L’échec et la folie: une approche comparée de la figure du joueur dans la lyrique amoureuse en langue d’oïl et d’oc (XIIe-XIIIe siècles)

Maxime Kamin


Medieval poets, in particular trouvères and troubadours from the eleventh and twelfth centuries, often conjure the game metaphor to express the frustration and the suffering that love arouses. Passion, from these poets’ point of view, cannot be defined merely as a form of erotic dalliance. It is, on the contrary, a chaste and demanding mode of relationship that requires patience and devotion, resting upon the idea that an unfulfilled desire, paradoxically, is the surest path to enjoyment.

Games, especially chess and dice, reflect the desperate condition of the poet who claims a sublimated love, but does not face any other choice but the cruel acceptance of a perpetual longing. Just as the player hopes for victory, but suffers only defeat and ruins himself, the lover pleads for himself, but never achieves his lady’s favours. Madness and despair are his two only options.

In this regard, a comparative approach to the topic of chess and dice in the trouvères and troubadours’ poetry demonstrates the close concordances between poets who share a same conception of love, but do not necessarily summon the same images to express their ambivalent submission to its power. Therefore, this study offers a way to analyse the part that the game metaphor plays into conveying different representations of courtly love in French and Occitan lyric poetry.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.13138/2723-9020/2365


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ISSN Polythesis 2723-9020 [online]