A medieval woman dares to stand Up: Marie de France's Criticism of the king and the court

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While medievalists have long recognized Marie de France's extraordinary literary abilities, we have not yet fully identified the extent to which she stood up as a social critic who attacked many social ills within her society, not holding back in her sharp attacks both against the figure of the king and against the powerful nobles of her time. Only if we combine her lais and her fables in our analysis, can we gain a full understanding of the far-reaching discourse about the danger of abuse of power at the hand of the mighty and rich in the high Middle Ages. Although we tend to identify that past era as deeply remote from us, as repressive, simple-minded, and submissive, Marie's strong criticism of the abuses by the high-ranking contemporaries sheds important light on a world that was not really that far away from us in many different ways, with many intellectuals already extensively aware about social injustice and the danger of tyranny.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalRupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2020


  • Court criticism
  • Criticism of the king
  • Fables
  • Lais
  • Marie de France

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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