of interdisciplinary methods to illuminate and important part of the medieval literary tradition."—Comitatus