Voice and Body: Emotional Proximity and Physical Distance in Marie de France’s ‘Laustic’


Through the lens of feminist theoretical questions and gender studies, this paper explores the relationship between voice and body and the emotional and physical distance that occurs 
between genders in Marie de France’s Laustic. As a medieval woman writer, Marie provides a textual space to examine the emotional closeness and psychological distance that occurs within the patriarchal structure that delineates gender relations within the convention of marriage. This lai or poetic narrative articulates the loss and pain incurred by segregation and the designation of woman as other, as well as the empowering pleasure that can be realised when one’s voice is accepted and heard. The reciprocal space that is created when speaking and listening is equally exchanged transcends physical distance and allows a unique sense of emotional proximity to be established and explored. Although this medieval text offers a perspective which may seem far removed from the present cultural environment, it illuminates the existing affective 
dynamics between men and women with a poignant view of gender relations. Through the combined use of literary and cultural disciplines, this paper will navigate the different ranges of emotional intimacy and psychological detachment between genders in patriarchal social structures.


To read or download this article, please follow this link: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/1469469/

DOI: 10.14324/111.2057-2212.024


body, voice, poetry, feminism, medieval

How to Cite

Zisa, J., (2015) “Voice and Body: Emotional Proximity and Physical Distance in Marie de France’s ‘Laustic’”, Tropos 2(1).







Jessica Zisa




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