Harriet Cook (KCL) - 2016-17 Students

‘Cantigas de coita’: A Reevaluation of Masculine Desire in the Galician-Portuguese Troubadour Lyric

My research focuses on representations of masculinity in medieval Galician-Portuguese love lyric. The traditional critical consensus on the ‘cantigas d’amor’ is that when using the male voice, troubadours composing in Galician-Portuguese subordinated their individuality to the collective anonymity of convention. Building on work by scholars such as Beltran, Weiss and Blackmore, I argue that the subtleties and ideological significance of the ‘cantigas d’amor’ are obscured unless we adopt a comparative approach and investigate how they function within literary networks, that are cultural, geographic and temporal. I look at how language functions in liminal zones, considering the area between Provence and the North-Western corner of the Peninsula as a geo-literary space that privileges the exchange of ideas. I also look at how the repetitive rehearsal of ‘coita’ across the ‘cantigas d’amor’ creates a range of competing masculine identities and I consider the poems as gendered objects used to assert masculine identity within the court hierarchy. In my conclusion, I examine the resonance of the Galician-Portuguese school in later lyric produced in the Peninsula.

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