Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Classical and Modern Languages

Committee Chair

Pfeffer, Wendy E.


Marie, de France, active 12th century--Criticism and interpretation; Clothing and dress in literature


Through an analysis of Guigemar, Lanval, and Laustic, I show how Marie incorporates textiles into her stories to subvert tropes of misogynistic authority and to assert equality and independence, and to invert traditional gender roles. In Guigemar, a wife uses female knowledge as healing. While keeping her lover tightly-bound through a symbolic exchange, she instructs him in the art of love and ensures his fidelity to her. In Lanval a mysterious Fairy Queen bestows her love upon the receptive and willing Lanval, enacting a reversal of gender stereotypes. From the onset of their relationship she takes on a masculine role and uses feminine sexuality to highlight her exoticism through her erotic dress. In Laustic a wife rescues her lover from her husband’s jealousy by sending him a dead nightingale in embroidered silk. This lai parallels Ovid’s “Philomena” as the heroines in both stories use textiles to relay a message.