The Subject of Violence

The Subject of Violence : The Song of Roland and the Birth of the State

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This book provides the reader with a new, challenging, and sophisticated critical analysis of the Song of Roland." -Choice

[Haidu's] close reading of the Song of Roland is interesting, informative, and significant... "-American Historical Review

Probably the most sophisticated book ever written on the Song of Roland.... It is at once a work of linguistic analysis, of literary theory, of literary history, and, finally, of history." -R. Howard Bloch

Haidu argues that the 12th-century Song of Roland played an essential role in the creation of the nation-state, in that the narrative transforms the independent and violent warriors of the feudal period into the subordinate instruments of the nation-state by enforcing on them the subjection to the rule of monarchy.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 152.4 x 236.2 x 27.9mm | 657.72g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • illus.
  • 0253305489
  • 9780253305480

About Peter Haidu

PETER HAIDU is Professor of French at UCLA.
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Table of contents


Violence: Modern Perspectives on the Medieval and the Modern

1. The Semiotization of Death: Open Text or Closed?

2. THe Gaze of the Other
The Sociological Presentation of the Self
The Intertextuality of the Peerage

3. Excursus I: Aesthetics, Economics, Politics
Beauty, Value, Violence
The Noble, the Knight, the Peasant
The Ideology of Knighthood

4. The Subsystem of the Professional Warrior: Courage, Contradiction, Irascibility
Ideological Value (I): The Constitution and Destitution of Subjects
Ideological Value (II): From Subject to Traitor?
Structure of Structures

5. The Destinator's Multiple Roles: Syncretism or Contradiction?
The Culpable Guarantor
From Individual to Role

6. Excursus II: The Play of Absence and Presence in Medieval Kingship
Carles li reis,...
...nostre emperere magnes
Reis and Emperere Textualized

7. Funerary Rituals
The Unreintegrated Mourner
The Death of Aude, or the Refusal of Exchange
The Transformative Performance

8. Textual Coherence and the Dialectics of Ideology
Textual Coherence: The Narrative
Narrative Programs

9. Ganelon's Trial, or the Monarch's Revolution
The Actorial Level: Inexorable Structure
The Actantial Distribution

10. Conclusion
The Chanson Ends with the Indeterminacy of Non-Exclusive Disjunction
The Chanson Produces Limited and Specifiable Significations
The Subject of Violence
Nomadic Violence, Sedentary Economics, and the Birth of the State

General Index
Index of Proper Nouns
Index of Foreign Terms and Phrases
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