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The Heart as Witness: Lyric and Romance

The Heart as Witness: Lyric and Romance

Chapter:
(p.87) Chapter Three The Heart as Witness: Lyric and Romance
Source:
The Subject of Crusade
Author(s):
Marisa Galvez
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226693491.003.0004

This chapter examines the courtly crusade idiom in romance. In the Roman du Castelain de Couci et la dame de Fayel, the insertion of the Châtelain de Couci’s crusade departure lyric “A vous, amant” (“To all you lovers”) into the romance materializes the figure of the separate heart. A version of the eaten-heart legend, the romance ends with the lady unknowingly served the heart of her lover by the cuckolded husband as an act of revenge. The romance portrays the Châtelain's conversion as an unrepentant idiom, particularly in its self-conscious mode of bearing witness to the earthly love that inspires his crusade; it also demonstrates a concern with material witnesses, both through physical objects and through the lady’s protest as a witness of true love. This emphasis on the material witness of the idiom parallels the “cultural shift” during this period concerning relics. Finally, the chapter compares the lamentation of the Dame in the romance with vernacular crusade lyrics from the female perspective: both articulate a resistance to crusade.

Keywords:   Roman du Castelain de Couci et la dame de Fayel, female crusade lyric, eaten heart, witness, relics, Châtelain de Couci, romance, lamentation, resistance

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