The Un-Human Femme Bisclavret: Monstrous Misuses of the Disunion between Secular and Religious Culture in Marie de France’s 'Bisclavret'
While much of the recent scholarship on Bisclavret has focused on its unusual treatment of the werewolf motif, the more telling character of the story is actually the wife whose abuse of language subverts the major cultural constructs of which she is a part and recasts her as the true monster of the story. Freeman notices the significance of the wife but focuses primarily on the subversion of secular courtly culture. Meanwhile, Stypczynksi and Bruckner are more interested in the religious atmosphere and tone of the short lai. While each approach is useful in its own right, this paper puts the two together in order to develop a more complete understanding of the function that the wife serves as both a product and subverting agent of her time. Building off of Kristeva’s theories of the abject, this paper identifies key points in the text at which the wife subverts both religious and courtly language and uses the disunion between the two against one another in order to achieve her own ends, thus revealing the potential for misuse inherent in a conflicted society.
Bennett, Santidad, "The Un-Human Femme Bisclavret: Monstrous Misuses of the Disunion between Secular and Religious Culture in Marie de France’s 'Bisclavret'" (2011). Honors Student Works. 6.
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