we know of Marie de France is that her name was Marie, that she came from France, as she self-identi-fies—"Marie ai nun, si sui de France" (My name is Marie, I am from France)—and she wrote in Anglo-
Norman for the enjoyment of the French-speaking English court. Marie was one of the few well-known female authors of the Middle Ages. She is best known as the author of 12 short narrative romances, also known as lais (lays): "Bisclavret" (The Werewolf), "Chaitivel," "Chevrefoil" (The Honeysuckle), "Les Deux Amanz," "Eliduc," "Equitan," "Le Fresne" (The Ash Tree), "Guigemar," "Lanval," "Laustic" (The Nightingale), "Milun," and "Yonec." Her other texts include 103 Fables, translated from Henry Beauclerc under the titles of Ysopet, the Purgatoire de St. Patrice, and the recently attributed La Vie Seinte Audree. The lais, their prologue, and Ysopet, are preserved collectively in a mid-13th-century manuscript, MS Harley 978, though various lais appear in other manuscripts as well.
Establishing an identity for Marie is complicated and uncertain. Scholars have suggested a number of candidates: Marie, abbess of Shaftesbury; Marie, countess of Boulogne, daughter of King Stephen of England and Matilda of Boulogne; Marie, daughter of Waleran II, count of Meulan; and Marie, abbess of Reading. However, none of these candidates has been universally accepted.
Marie's works are important contributions both to Arthurian literature and to the romance tradition, as well as to the establishment of the vernacular. While her work is not particularly feminist, her writing does provide a medieval feminine perspective missing from other popular literature of the time. See also Anglo-Norman poetry.
Was this article helpful?
Tap into your inner power today. Discover The Untold Secrets Used By Experts To Tap Into The Power Of Your Inner Personality Help You Unleash Your Full Potential. Finally You Can Fully Equip Yourself With These “Must Have” Personality Finding Tools For Creating Your Ideal Lifestyle.