Transforming Tales: Rewriting Metamorphosis in Medieval French Literature

ISBN : 9780199686988

Miranda Griffin
288 Pages
151 x 223 mm
Pub date
Aug 2015
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Transforming Tales argues that the study of transformation is crucial for understanding a wide range of canonical work in medieval French literature. From the lais and Arthurian romances of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, through the Roman de la Rose and its widespread influence, to the fourteenth-century Ovide moralise and the vast prose cycles of the late Middle Ages, metamorphosis is a recurrent theme, resulting in some of the best-known and most powerful literature of the era. Transforming Tales is the first book in English to explore in detail the importance of ideas of metamorphosis in French literature from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. This book's purpose is twofold: it traces a series of figures (the werewolf, the snake-woman, the nymph, the magician, amongst others) as they are transformed within individual texts; and it also examines the way in which the stories of transformation themselves become rewritten during the course of the Middle Ages. Griffin's approach combines close readings and comparisons of literary texts with readings informed by modern critical theories which are grounded in many of the ideas raised by medieval metamorphosis: the body, gender, identity and categories of life. Literary depictions and reworkings of transformation raise questions about medieval understandings of the differences between human and animal, man and woman, God and man, life and death-these are the questions explored in Transforming Tales.


Introduction: Rewriting Metamorphosis
1. Dismembering Ovid
2. Reflecting on Echo
3. The Beast Without
4. Sex and the Serpent
5. Now you see him ... : The Metamorphoses of Merlin
Conclusion: The Stuff that Dreams are Made on

About the author: 

After a comprehensive education in Wiltshire, Miranda Griffin completed her undergraduate and graduate education at Cambridge. She has taught in Cambridge, London, and Oxford; and has been a Fellow of St Catharine's College, Cambridge since 2007. Her first book, The Object and the Cause in the Vulgate Cycle was published by Legenda in 2005.

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