An Analysis of Feminist Articles Essay

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Kinoshita, Sharon. "Cherchez la Femme: Feminist Criticism and Marie de France's `Lai de Lanval'." Romance Notes 34.3 (1994): 263-73.


In the article, "Cherchez la Femme: Feminist Criticism and Marie de France's `Lai de Lanval'," Sharon Kinoshita examines Marie de France's "Lanval" and its feminist implications. She explores three critical essays that discuss the feminism revealed in the Lais of Marie de France and the differing views represented in each criticism. After discussing these interpretations Kinoshita retells "Lanval" and reveals her own opinion. Through her analysis of the three critical essays and her breakdown of "Lanval" Kinoshita argues Marie's feminism is not revealed through her portrayal of strong
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Kinoshita explains this difference in beliefs between Woods and Huchet is most likely because the essays were written in different time periods.

Michelle Freeman wrote an article in 1984, the same decade as Huchet. Kinoshita makes the comparison between Huchet and Freeman. Like Huchet, Freeman compares Marie's works with the works of her contemporaries. Conversely, unlike Huchet, Freeman believes the feminist aspect of Marie's works is revealed in "her `poetics of silence,' her strategic deployment of understatement and elision," (Kinoshita 264). While in some areas Freeman's article is like that of Huchet, it also has similarities to William S. Wood's article. Kinoshita explains, "Like woods [...] Freeman oscillates between seeing Marie's `poetics of silence' as a limited individualized or personal thematics and as a distinctly feminine mode of writing," (qtd. in Kinoshita 264). Unlike Woods, who sees Marie as "having a love for the forceful, the superlative, the detailed and the excess, [Freeman] finds exactly the opposite," (Kinoshita 264). She believes it is not in what Marie writes that reveals her feminism, but instead what she leaves out.

After comparing these differing views of feminism, Kinoshita discusses Lanval. Kinoshita looks at the male protagonist in the lais of Marie de France. Rather than "locating the woman's voice [...] in the stylistic or thematic

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