Category Archives: Gender and Literature

How to seduce a knight

This blog provides a rough guide to seducing a paragon of chivalry, bringing him to your feet – and to your bed – resulting in displays of chivalry by day and nights of exhausting pleasure. Caution: only a truly mighty night can endure this routine for long. But then, nothing prevents a damsel from abandoning the exhausted hero in favour of the next prey.

The formula is time-proven and recorded in at least two medieval romances, that of Sir Lanval (variously known as Sir Launfal and Sir Landevale), which contains a formula of successful seduction, and of Sir Perceval (the Lancelot-Graal cycle version entitled La Queste del saint graal), which offers a cautionary tale of failed seduction. Continue reading

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Publication en ligne – Bulletin du Centre d’études médiévales d’Auxerre, 20/1, 2016

Originally posted on
Bulletin du Centre d’études médiévales d’Auxerre, 20/1, 2016. Publication en ligne accessible ici : Table des matières : Recherche active Mathieu Béghin et Francesca Rapone – La voirie médiévale du site de la Citadelle…

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Knights and Stallions

‘In the days of Chivalry it was deemed a disgrace to ride upon a mare, and no greater indignity could be inflicted on a recreant Knight than to cause him to be placed upon one’ (Lady Charlotte Guest, The Mabinogion, 1838, vol. 1). Did you ever wonder why a knight could never ride a mare and be considered a man? Was it because the patriarchal, male-dominated chivalry admitted no female to its inner circles of power, even if that female was equine? Or should the narrative of homosocial bonding and rampant feminism be abandoned in favour of a more mundane – or indeed, of a more exotic – explanation? Was it even true that the western male elite rode only stallions, never mares, geldings or mules? Continue reading

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Sir Percival on a Desert Island: A Foucauldian Perspective on the ‘Queste del Saint Graal’

My absolute favourite among the Grail quest romances, old and new, the thirteenth-century ‘Queste del Saint Graal’, contains a curious and slightly kinky episode. Sir Percival, moored on a desert island, fights dragons, despair and all sorts of dangers and … Continue reading

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