Language, Self and Love offers a unique insight into the development of the language of interiority in the medieval literature inspired by the Song of Songs and its commentaries. It traces the evolution of a medieval identity in the process of self-fashioning and, in showing the importance of mystical writing for understanding medieval subjectivity, suggests that the 'self' is not the early modern invention it is often claimed to be. Denis Renevey discusses the correspondences between the discourse of love in the Song of Songs and the language of mysticism in the writings of William of St Thierry and Richard Rolle, where the self is described in its attempts at establishing a direct relationship with God. He also shows how the textual strategies offered in mystical writing for the use of female recipients engage with questions of misogyny and the relationship between Latin and vernacular cultures.
Denis Renevey is professor of Old and Middle English at the University of Lausanne, Switzerland.
Introduction Chapter 1 Richard of St Victor and language theory Chapter 2 Hermeneutics and degrees of love Chapter 3 Discovering the self through love Chapter 4 Rolle, misogyny and mysticism Chapter 5 Love of God and lovers of the world Chapter 6 Hermeneutics and degrees of love in the epistles Conclusion Bibliography Index