Stolen Song (Cornell University Press, 2020) documents the act of cultural appropriation that created a founding moment for French literary history: the rescripting and domestication of troubadour song, a prestige corpus in the European sphere, as French. This book also documents the simultaneous creation of an alternative point of origin for French literary history—a body of faux-archaic Occitanizing songs. Most scholars would find the claim that troubadour poetry is the origin of French literature uncomplicated and uncontroversial. However, Stolen Song shows that the “Frenchness” of this tradition was invented, constructed, and confected by francophone medieval poets and compilers keen to devise their own literary history.
Eliza Zingesser is Associate Professor of French at Columbia, and a specialist of medieval French and Occitan literature. She is particularly interested in issues of cultural and linguistic contact, gender and sexuality, and animal studies. The author of Stolen Song: How the Troubadours Became French, Professor Zingesser’s new book, tentatively entitled Pidgin Poetics, is about avian-human circuits in medieval literature and what they produce.. Zingesser has received grants and awards from the Medieval Academy of America, the Fulbright Foundation, the Institut Français d’Amérique, the Josephine de Kármán Fellowship Trust, and the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.
Joanna Stalnaker is Professor of French at Columbia. Judith A. Peraino is Professor of Music at Cornell University. Eleanor Johnson is Associate Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Columbia. Madeleine Dobie is Professor of French and Department Chair at Columbia.
This event is featured as part of the New Books in the Arts & Sciences series at Columbia. It is co-sponsored by the Columbia Maison Française, The Society of Fellows and Heyman Center for the Humanities, and the Institute for Research on Women, Gender, and Sexuality.
Free; register at event website.