Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. in Modern Languages


Modern Languages

First Advisor

Daniel O'Sullivan

Second Advisor

Marie Skrovec

Third Advisor

Sara Wellman

Relational Format



For decades, the authorship of women trouvères has been questioned. Although the debate is more or less over in today’s scholarship, research continues to search for evidence of not only their existence but for their contribution to the corpus. Women’s voices in the songs call out not only because the speaker is female, but also because I argue that the author was female too. This is evidenced by the speaker’s perception of betrayal. This paper highlights three key forms of betrayal that medieval women faced: betrayal by the family, betrayal by the lover, and betrayal by the lauzengiers and the mesdixants. Family betrayal included being sent to a nunnery against her will as either punishment for having a lover or as a means of marrying the woman to God when an appropriate suitor could not be attained, and forced marriage to an man who is undesirable to the woman. Relationship betrayal is not only when the lover betrays his lady but also but the evil gelos betrays his wife by imprisoning her in a tower. The third form of betrayal, societal betrayal most often occurs when gossiping neighbors and townspeople seek to destroy the joy of the lovers by revealing their relationship to others. Because we have so few documents from the thirteenth and fourteenth century it is difficult to have a solid understanding of the medieval quotidian. I argue, however, that these poems, like today’s cinema, television, and literature, give modern readers a glimpse into the daily worries and difficulties of medieval women.


Emphasis: Languages, Specialization: French



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