While medieval literature offers many models of solitary thinking, vernacular lyric confronts the problem of solitude in a unique mode, grappling and coping with this phenomenon that gives shape and texture to ambivalence and vexation. Comparing the event of lyric dispossession with Petrarch’s idea of solitude, this essay examines solitary presence as a musicopoetic art form across various vernacular traditions, from the Occitan works of Bernart de Ventadorn, William IX, and Arnaut Daniel to lyrics of the Iberian Peninsula, including the Mozarabic kharja (final stanzas of poems written in Arabic or Hebrew in the Romance dialect of Andalusia) and a Galician-Portuguese cantiga d’amigo (songs in which a young girl laments the absence of her lover). Lyric dispossession can affirm female desire despite its dominance as a male solitary presence in the courtly tradition. In the poetic dynamics of the muwashshah, discourses of dispossession compete through the interaction of different languages and social registers. The muwashshah poetics illuminates how the female-voiced solitary presence is maintained not only in the cantiga d’amigo but also in other genres such as trobairitz cansos and Old French crusade departure lyrics from the perspective of women left behind.

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