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Heterosexuella skådespel i Margareta av Navarras Heptameron
Linköping University, Department of Culture and Communication.
2009 (Swedish)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesisAlternative title
Heterosexual Performances in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron (English)
Abstract [sv]

Jag vill i den här uppsatsen beskriva hur sexualitet och genus konstrueras, befästs och utmanas i Margareta av Navarras verk Heptameron. Jag utgår från Judith Butlers och Thomas Laqueurs queerteoretiska perspektiv och visar hur de olika maktdiskurserna kristendom, aristokrati, patriarkalism och nyplatonism påverkar och påtvingar olika konstruktioner av sexualitet och genus, och kan konstatera att alla dessa diskurser bygger på en normerande och normaliserad heterosexualitet som ständigt för tillbaka avvikelserna från denna norm, hos såväl devisanterna som i de två noveller jag studerat, till en binär könskategorisering. Huvudfokus ligger på tvetydigheten hos begrepp som man, kvinna, och fullkomlig kärlek. Jag menar att just avsaknaden av slutgiltiga definitioner av sådana begrepp i verket visar på att det inte går att finna något essentiellt ursprung eller någon slutgiltig definition av dem. Det är just därför den heterosexuella normen måste iscensättas gång på gång.

Jag menar dock att man kan konstatera att det finns en skillnad i fråga om de bakomliggande diskursernas gestaltning i ramberättelse där de slås fast och i novellerna där de problematiseras, vilket också påpekats av Bernard. Det finns med andra ord ett större utrymme för avvikande från sexualitets- och genusnormer i Heptamerons noveller, medan ramberättelsens funktion tycks vara att föra dem tillbaka till ordningen. Likväl sker en ständig upprepning av den heterosexuella normen både hos devisanterna och i novellerna, en upprepning som tyder på att heterosexualiteten inte är vare sig given eller naturlig utan iscensatt.

Abstract [en]

In this study I am analyzing how categories of sexuality and gender are represented in Marguerite de Navarre’s Heptameron. I have narrowed the object of study down to two of the seventy-two novellas; number forty-seven and forty-three, and to four of the ten devisants; Oisille, Parlamente, Hircan and Dagoucin. The theoretical frame is taken from Judith Butlers Gender Trouble. Feminism and the Subversion of Identity (1990) and Undoing Gender (2004) and from Thomas Laqueurs Making Sex. Body and Gender from the Greeks to Freud (1990). Butler’s aim is to deconstruct terms such as feminine and masculine, which function as imagined normalization categories due to power relations. In Undoing Gender she asks: “If I am a certain gender, will I still be regarded as part of the human? Will the ‘human’ expand to include me in its reach? If I desire in certain ways, will I be able to live?” These questions are of great importance for my study, which presents how the categories of sexuality and gender can be negotiated in the equalized frame Marguerite de Navarre creates for her ten devisants and novellas. At the same time I assess how every attempt to go beyond the boundaries of norms fails due to a norm of heterosexuality, which constrains the binary categories of man and woman.

There are four main discourses by which the heterosexual norm is internalized by the devisants in Heptameron: the Christian, the aristocratic, the patriarchal and the neo-platonic. I suggest that each of the four devisants that I have studied represents one of these discourses. Since there are no definitive lines or definitive conclusions reached in the discussions among them it would be more correct to say that all the discourses effect all of the devisants to some extent, but that all the devisants act through a main discourse when he/she express his/her individual opinions.

When the devisants in the frame leave it to the reader to come to a conclusion about right or wrong behavior for men and women, they are still rather set in their own opinions and, also, quite unforgiving. It is my contention that the novellas create more room for negotiations of the sexual and gender roles than the frame. In novella forty-three a woman acts within the role of the active, hence masculine, part of a love affair, and novella forty-seven tells the story of a parfaicte amytié between two men. But it is also obvious that these attempts to stress and break the norms of sexuality and gender are unsuccessful, once again due to the fixed norm of heterosexuality which constrain the binary categories of man and woman. In the novellas these very failures put the norms under stress, since they point out the very problem with the determination of sexual and gender categories which were prevalent during the Renaissance.

I conclude my results by returning to Butler’s question above; “If I desire in certain ways, will I be able to live?” In Heptameron one can always find a chance to try a different way, but in the end only the heterosexual desire in which man and woman are in dichotomy survives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. , 66 p.
Keyword [en]
Marguerite de Navarre, Heptameron, Judith Butler, Thomas Laqueur, queertheory, heterosexuality, homosexuality, gender, sex, women, men, woman, man, love, parfaicte amytié, Christianity, Neo-platonism, Aristocracy, Patriarchal
Keyword [sv]
Margareta av Navarra, Heptameron, Judith Butler, Thomas Laqueur, queerteori, queerteoretisk, heterosexualitet, homosexualitet, manligt, kvinnligt, man, kvinna, kön, genus, kärlek, parfaicte amytié, kristendom, nyplatonism, aristokrati, patriarkal
National Category
General Literature Studies
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-53949ISRN: LIU-IKK/LI-A--10/002--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-53949DiVA: diva2:293946
Subject / course
Comparative Literature
Presentation
2009-12-19, Linköpings Universitet, Linköping, 00:00 (Swedish)
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2010-02-15 Created: 2010-02-15 Last updated: 2011-12-13Bibliographically approved

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