Elizaveta Strakhov

Andrew W. Mellon Graduate Fellow in the Humanities

20132014 Forum on Violence

Elizaveta Strakhov

Comparative Literature

Channeling War: Politics and Poetics in the Pennsylvania Manuscript

My project centers on an unedited and largely unstudied late medieval lyric compilation, University of Pennsylvania Codex 902, produced at the French court during a crucial, failed attempt at peace in the Hundred Years War. Opening with a powerful set of lyrics that use imagery of female rape to reify internecine strife, this manuscript, I argue, plays with sophisticated internal organization of its lyrics, that it collects from all regions of Francophone Europe, in order to theorize the palliative role of poetic networks in war-torn medieval Europe. By exploring the anthology's content and organization, I argue for a reconsideration of late medieval courtly love lyric as a sophisticated medium in which repetitive poetic tropes created a unifying literary lingua franca in the face of disintegrating and divisive regional allegiances.