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Subjectivity in Troubadour Poetry Cambridge University Press Sarah Kay


29th May 2012 Literature & Fiction 11 Comments

The medieval troubadours of the South of France profoundly influenced European literature for many centuries. This book is the first full-length study of the first-person subject position adopted by many of them in its relation to language and society. Using modern theoretical approaches, Sarah Kay discusses to what extent this first person is a “self” or “character,” and how far it is self-determining. Kay draws on a wide range of troubadour texts, providing many close readings and translating all medieval quotations into English. Her book will be of interest both to scholars of medieval literature, and to anyone investigating subjectivity in lyric poetry.

The medieval troubadours of the south of France profoundly influenced European literature for many centuries. This book is a full-length study of the first-person position adopted by many of them in its relation to language and society. Using theoretical approaches, Sarah Kay discusses to what extent this first person is a ‘self’ or ‘character’, and how far it is self-determining.

Subjectivity in Troubadour Poetry (Cambridge Studies in French)










  • 11 responses to "Subjectivity in Troubadour Poetry Cambridge University Press Sarah Kay"

  • Malc Moore
    5:20 on May 29th, 2012
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    This is a wonderful book. A love story between a young woman and her fiancee. She is quite honest in regard to her painful experience when her fiancee is hurt in a ski accident. It is also a love story between the Lord and her. Her faith in Him during a very difficult time in her life. It is such a well-written book I did not want to put it down. Sarah Kay is a delightful story-teller.

  • Bankoff Minion
    10:04 on May 29th, 2012
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    By pure coincidence I knew of this book long before it was published; it was a great joy to finally see it in print. I read it from cover to cover in one sitting. Pieces of Glass is an absorbing, inspiring “little book” with a big message. Although not a Christian, I was touched by the author’s struggle with her faith, her God, and the tragedy that started her own journey, one of many in her young life. The story is universal, and like another “little book,” Le petit prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry), there are many lessons in it for everyone.

  • Helen Love
    14:20 on May 29th, 2012
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    This book was wonderful. The author was very real and open as she described her journey through one of the hardest stages of life one will ever face. The book is raw and intense but well worth the read.

  • RJWTimes
    19:12 on May 29th, 2012
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    After reading this book, I am in awe of how strong Sarah is and how her relationship with God has helped her make it through some very tragic events in her life. Even in the tragic moments, Sarah was able to stay close to God, whether it was in frustation and anger, or understanding and joy. Sarah has also made it very clear that no matter how strong you may appear on the outside, no one is perfect and everyone has their flaws. But in the end, it is God that loves us just the way we are and it is he that we can turn to in both happiness and tragedy.

  • steve nienaber
    23:58 on May 29th, 2012
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    This book made me look at my own life and realize how many times I have been frustrated and wanted to see some sort of quick action from God and how disappointed I am when it isn’t fast enough. When you read about the number of hurdles and tragedies Sarah Kay has overcome, I think it is amazing how strong she is through all of that. Many of us want to waiver from our faith when the going gets tough. This book is an excellent example of a young woman keeping her faith in front of her and realizing she can’t go through life alone.

    She writes of her memories and additional obstacles that many of us put ourselves through as part of coping with other challenges. Many of us would want to blame someone and live a life in a box and I think this is a natural reaction, but it is wonderful when Sarah just steps up and realizes she must not take this approach any more. By asking God where she is and looking for that guidance in every day activities, she seems to maintain a strong faith and solid lifestyle. I realize now I need to reflect each day on the joy and the sorrow and not just turn to the Lord when I am in a time of need.

    Sarah Kay realizes that God works in mysterious ways. We will all go through frustrations, sickness and sorrow, but we must realize there are reasons for all of this and sometimes it might never be clear why we had to go through those terrible times, but that which doesn’t destroy us only makes us stronger.

  • infiniti
    0:55 on May 30th, 2012
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    I was touched by the many emotions Sarah Kay showed within this tragic story. Sarah’s path has shown many different adventures from my own however, I was able to relate to her struggle and how she looks at what comes her way. Growing up in the midwest and living in the same family home for 20 some years was much different from her worldly adventures and spontaneous adventures in Africa and Europe. I thank Sarah Kay for sharing this story with us and giving us a taste of how growing up with these religious perspectives has strengthened her faith and how she pursues the world around her and this awful tragedy. I look forward to her next adventures.

  • Google Adwords
    15:29 on May 30th, 2012
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    The author does a great job opening up her heart on her honest and messy struggle with God in a season of pain. This book is helpful for those of us who grew up in the church, know orthodox theology and the right words to say but rarely lay our honest thoughts and emotions for God to see (who knows them all anyway) let alone the rest of the world. It is also helpful for non-christians in that it shows that we are human and only by the grace of God can christians even make it through the day. This is the underlying theme of the book. Immense Grace in Immmense tragedy.

    Many christians see specific suffering in different ways though we were taught that as christians we are called to suffer. However we serve a personal God who is glorified through our pain as He was through the painful death of His own son – Christ. And though we aren’t perfect, especially during seasons of suffering, we know a God who is and a God who is sovereign and can handle our questions and doubts. Jesus used stories to teach and was open with personal struggles and so must we for the sake of a world dying to hear honesty and relevance. Truth is very important, however it takes a lifetime to master and pain is what transports it from our head to our heart to be imprinted there for eternity.

    For those of us who love strong theology, let us be reminded of a quote from one of the great men of theology, C.H. Spurgeon who wrote:

    “He who grows in grace remembers that he is but dust, and he therefore does not expect his fellow Christians to be anything more. He overlooks ten thousand of their faults, because he knows his God overlooks twenty thousand in his own case. He does not expect perfection in the creature, and, therefore, he is not disappointed when he does not find it. When our virtues become more mature, we shall not be more tolerant of evil; but we shall be more tolerant of infirmity, more hopeful for the people of God, and certainly less arrogant in our criticisms.”

    We all have a very long way to go. This book acknowledges this in a honest way.

  • Marin Biller
    20:00 on May 30th, 2012
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    For someone who enjoys the flow of a book as much as the content, I loved this book for its structure and use of language. The beauty of the passages drew me in as much the story and its message. Sarah Kay suffered an incredible loss and, for many, that would make us bitter. But as the book unfolds, we listen to her heart asking those very difficult questions that so many of us have thought but couldn’t verbalize, and she does so with incredible candor and transparency. In doing so, she allows us to glimpse both her pain and ours and begin to understand the loving God who meets us in the hardest places and brings us rest and healing.

    I would highly recommend this book for anyone who has lost a dream, a love, their faith, or hope. Thank you, Sarah, for bringing me to a place where I could face my own losses and see the hand of God at work putting the pieces back together again.

  • Doobie Dan
    22:36 on May 30th, 2012
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    Sarah puts into words all the feelings, thoughts, confusion, anger, and bewilderment that accompany loss and trauma. Her faith is real, her struggle is real, and her God is real. Wow. Her writing has validated my own struggles with loss and grief and helped me relate to Jesus on an entirely new, and entirely authentic, level.

  • Tony M.
    5:21 on May 31st, 2012
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    I liked the book because it was a very VIVID picture of the sense of devasting loss of control which accompanies tragic and unexpected losses. When such a thing happened to me, I remember feeling just as Sarah Kay felt–as if I were made of such delicate glass that the slightest touch would completely shatter my already weak hold on reality. I don’t see this so much as a “how to” book of what to do when tragedy strikes, but rather more of a comforting book. In the same way that I think defining a problem robs it of some of its power, I am convinced that having someone else help you put your feelings into words–especially when they are eerily close to your own feelings–can be of great comfort. Let the psychologists write the “how to” books and let the novelists portray humanness in such a vivid way that you thank God that He really exists and accepts you with all your anger, brokenness and shame. Such a novel could well bring a lost and grieving soul closer to Jesus. I found the book profoundly moving and I especially thought the way she portrayed her feelings about what it felt like to be the fiance and not the wife of the victim was overwhelmingly heartwrenching. It’s a book you’ll want to stay up and read the first day. I gave a copy of this to my sister, who had been through certain similar circumstances, and it helped her a great deal–unlike the more how to book I had sent her. I think that reading this book with an open heart will help any reader become a more tender and compassionate person.

  • Peter E Thompson
    19:18 on May 31st, 2012
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    Though her story is unique, her writing and perspective are all the more so. Sarah Kay is one of those writers you would read for the sentences alone. I love the way some of them roll off of your tongue, poetically… you WANT to read them aloud just to hear how they fall upon your ears.

    She doesn’t pretend to have all the answers, but invites you to come on her journey in an intimate way and wrestle with her, with God. She grieves beautifully. Which I’m sure is just part of why God had her write His story in her life.

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