Medieval Beginnings: The Lais of Marie de France

Irina Dumitrescu and Mary Wellesley

If a Middle Ages full of castles, jousts, hawking, illicit love affairs and playful singing in the meadows is what you’re looking for, then look no further than the Lais of Marie de France. These 12th century love stories, written in Anglo-Norman by a writer who was unusually keen to make her name known, describe noble stories of passion, devotion, betrayal, self-sacrifice and magical transformations played out in enchanted woodlands and richly-draped chambers.

Irina and Mary discuss Marie’s various portrayals of love, her luscious powers of description, and the frequent deployment of animals in her stories to expose and resolve human problems.

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Irina Dumitrescu is Professor of English Medieval Studies at the University of Bonn and Mary Wellesley as a historian and author of Hidden Hands: The Lives of Manuscripts and their Makers.

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