What does it mean to have a feminine voice in a literary world dominated by male authors? What would it mean for the contemporary reader of ancient and medieval texts to be responsive to the distinctiveness of the feminine voice? This article addresses these questions by focusing on an eleventh-century epistolary exchange between the poet and clergyman Baudri of Bourgueil and Constance, a young nun at Le Ronceray Abbey in Angers. This amatory correspondence develops through a dialogue with a multiplicity of voices that are part of the classical erotic tradition. Examining the intertextual web created by these letters, the essay shows why intertextuality is a key for deciphering a text’s articulation of the feminine.
Sexuality as Intertextuality: The Fluidity of the Gendered Voice in Baudri of Bourgueil and Constance of Angers
vered lev kenaan is a professor of classics and comparative literature at the University of Haifa, Israel. Her publications include Pandora’s Senses: The Feminine Character of the Ancient Text (Wisconsin University Press, 2008) and The Ancient Unconscious: Psychoanalysis and the Classics (Oxford University Press, 2019).