Gut feelings: On the chansons de geste's visceral aesthetic
‘Gut Feelings’ argues that the blood and guts of the chansons de geste—the genre’s visceral aesthetic—played a role in shaping an experience of self for medieval warriors who were the audience of the songs, especially in oral performance. Reading a complex of texts both at the level of narrative and at the level of textual variance and transmission, I argue that the representation of bodily harm in battle, far from marking an anxiety over the status of the body or the self, instead brought the audience of the chansons de geste together in an experience of bodily vulnerability as the shared condition of incoherent, dividual selfhood. Read through Jean-Luc Nancy’s work on being as plurality, the chansons de geste’s wounded bodies and dividual selves invite us to reflect on the presuppositions and indeed the ethics of our own reading practices.
Jacobs, J. D. (2023). Gut feelings: On the chansons de geste's visceral aesthetic. Postmedieval, 14 (1), 33-60. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41280-023-00266-2