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Sacrifice Your Love

Psychoanalysis, Historicism, Chaucer

2002
Author:

L. O. Aranye Fradenburg

Sacrifice Your Love

A long-awaited reevaluation of Chaucer through the lens of sacrifice by a major figure in medieval studies

Sacrifice Your Love develops the idea that sacrifice is a mode of enjoyment—that our willingness to sacrifice our desire is actually a way of pursuing it. Fradenburg considers the implications of this idea for various problems important in medieval studies today and beyond.

Medieval Cultures Series, volume 31

Fradenburg continues to prove herself the most innovative analyst of Late Medieval Texts. Our foremost Lacanian, she now poses fresh and urgent questions about the ethics and politics of chivalric desire. Uncompromising in her demands, she never fails to repay her reader with exceptional rewards.

Paul Strohm, J. R. R. Tolkien professor of English, Oxford University

Historicism and its discontents have long been central to the work of Louise Fradenburg, one of the world’s most original and provocative literary medievalists. Sacrifice Your Love brings this interest to bear on Chaucer’s writing and his world, rethought in light of a theory of sacrifice and its part in cultural production. Fradenburg writes the "history of the signifier"—a way of reading change in the symbolic order—and its role in making sacrifice enjoyable.

Sacrifice Your Love develops the idea that sacrifice is a mode of enjoyment—that our willingness to sacrifice our desire is actually a way of pursuing it. Fradenburg considers the implications of this idea for various problems important in medieval studies today—how to understand the religiosity of cultural forms, particularly chivalry, in the later Middle Ages and how to understand the ethics of Chaucer’s famously nondidactic poetry—as well as in other fields of inquiry.

A major rethinking of Chaucer, Sacrifice Your Love works in depth as well as across a broad range of topics from medievalism to psychoanalysis, advancing both the theory and practice of a new kind of historicist approach.


Sacrifice Your Love

L. O. Aranye Fradenburg is professor of English, women’s studies, and comparative literature at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Sacrifice Your Love

Fradenburg continues to prove herself the most innovative analyst of Late Medieval Texts. Our foremost Lacanian, she now poses fresh and urgent questions about the ethics and politics of chivalric desire. Uncompromising in her demands, she never fails to repay her reader with exceptional rewards.

Paul Strohm, J. R. R. Tolkien professor of English, Oxford University

Sacrifice Your Love is the most sustained and powerful psychoanalytic reading of Chaucer, and indeed of medieval culture, yet produced. There is hardly room in the space of a review to touch on all the insights in this book.

Modern Philology

I will highly recommend L.O. Aranye Fradenburg’s book to anyone in search of a serious introduction to, or refresher course in , Freudolacanian psychoanalysis as a literary theory.

Medium Aevum

Sacrifice Your Love inspires and provokes. It is a learned book dealing with many ideas and issues bearing upon the survival of the humanities in the academy, most of which this review does not address.

Speculum

Sacrifice Your Love

Contents

Introduction: Sacrifice in Theory

1. Becoming Medieval: Psychoanalysis and Historicism
2. “My Worldes Blisse”: Courtly Interiority in The Book of the Duchess
3. The Ninety-six Tears of Chaucer’s Monk
4. Sacrificial Desire in Chaucer’s Knight’s Tale
5. Loving Thy Neighbor: The Legend of Good Women
6. “Oure Owen Wo to Drynke”: Dying Inside in Troilus and Criseyde

Epilogue. Some Thoughts on the Humanities: Enjoying the Middle Ages

Notes
Index