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

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oA very thought-provoking work, an important contribution ...to reflection and criticism on the Chanson de Roland. Its importance goes beyond the Chanson or medieval French literature in general, and raises large questions about medieval civilization, and our own as well.O NLarry S. Crist oProbably 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...This is a forward looking work of criticism which assesses the dynamic ways in which literature both describes and creates social institutions.O NR. Howard Bloch The twelfth-century Song of Roland played an essential role in the creation of the nation-state, argues Peter Haidu. This epic narrative transformed the independent and violent warriors of the feudal period into subordinate instruments of the nation-state by enforcing their subjection to the rule of monarchy. Haidu tracks this transformation in the Song employing a semiotics informed both by contemporary theory and by historical research into the bases of material production and the organization of military and political power. He locates the Song of Roland as a crucial step in the evolution of European violence from feudalism to the nation-state.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 152.4 x 236.2 x 27.9mm | 657.72g
  • Indiana University Press
  • Bloomington, IN, United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 0253305489
  • 9780253305480

About Peter Haidu

PETER HAIDU is Professor of French at UCLA.show more

Table of contents

Acknowledgments Introduction 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 DestinatorOs 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 Actants 9. GanelonOs Trial, or the MonarchOs 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 Notes Bibliography General Index Index of Proper Nouns Index of Foreign Terms and Phrasesshow more