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Madness in Medieval French Literature – Identities Found and Lost - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Madness in Medieval French Literature: Identities Found and Lost

Sylvia Huot


This book examines the literary representation of madness in a series of medieval French texts, including both romance and hagiography. The study covers both ‘genuine’ madmen and ‘holy fools’, for whom madness is actually a veil for penance or sanctity. Madness afflicts the greatest heroes of the Arthurian world — Lancelot and Tristan — as well as numerous other chivalric figures. Overall, medieval French texts depict a wide range of attitudes towards madness: it may reflect nobility and refinement, heroic or spiritual transcendence, tragic impairment, comic ineptitude, or sinful degradation. ... More

Keywords: medieval French literature, madness in literature, medieval romance, hagiography, holy fool

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2003 Print ISBN-13: 9780199252121
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199252121.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Sylvia Huot, author
Reader in Medieval French Literature, and Fellow, Pembroke College, Cambridge
Author Webpage