Allegorical Bodies: Power and Gender in Late Medieval France

Allegorical Bodies: Power and Gender in Late Medieval France

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By Daisy Delogu
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2015
World Rights
288 Pages
ISBN 9781442641877
Published Jan 2015
Online discount: 25%
 $75.00    $56.25
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442622814
Published Jan 2015
Online discount: 25%
Full purchase $75.00

Allegorical Bodies begins with the paradoxical observation that at the same time as the royal administrators of late fourteenth and early fifteenth-century France excluded women from the royal succession through the codification of Salic law, writers of the period adopted the female form as the allegorical personification of France itself. Considering the role of female allegorical figures in the works of Eustache Deschamps, Christine de Pizan, and Alain Chartier, as well as in the sermons of Jean Gerson, Daisy Delogu reveals how female allegories of the Kingdom of France and the University of Paris were used to conceptualize, construct, and preserve structures of power during the tumultuous reign of the mad king Charles VI (1380–1422).

An impressive examination of the intersection between gender, allegory, and political thought, Delogu’s book highlights the importance of gender to the functioning of allegory and to the construction of late medieval French identity.

Daisy Delogu is an associate professor of French literature in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Chicago.


1. Allegory Is a Woman

2. From douce France to the dame renommée: Figuring the French Body Politic

3. Jean Gerson and the University of Paris

4. Envisioning the Body Politic before and after the Treaty of Troyes

Coda: What to Say about Joan of Arc?

“Daisy Delogu’s wide-ranging study interrogates notions of gender and its role in late medieval French political life and thought through the lens of the allegorical figures of France and the University of Paris. Impeccably researched and eminently readable, Allegorical Bodies is a learned, witty, and truly innovative book.”

Renate Blumenfeld-Kosinski, Department of French and Italian, University of Pittsburgh

Allegorical Bodies is a rich, carefully researched study.  Its analyses are filled with wonders.”

Tracy Adams, Department of French, University of Auckland

‘In Allegorical Bodies, Daisy Delogu offers a fascinating discussion of the emergence of France as a feminized figure at the same time that women were excluded from royal rule.’

Katherine Clark, The Medieval Review November 2015

‘Ambitious and beautifully crafted book… Delogu’s careful reading and attention to surplus meaning allows her to expand our frames of reference regarding the purpose and effect of the late medieval allegorical arguments.’

Nancy Ann Mcloughlin, Sehepunkte June 2016

‘Remarkably well documented study… Delogu’s work offers a new perspective on female allegories of late Middle Ages…Her interdisciplinary approach deserves a wide readership among those interested in authors, theologians, and legal scholars that Delogu examines here.’

Judy Kem, Renaissance Quarterly vol 69:02:2016

‘Daisy Delogu has written a fascinating, elegant, and original study of the gendering of metaphor and allegory in late medieval political writing in France…Most excellent study.’

Kathy M. Krause, H-France vol 16:75:2016

‘Delogu’s book is essential reading for anyone interested in late medieval allegory, political thought, and questions of gender.’

Catherine M. Jones, French Review Vol 90:04:2017