Allegorical Bodies: Power and Gender in Late Medieval France

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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.